Mountain biking began in the 1970s, originally as a downhill sport, practised on customized cruiser bicycles around Mount Tamalpais. Most mountain biking takes place on dirt roads, trails and in purpose-built parks. Downhill mountain biking has just evolved in the recent years and is performed at places such as Whistler Mountain Bike Park. Slopestyle, a form of downhill, is when riders do tricks such as tailwhips, 360s, backflips and front flips. There are several disciplines of mountain biking besides downhill. Cross country, often referred to as XC, all mountain, trail, free ride, and newly popular enduro.
Zooming through the trees on two wheels is an addictive experience and mountain biking is a popular extreme sport for just that reason. If you’re interested in learning what it feels like, you can get prepared properly for your first trails, develop the skills necessary to negotiate those trails comfortably, and find trails that’ll fit your skill level and interests. Get an appropriately-sized mountain bike. Your bike should match your height, body type, and the length of your leg.
If a bike doesn’t fit you well, then it will be uncomfortable and inefficient to ride. A good bike shop will be able to set you up with a bike specific to your needs. Many will offer repair, service plans or discounts on future purchases. In general, there are three styles of mountain bike that you can check out, depending on your interests: Rigid mountain bikes have no suspension, meaning that there’s less mechanical parts to worry about on your bike, and you can transition to riding it and learning the parts more easily.
It’s more difficult to ride off-road, however, offering none of the cushioning effect of more complicated bikes. Hardtail bikes are good for most beginners who want to start tackling difficult terrain, offering–as the name suggests–a suspension fork on the front wheel and a rigid back wheel. Full suspension bikes are the most expensive kind of mountain bike, but offer suspension in both the front and back, making them the most effective and comfortable bike to ride on the kind of difficult road mountain biking demands.
You don’t need to buy a bike right off the bat, so consider borrowing one for a few rides to see if mountain biking is right for you. Bike shops near some state parks featuring trails will often rent appropriately-sized bikes, so check out your options. There is no use in investing hundreds of dollars in a brand new bike if it’s something you won’t enjoy. A good helmet should be priority one if you want to start cycling off-road. Your helmet should fit snugly, but not obscure your vision or pull down hard over your ears. Never go mountain biking without a proper helmet.