Discovering the joys of mountain biking

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If you love whizzing down the high street or taking a leisurely spin round the local park and are on the lookout for a more challenging way to stay healthy, mountain biking could be your ideal hobby.

Increasingly popular with cyclists looking to stretch their abilities, mountain biking offers the chance to get in touch with nature and soak up some lovely views. The UK is also home to a strong mountain biking community and it’s a wonderful sport to try yourself or to enjoy with a companion.

Getting started: mountain biking equipment

When you start exploring mountain biking routes, you need to know that you have the kind of kit that can cope with an off road experience. Finding your bike will be your first challenge, as you’ll need to make sure you have a model with sufficient suspension. There’s some excellent advice for choosing the right bike for your style to be found on Bike Radar, which has a useful kit guide for beginners.

Rather than buy a brand new bike right away, you might like to experiment by renting a mountain bike for a day and trying it out for yourself. Companies like British Bike Hire make it easy to rent a bike online.

Once you’ve chosen a bike, you also need to consider your safety and the first item on the list is a decent helmet. Gloves are popular among mountain bikers, to avoid friction injuries to hands over rough ground, and before you set out, you’ll want to pack a pump and puncture repair kit.

Learning how to ride off-road

Skilled cyclists may not need much in the way of introduction when it comes to mountain biking, but if you want to know what kind of conditions you’ll be in for a training course is a great idea.

For a mixture of beginners and expert courses, try Get Mountain Biking who run classes throughout England. For Scottish cyclists, there’s Go Mountain Bike, which runs training classes in Aberdeen of the West Highlands, or Cycle Wild Scotland, which offers bespoke courses all over the UK.

Embracing the beauty of mountain biking

Once the mountain biking bug has bitten, you’re likely to find yourself on the lookout for your next great biking adventure. Luckily, the UK has enough dramatic landscapes and gorgeous trails to satisfy even the most dedicated rider. Join a guided tour with an organisation like Wild Bikes and be confident that you’re seeing some of the most exciting trails around or set out to conquer some of the most popular routes on your own or with friends.

The Telegraph’s Top 10 Mountain Biking Routes in Britain is a great benchmark, but best suited to bikers who have some experience. You’ll also find that the passionate bikers of the UK are keen to share tips and advice about places to ride. Publications like Mountain Bike Rider and IMB are invaluable resources for finding out about new biking gear, routes and trails to try out.

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Hello ... I am the Creative Director and Website Editor for Silversurfers and manage all the social media too. I hope you find the features and articles we have shared with you of interest and relevance. Please feel free to comment below and share your thoughts with us ... I hope you enjoy Silversurfers and all that we offer ...

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14th Feb 2016
Thanks for voting!
I went on an ebike recently and have to say they are brilliant. Great excercise and much easier to get up those really difficult hills!
13th Jan 2016
Thanks for voting!
Ebikes for the over 50s

Hi I live in a quiet country area a few miles from Durham City
I have recently purchased an Ebike which is fantastic
For the more laid back cycle enthusiasts ,

I have been reading how popular theses bikes have become
In southern England and especially on the continent .
If there is anyone interested in forming an Ebike cycling club
In the northern parts of our country please get in touch..
Thanks for voting!
Hello .. you may also be interested in this feature: I am a great fan of the EMountain bike too! Had loads of fun in the Swiss Alps last summer, and went to places that I would never have reached on a regular MTB. Going back for more in July! Good luck in your quest for a club up north! 🙂
Bill McKelvie
22nd Feb 2014
Thanks for voting!
Mountain Bike or not to Mountain Bike?
First you have got to ask yourself, what type of cycling do I want to do?
1. Do you want to do off road only?
2. Do you want to do both off road or on road?
3. Will it be purely on the road where I would like to get fit only?
4 Or am I wanting to take a leisurely pace and go long distances on
the road only, getting up to 30 miles plus after awhile.

Pt. 1 Normally it would be a mountain bike with dual suspension, check the weight of the bike as some can be massively heavier than others. You don't want to be pedalling a tonne of metal as this can be seriously off-putting, search through the reviews on bike radar to find the lightest.
Pt 2 For both on/off road you're best getting a dual suspension where the rear suspension part can be locked off when you are on the road. The locking off stops the unnecessary bounce in the rear suspension that can prevent effective hill climbing and trying to accelerate on the road. Alternatively you could try a single front suspension bike on hire and see if that is more advantageous.
Pt. 3 This is where the road race bike comes into its own. Have the bike set up professionally to your stature, along with front chain-ring and rear wheel cassette set up for hill climbing is worth its weight in gold and makes it even more enjoyable. Try gel seats with or without extra padding and see how you feel.
Pt4. A Touring bike is more advantageous in this role as the front forks curve more when compared to those of the road race bike lessening the impact of the road being felt. The slightly larger tyres c/w thicker walls mean that it can be used on gravel as well. With the drop handle bars it gives you the versatility of moving the hands around in to different positions on the handle bars ideal if you are on a long ride.
With panniers bags added it can be used for shopping and give you another option rather than just using the car. See point 3 about setting the bike up. Don't let a cycle shop sell you anything else as it can also be conveniently turned into a racing bike when required !!!!

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