Mountain bike cycling is probably the most accessible sort of cycling available, and definitely the most exciting by far. It is superb for fitness and it takes you away from traffic and all the usual daily stresses of life. Anyone can do it, to a level that suits the individual, and everyone can enjoy the adrenaline rush it provides.
Mountain bike cycling is done off-road, that means anywhere from country parks that permit bikes, to local bridleways and allocated cycle trails, to tougher technical trails around the world. Be aware though, if you are new to mountain bike cycling it is important to build up your skills before tackling tough technical trails.
Most mountain bike riders learn their skills through practice over time and sometimes watching more experienced riders. You could also get books and DVDs to help, but the best thing to do is to get out on your bike and practice.
Before you can start practicing you obviously need a mountain bike, so deciding which one should you get is the first task. There are numerous different sorts of bikes available, varying widely in price and style. If you are just starting it’s a good idea to go for a less expensive model until you gain experience and decide where you like riding the most.
When you have your mountain bike you need something suitable to wear when out riding it. Mountain bikers tend to go for a more casual look than road cyclists, for example they often wear baggy shorts. Proper mountain bike shorts look like normal shorts but they’ve got a padded lining for comfort when riding.
Most importantly, there are several critical bits of kit that are important to wear at all times, irrespective of the weather, and these are a helmet, glasses, and gloves. These safety items are to help protect you against flying mud and stones, low hanging branches, troublesome bushes, and falling off your bike.
You will doubtless experience some minor falls as these are part of the fun of mountain bike cycling but if you are wearing the right protective clothing you should only suffer minor bruises and grazes.
When you have all the relevant kit you will need to decide where to go mountain bike cycling. You can get many guides to local areas either on the web or from bookshops or some bike shops. Visitor information centres also have tons of useful information, for example where you can ride locally at a level to suit your ability. There are even specialist mountain bike centres run by the Forestry Commission, with marked trails that are graded for different abilities.
One other really important thing to remember before you set off on your bike is to always take a mini tool kit or a multi-tool with you, in the event of breakdowns. You should also carry a puncture repair kit, a spare inner tube, and a pump.
After all that preparation you will be ready to go mountain bike cycling, but some basic knowledge of mountain bike maintenance would also be a big advantage to keep you safe and help you to push yourself to the limit. The most important thing of all is to really enjoy the buzz.