Do you enjoy the great outdoors?
Do you want to get fit?
Do you want to save money?
The solution may be right here.
So What Is Mountain Biking
It is the sport of cycling using a specially designed bike, aptly known as a mountain bike to ride on off-road conditions, often uphill and with obstacles.
This may sound a bit scary or too strenuous but mountain bikes are designed and fitted with special gears, which make your ascent easier than it would be in a normal bike.
How To Get Started With Mountain Biking
Of course, you need the bike. Go down, speak with your local bike specialist, and get the best one that you can afford. There are many choices. Before you start riding, there are also a few other essentials you will need.
Mountain biking is one of the few sports where accessories actually become necessities to keep you safe and comfortable.
A Well Fitting Helmet
Safety is important in any sport, but especially mountain biking where you could suffer a nasty head injury if you hit a rock or other unseen obstacle. A good helmet could save you from serious injury so spend some time finding the right one. It needs to fit well so it can’t move around much and not obscure your vision.
Puncture Repair Kit And Tire Pump
You don’t want to be miles from home, deep in the country and suffer a puncture. You probably won’t have a cell phone signal, so unless you want to spend hours walking back , ensure you prepare for emergencies. These kits are usually small, and will not add any measurable weight to your trip. Make sure you understand how to use the kit before you actually need it.
Take enough water to last the time you expect to be out. You can get water bottle carriers to fix to the frame of the bike. A sports drink can also be added to the bottle for electrolyte replenishment.
Master The Technique
These techniques will help make your experience much more enjoyable and less likely to result in injury. Practice close to home before you head off into the wilds.
Keep Your Hands on the Bars and Not the Brakes
This is especially important when going downhill, since if you are gripping the brakes and apply them suddenly in a panic you will be pitched over the front of the bike.. So learn not to grip the brake levers for support, as this is a leading cause of injury to new riders.
Change Gear Often
Learn to use the gears appropriately. As a general rule when going uphill use a low-tension gear, and the opposite when going downhill.
Shift Your Position
You may want to stand up on the pedals at times. This shifts your centre of gravity, and absorbs shock and relieves the pressure on your nether regions.
Start Simple And Progress
Don’t go too far too soon, Slow and steady is the best plan. You don’t want to be heading off to Mount Everest and attempting to cycle up it. You will get discouraged and think it’s just too hard.
Wear The Right Gear
Spandex Shorts – you may throw your hands up in horror but they are not just a fashion statement. They may be essential if you plan to ride a fair distance. They fit snugly around the legs and groin area, limiting the amount of friction your legs produce from coming into contact with each other, or the seat. This in turn significantly reduces the severity of chafing. Once you have suffered chafing you will know how painful it is and your view of Spandex shorts will change. You don’t wear any other underwear under the shorts as that would destroy the benefit to a large extent.
How To Learn To Love Your Mountain Bike
Start By Getting A Feel For Your Bike – there’s no better teacher than experience, learning the best time to shift gears, and when to prop yourself up as opposed to sitting are learned habits.
Keep The Journey Short – it is unrealistic to ride a 50-mile journey your first try. It’s best to start slow, and experience the nearby terrain. Couple it with your recovery ability, and you will soon be able to judge how much you are capable of undertaking as you grow in this sport.
Take Rides On Weekends – unless you are planning on riding to work. In fact there is nothing to stop you riding around town. Nobody said you have to ride up mountains. Mountain biking is a great stress reliever. Riding at the weekend will give you time to recover after a tough ride before you have to go to work in the week.
Benefits Of Mountain Biking
Mountain biking is different from conventional flat surface road cycling as the need for stability uses different muscles, and offers a very good resistance workout.
The muscular leg development of some extreme mountain biking athletes is usually noticeably greater than a flat road racer.
This is owing to the use of both Type 1 and 2 muscle fibers, helping develop mass, strength and stamina at the same time.
Fat burning occurs preferentially when your heart rate is maintained at 65-75 percent of your max heart rate for a period of time. The intensity of mountain biking keeps your heart rate elevated in that zone most of the time, ensuring you’ll get leaner every time you ride.
The other reason is that an average individual burns around 500 calories per hour, when cycling on moderately difficult terrain. This amount can quickly increase as the difficulty of the terrain is enhanced.
A two-hour ride can easily amount to more than 25% of daily calorie intake.
Increase Cardio-Pulmonary Efficiency
One of the most important elements of good health and fitness is how efficiently your lungs can supply oxygen to your hard working heart, which in turn increases the speed at which oxygen is delivered to the muscles and other organs. Better oxygen flow decreases your fatigue rate, and improves your performance over time.
There’s nothing that can improve your mood as fast or effectively as something you enjoy. For many, mountain biking is their drug of choice. The feeling of experiencing nature in all its true glory, and the endorphin rush associated with exercise will leave you feeling on top of the world.
In addition, who says mountain biking has to be a solitary exercise pastime? Many of the happiest and most resolute mountain bikers ride in a small group of friends, who keep each other accountable and motivated.
Having other people around is a good safety measure in case of accidents.
Mountain biking is an excellent pastime, whether you’re looking for a way to lose a few pounds, improve the health of your heart or need an escape from hectic city life.
Whatever your reason, with a commonsense approach, safety procedures and consistency, you may well fall in love with mountain biking.