Get On Yer Bike . . . Yer Mountain Bike
Mountain Bikes are a fantastic way to get out and about, see the glorious countryside, get fit and enjoy some quality time with friends or fellow mountain bikers (who will soon become friends, if they weren’t in the first place – they’re a friendly bunch really, once you get to know them). Mountain biking might seem like a bit of a daunting pastime to those who have spent the last decade or so laying on the couch with a bag of potato chips, but don’t let the word “mountain” put you off . . . it is not compulsory that you climb a mountaine very time you set out on your mountain bike, there are some nice flat places to cycle too, until you get the hang of it a little.
Mountain bikes were designed for off-roading activity so are completely prepared to deal with rocks, dirt trails, washouts, logging trails and steep inclines even if you’re not. Bear with it, it does get easier, I promise.
You’ve always gotta’ be prepared for anything!
Mountain Bike Features
- Mountain Bike Wheels – these are generally wider than you would see on the average road type bicycle.
- Mountain Bike Tires – knobbly is the word which immediately springs to mind. This gives added traction and shock absorption over uneven terrain.
- Mountain Bike Suspension – most mountain bikes have front wheel suspension (to stop your teeth from chattering together over the rocks and bumps), and these days it’s common to have complete suspension on your mountain bike, full front and rear suspension for an even smoother ride.
- Mountain Bike Handlebars – some of the handlebars on mountain bikes these days are fitted with bar ends for that little extra leverage when climbing steep hills (don’t worry, I’ve already told you that it’s not compulsory).
- Mountain Bike Brakes – are very important, because as well as steep uphill climbs, you’ve got the added thrill of a steep downhill . . . it’s kind of the “yin” and “yan” of mountain biking. Anyway, mountain bikes generally have disc brakes these days which are more reliable and durable than the rim brakes which were originally used.
- Mountain Bike Gears – this varies between models, how much you pay for your mountain bike and just how serious you are about this mountain biking business. Many mountain bikes now have as many as 30 gears which makes climbing up the hills easier, and whizzing down the other side easier too (it means your legs don’t have to go round quite so fast on the downhills . . . which only affects the people who actually choose to pedal downhills . . . some of us prefer to freewheel and have a well earned rest).
Mountain Biking in a Group
Mountain bikers are a sociable bunch and there’s no better way to spend a few hours than by embarking on a mountain bike adventure into the unknown. Of course, somebody should know where they’re going! If you have a mountain bike gathering dust in the back of your garage and fancy taking a trip or two then why not find out about local mountain bike groups who meet regularly . . . there’s bound to be one in your area, and if there ain’t, why not start one. In the beginning you might worry about being able to keep up with the rest of the pack (and in the beginning you’ll probably have trouble doing so) but you’ll usually find someone who is willing to stay with you and encourage you all the way, and mountain bike group leaders will usually make sure that the tail enders aren’t left too far behind, after all, everybody was a beginner once upon a time. You’ll be amazed at how quickly your fitness and stamina improves and you really can be a part of the mountain bike group.