New at Mountainbiking?

What to consider being a newbie at MTB.

When I first thought about buying a Mountainbike, I only focused on how fun it would be to drive in the mud and down the hills in the forest. I quickly found out that the reality is a bit different.
I was right that it is fun to drive through mud and down the hills, but never thought that Mountainbiking would be such a energy consuming sport. The first time I drove, I had to pull my bike up the bigger hills and I got cramps just above my knees. Something I didn’t think was possible. The second time wasn’t much better either, but as I got into shape and got more daring, it suddenly became fun. This article is not a warning, but a guide on what to remember before buying a Mountainbike.

Before buying a bike

As mentioned, cycling on a mountain bike was harder than I thought. So if you are not very sporty or in great shape, you might want to think about renting a mountainbike before you are going to the bike shop. By renting a bike the first couple of times, you will find out how hard the sport is and give you some time to find out if it’ll be more fun when you get into better shape.

The bike

A lot of people make the mistake buying a cheap bike the first time. If you have determined that this sport is for you, you might as well buy some good quality. On the other hand there is no need buying a pro bike.
So what is the right price for a bike? I would not go under 1000 dollars, but what’s more important is the equipment that’s on the bike.

  • Get some advice in your local bike shop. Preferably a shop that specializes in Mountain bikes.
  • Buy a brand that is well known, like fx. Specialized.
  • Make sure that you are able to adjust the bikes suspension in the front.
  • Buy a bike with disc brakes. 

MTB Gear

Buying all the equipment for the bike at once can be expensive. Luckily you can ride without a lot of the gear in the beginning and then buy an item each month or more often if you can afford it. 
The most important thing that you have to have is of course the helmet. So start by buying that and you are ready to go.
There are three types of gear you need. Summer and winter gear, and then gear you need all year long.

Summer Gear.

  • Shorts with padding.
  • T-shirt.
  • Sunglasses - Buy some where you can replace the glass. It’s nice to have glasses on during the winter too.
  • ½ finger gloves.

Winter Gear

  • Long pants. Some long pants are without padding, so use your shorts with the padding underneath.
  • Jacket.
  • Long sleeve shirt to put under the jacket.
  • Skullcap.
  • Overshoes to protect your feet from getting wet.
  • Winter gloves.
  • Gear for all year
  • Two water bottles or a hydration pack.
  • Multitool. 
  • Pump.
  • A mobile phone if you are riding alone.Puncture repair kit.

MTB Tricks 

Mountain biking are hard enough as it is, so there is no need making it harder. Get through the track with some simple tricks

Bunny Hop. Cycling through the woods or where you prefer to ride, there will of course be obstacles. You have to learn to get over them rather than wasting time driving around. For that purpose you use the Bunny Hop.  When doing the Bunny Jump, you basically make a jump with the help of your body and your weight. Pull the front up hard, lean forward and put your weight on the front while you use your feet on the pedals to pull the back wheel over the obstacle. This is no easy exercise, so I posted a video from Youtube on how to do it.  

Pumping. Most terrains have small or bigger holes. Use these holes to gain speed. Just as you drive into a hole, you lean forward and put all of your weight on the front. There is a lot of speed to gain from pumping.

Snack. This might not be a trick but more an advise. In the beginning you should bring a powerbar or even just a snickers. It's easy to lose energy and some sugar will give you the help you need to go the last mile.

Don’t follow the rider in front of you. When riding, don’t look at what’s going on just in front of you. You have to focus longer ahead so you can plan what route to take. If you are driving behind another bike, don’t focus and follow exactly where she or he is riding. If you do, you will hit exactly the same stones as they do.

Braking. In mountain biking, you don’t want to brake too much. The reason is that it will wear the brakes and it’s just not fun braking all the time. So in order not to work the brakes too hard, remember to use both brakes. After a while you’ll find out just how much you’ll be able to use the front brake. 
Remember to adjust the brakes so that they are in a natural angle with your fingers. Everytime you brake, make sure you only use two fingers. That way you’ll always have a firm grip on the handlebars.  

Uphill. That’s what I like least when mountain biking, but nevertheless it’s good exercise. 
The problem with going uphill is that people often either have the bike in a too low gear and then the front will lift up or they lean forward and the back wheel will not grip. So remember to change to a low gear in perfect time and lean forward while your rear end rest on just the front end of the saddle. This will make a perfect balance between the back and the front.

Lastly there are a lot of Mountainbike forums where you can get a lot of good inspiration about technique, Mountain bike routes, gear and the bikes.

Remember there is no shame in pulling the bike up the hill…..At least not the first couple of times. 

Making a Bunny Hop on the MTB