Mountain biking is a popular sport as well as a great method of exercise, but, most of all, mountain biking is a lifestyle. The bikes have very specific design characteristics for off road and rough terrain. Mountain biking requires strength, endurance and biking skills. While much of this sport involves bicycling over trails and over hills and mountains, it can also mean cross country biking.
Mountain bike riders need to learn a variety of skills. Aside from having to learn how to handle a bike while riding over sometimes difficult topography, riders must also learn how to repair broken bikes and flat tires while on the trail so that they do not find themselves stranded out in the middle of nowhere. Survival skills do come into play as well as many riders go on trails and on group rides, sometimes for rather lengthy treks.
Of course, bicycles have always been ridden off road but the actual mountain biking sport began in the 1970s. Riders from Colorado and a couple of places in California claim to be the ones to give birth to the sport. While each group may have some validity to the claim, the bottom line is that many have contributed in the growth and development of the sport. Many people have designed bikes, built bikes and created equipment that has catapulted the sport to the popularity that it enjoys today.
There are five very general categories in mountain biking, downhill, dirt jump, cross country, trials/street riding and free ride. While each type has its own certain characteristics, the equipment is basically the same. The bikes are sturdy with large round tubing to make up the frame, knobby tires and shock absorbers or suspension.
This can mean downhill racing, jumping, riding on elevated trails that are constructed of logs and bridges (know and North Shore) and trails that require more skin that standard cross country. The bikes that are used for this type of riding are usually heavier and have more suspension
Dirt jump is just what the name implies. It involves riding on a dirt track, jumping over hills and dirt obstacles. This is also a competition category for mountain biking that is very popular.
This is the most common type of mountain biking. It means riding on climbs across different types of terrain. There is also cross country (XC) racing which is more physically demanding.
This type of biking involves hopping and jumping bikes over various obstacles. It has the versatility to be done either off road or in urban areas. The rider must have a very good sense of balance and skill. This is very similar to skateboarding where style, originality and techniques count.
This is much like downhill. It involves similar techniques and circumstances. The bikes usually have front and rear suspension with large brakes and a heavier frame.
Mountain biking is a great cardio workout. It can help to strengthen the heart as well as give your entire body a strength and endurance workout.