Trying a new sport for the first time is always intimidating. In general, we like things we’re familiar with – things we’re comfortable with. It’s easy to get stuck in a routine, or worse, a rut. But trying a new sport, especially one like mountain biking is the perfect way to challenge yourself, get a little bit out of your comfort zone, and learn some new skills. So whether you’ve never considered mountain biking before, or maybe you gave it a try a long time ago, now is the perfect time to sample this sport.
Most people learn to ride bikes when they’re children, and as the old saying suggests, once you’ve learned how to ride a bike, you’ll never forget it. So whether you’re a daily bike commuter, or you haven’t touched a bike since the fifth grade, you probably already have a handle on the basic skills needed to hop on a mountain bike and ride. And now, it’s easier to take those skills to the trails.
Hit the Trails: Mountain Biking Benefits
Mountain biking has come a long way in the last few years. Now there are new trails and parks popping up everywhere, and almost all of this development has been aimed at helping beginner mountain bikers learn and progress. Many areas that only had expert level trails in the past are building smooth, easy beginner trails so that even toddlers can get a taste for the sport. This wide variety of beginner trails means it’s very easy to try out mountain biking without scaring yourself too much or getting in over your head. And many areas have programs and group rides aimed specifically at beginners to help them get a feel for the sport.
Mountain biking is a great way to exercise, without the impact that running or lifting weights puts on your knees and other joints. It allows you to get a full body workout without having to go to the gym or follow a set routine. Instead, every ride works muscles throughout your body, from your calves to your core, and helps your respiratory and heart health too. After a few mountain bike rides you’ll notice how much stronger you’ve gotten and you’ll be able to ride further and faster.
Many people start mountain biking because it’s a great way to access and enjoy the outdoors. It’s faster, and easier than running or hiking, and it allows you to experience nature in whole new way. You can ride trails that would take all day to hike in a few hours, and the best part is, you don’t have to pedal on the downhills. Many mountain bike trails are built specifically to help people access beautiful natural areas.
It’s also a great activity to share with friends and family members. Unlike most sports, there is no need to include a competitive aspect when mountain biking. Most people just ride for the views and challenges that mountain bike trails give them, and they’re excited to share that with beginners.
Finally, the biggest reason to try mountain biking is to expand your comfort zone. It’s important to expand your experiences and try new things, but fear of failure or getting in over your head often keeps us from trying new things. Mountain biking is the perfect antidote to this. It’s very easy to try out, and challenge yourself without fully committing. It allows you to scare yourself a little bit without terrifying yourself, or putting yourself in danger. Mountain biking can be whatever you want it to be. You can ride as slow or as fast as you’d like. You can ride steep hard trails, or you can have fun on wide, mellow trails. You can truly tailor your experience to whatever your comfort zone is, and the sport will naturally help you push yourself.
Mountain Biking Gear Tips
If you’d like to give mountain biking a go, there are a few things you can do to prepare that will make it much more enjoyable. You don’t need to spend a fortune on a bike and bike accessories, but there are a few pieces of equipment that make a huge difference.
The first, and most obvious, is the bike. Most bike shops will rent you a mountain bike, so if you’re just trying out the sport, don’t worry about investing in an expensive bike right off the bat. Instead rent one for a few days and get a feel for what you like. Before riding, look at a bike size chart, this will use your height to help you figure out what size bike you should be on. This makes a huge difference, a too big or too small bike will really take away from your experience on the trail.
The most important piece of equipment you’ll need is a bike helmet. Don’t ever ride without a helmet. Many shops also rent helmets, but it’s a good idea to buy your own. There are many affordable options available, just find something that fits you well and is comfortable.
Finally, some mountain bike specific clothing can make a huge difference. Bike gloves keep your hands from slipping on the grips, and protect them from vegetation along the trail. Bike shorts are padded to make spending time in the saddle more comfortable. While not entirely necessary for beginners, bike gloves and shorts will make you much more comfortable and allow you to focus on learning how to ride, instead of dealing with a sore butt.
It doesn’t take much effort to try mountain biking, and there’s never been a better time to do it. So get out there, expand your comfort zone, and try something new!
Matt from Evo: We are evo – a ski, snowboard, mountain bike, surf, wake, and skate retailer based in Seattle, Washington, USA, with stores located in Seattle, Portland, and Denver. We also offer trips to remote locations across the globe in search of world-class powder turns, epic waves, and legendary mountain biking through our evoTrip Adventure Travel Trips.