Mountain biking has become more popular among people of all ages and levels of experience in recent years, and for good reasons: the hobby allows people to break out of sedentary patterns that can become ingrained through the routines of daily life and work. Once you start going out to the trails and getting your heart rate up as you ride a quality mountain bike through the woods, it is fair to say you might never be the same; you might begin to feel so much better than you did before you began to ride. However, if you have not had much prior experience with mountain biking, there are a few tips you should keep in mind before you don your gear and head for the nearest unmarked trail. This article will provide information on essential mountain biking tips that beginners should commit to heart so they can start riding down the right path.
Perhaps the most important tip for beginners to remember when they first begin to mountain bike on local trails and paths is to ride with all of your important gear. The single most important piece of gear you can take with you on the trail is your helmet. It doesn’t have to be an expensive helmet and it doesn’t have to be a fancy helmet that’s worn by the best mountain bikers on the planet. It just has to be a helmet you are willing to wear each and every time you get on your bike and get out into the wilderness. There are a few mountain bikers who refuse to wear any sort of head gear, but they are quickly becoming the minority as more and more mountain bikers recognize the benefits of having some form of head protection when barreling down the side of a mountain at 20 miles per hour. Also remember that once you use your helmet, you should replace it with another one as soon as you can. This does not mean you have to replace your helmet if it falls to the ground while you are wearing it. Similarly, if you fall off your bike and do not hit your head or helmet on anything on the way down or when you land, you do not have to buy a new helmet at once. However, if you strike the ground or a rock or a tree or another person or anything else while you are wearing the helmet with enough force to make you happy you had the helmet on, it is definitely time to find a new one. A sufficient helmet can be found for under $20, and it is an investment that is well worth it.
Another important tip for beginners to remember when they first begin to mountain bike on local trails and paths is to always alert people on the trail to your presence when you are passing them and yield the trail to them if they are traveling with elderly partners or children. It is good practice to let fellow people on the trail, whether they are hikers, joggers, or other mountain bikers know that you are on your way. You can alert them to your presence through a number of different ways, such as through a bell attached to your bicycle or several different kinds of friendly greetings. The overall goal is to keep other people aware of your presence so they are not startled when you pass by. You can show your respect for fellow travelers on the trail by being prepared to slow down to a walking pace when you pass them or even coming to a complete stop. Similarly, when you come close to corners or to blind spots, you can show your respect to fellow travelers by anticipating them and slowing down. When you yield to other people who might be out to enjoy the great outdoors like you, you do so by slowing down (you can always pick up your lost speed in a minute or two), opening lines of communication (a friendly hello is often enough to let others know you are around), and being ready to stop if you have to so you and others can pass.