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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