What is good about mountain bikes

Bicycles are in trend. The pandemic has made our interest in practicing outdoor sports intensify. We see more and more cyclists pedaling on the roads and paths of United States on any given weekend morning. Men and, above all, women. One of the big effects that is being felt in the cycling sector and the bicycle industry is the increasing number of women who buy and use a bicycle.

Which bike to choose

The first recommendation to get started in mountain biking is to choose the right bike. And this not only has to do with the size, the range of components or the accessories that equip the bicycle, but especially with the geometry of the frame. Within mountain biking there are different modalities, a bicycle for quiet routes along forest tracks is not the same as for going up and down technical paths in the middle of the forest avoiding stones, roots and obstacles. That is why we must be clear about what type of use is going to be made in order to choose the bicycle that best suits our needs and objectives. In this sense, it would be like choosing the type of car based on its use: urban, family, sports, convertible, etc. There are five main modalities of mountain biking:

  • Cross country: they are bicycles designed to ride fast, it is the basic modality to participate in mountain bike events and marches. It comes to be the equivalent of a sports car.
  • Trail: they are bicycles with wide suspensions to ride on technical trails. Comfort prevails over agility. They would be the equivalent of a sedan type car.
  • Enduro: Enduro is a modality that combines fast climbs and descents through technical terrain full of obstacles. Following the comparison with the cars would be the 4×4.
  • Descent: the descent is a sport that consists of launching down a hill at full speed.
  • Sport: These are bicycles designed to ride calmly through off-road areas but without great technical difficulties, such as forest tracks, livestock tracks, agricultural roads and gravel roads. These types of bicycles would be the equivalent of a mid-range compact car.

New or second hand bike?

A frequent question among those who want to start mountain biking is whether it is worth buying a new bicycle or going to the second-hand market. Currently there is an excess demand in the sector that means that in some bicycle brands and models there is a waiting list of up to a year to get a new bicycle. That is why more and more cyclists go to the second-hand market.

It is important to buy from sites that offer a guarantee on used bicycles, both in terms of the mechanical revision that has been carried out and the documentary verification to avoid the sale of stolen bicycles, replicas and counterfeits, which are very common in this sector. A piece of advice that can come in handy: buy a bicycle that you can resell, if after a while you stop liking mountain biking or if you need to buy a higher-end bike because it has fallen short. Given this, it is best to always ask for advice.

Essential accessories to start cycling

One aspect to take into account when starting out in mountain biking is that the bicycle is just one more accessory, but not the only one. When you buy your first bike is when you realize that more accessories are needed. The essentials are: an approved helmet, sports sunglasses, shorts, a jersey and cycling shoes to ride with clipless pedals.

In the same way that we don’t wear swimsuits to play basketball, we shouldn’t wear tracksuits or running pants to go cycling. The breathability of the fabric or the seams rubbing against the skin while wearing an inappropriate garment can cause discomfort and injuries, especially in the groin and perianal area. Spending two hours pedaling sitting on the bicycle seat with pants that are not designed for this purpose causes irritation.

How to plan the first routes

For those who are new to this sport, it is important to follow a series of guidelines for the first routes and outings on a bicycle. There are people who buy their first bicycle and want to go out and do 100 kilometers in one go. Wouldn’t you do a marathon the first time you run? Well, the same thing happens with cycling.

  • The length of it, because it is not the same to do a 10-kilometer route than a 60-kilometer one.
  • The unevenness, it is better to always start out on flat roads than to do routes with positive unevenness of 1,000 meters.
  • The profile of the terrain, it is always better that they are forest tracks or wide paths than narrow paths with great technical demands.
  • Finally, another important detail is to take into account whether the route is circular or linear, because sometimes we only count the kilometers to go and we forget that we have to return.
  • Another aspect that should not be forgotten is that cycling is a physical activity. If you have not practiced sports in a long time or you are not in good physical shape, we run the risk of overestimating our abilities and ending up in the middle of the road with cramps and muscle pain, as well as fatigue. It is best to go little by little and always start with short routes, with gentle slopes and in the company of people who are used to cycling.

Do not sign up for an 80-kilometre march on technical trails for your first route. Better something short, 20 or 30 kilometers as long as you can do at a gentle pace and enjoying the road. It is better to return home having enjoyed it than suffering and wishing you never got on a bike again.

Hydration and sun protection

One of the essential elements for mountain biking in summer is sunscreen. Even if the day is cloudy, it is advisable to apply cream before going out, because if we spend 2, 3 or 4 hours in the middle of the mountain, the weather may change and we can suffer sunstroke or burn our arms and legs. Don’t forget to bring enough water either. It is very common to run out of fluids due to not having planned well and drinking water is not always found in the middle of the mountain. The recommendation is to drink 500 ml of water per hour at intervals of 15 to 20 minutes.