If you can’t imagine a day without a bike, and the view from the mountain heights takes your breath away, then why not combine two hobbies into one.
Who owns the mountains
Mountain bike is a relatively new but growing sport. It won’t suit everyone. This occupation is for those who are not timid. When descending a mountain slope, impressive speed develops, therefore courage, determination and readiness for adventures are integral qualities for an athlete.
History of sports discipline
Mountain biking is an officially registered extreme sport that was born out of curiosity. Initially, bicycles were designed to move on a flat surface. The prototype of this transport was created in 1817 in Germany. Then Baron Karl von Drez assembled an unusual two-wheeled scooter. To move on it, it was required to push off with the feet from the ground.
Later, the novelty was improved. In 1884, a bicycle appeared, closely resembling modern counterparts. It was propelled by the rotation of the pedals.
Extremals were bored just riding on a flat road, so the bikes were clearly used for other purposes. To make them suitable for atypical conditions, the design was changed. So, there were wide wheels, shock absorbers and the ability to shift gears.
It is believed that one American student decided to ride his bike down the mountain. This event was the starting point in the history of a new sport – mountain biking. The number of fans of extreme driving grew. In 1990, the first world championship was held, and in 1996 the discipline became part of the Olympic sports.
Advantages and disadvantages
Any sports discipline with a competent approach is beneficial. Mountain biking is no exception. With regular exercise:
- all the muscles of the body are strengthened – the shoulders, back, arms, legs are involved;
- lightning-fast reaction speed develops;
- the fear of difficulties disappears;
- mood improves due to the most powerful release of adrenaline into the blood.
Not without drawbacks:
- Mountain biking, like all extreme sports, is not easy to master. To go on your first mountain route, a beginner will have to work hard and maintain excellent physical shape.
- The development of mountain slopes is not a cheap pleasure. A good bike is expensive, but you still need protective equipment – a helmet, knee pads, as well as comfortable clothing made from technological materials.
- Extreme sports are always associated with high risks. Falls cannot be ruled out, which can result not only in minor bruises, but also in sprains and fractures.
To ensure that the fear of injury does not overshadow the pleasure of downhill mountain biking, take out sports insurance. The document will not exclude emergency situations, but it will save you from unnecessary worries if troubles do happen. Thanks to the insurance policy, you partially or fully compensate for the cost of treatment.
To each his own – varieties of discipline
Modern mountain biking is 12 directions, each of which has its own characteristics. Choose what is closest to your spirit.
- Cross country. These are trips over long distances over rough terrain. The routes are almost always difficult, so the athlete must be strong and hardy. For classes, a complete set of equipment is required – a moisture-wicking suit, helmet, goggles, gloves and comfortable boots.
- All mountain. This is slope riding on a versatile bike. Transport should have a light suspension and a strong frame. An athlete cannot do without full equipment with knee pads.
- Uphill. One of the most difficult varieties, which involves climbing a mountain slope. You need a lightweight bike, weighing no more than 10 kg. Protection is not used so as not to weigh down the athlete.
- Downhill. Here, on the contrary, you need a heavy bike – from 20 kg. The athlete will have to go downhill from the mountain. This discipline requires maximum concentration and full equipment, including a protective armor, mask and boots made of impact-resistant plastic.
- Freeride. It implies a free descent from the mountain off the track. The athlete needs maximum endurance. Full equipment and a backpack with a hydraulic system are required.
- North Shore. These are trips on natural terrain and lanes with artificial obstacles. For the first time such routes appeared off the Canadian coast of the Pacific Ocean. The discipline is difficult, so it requires a lot of preparation.
- Dual slalom. A type of mountain bike for lovers of wrestling and competition. This is a competition between two participants, each of which descends the slope, overcoming obstacles.
- Biker cross. Another kind of competition. Four participants start at once. The two who finish first go to the next track. The standard route length is 250 meters.
- Trial. This is not just cross-country skiing, but a demonstration of tricks of different difficulty levels. Athletes overcome barriers, jump from a height, balance on the rear wheel.
- Dirt jumping. This ride is not in the mountains, but on a specially equipped track with earth jumps. It is considered the best option for beginners, as it does not require much stamina and is safer in terms of injury.
- Straight. This is not a full-fledged direction, but amateur mountain biking in an urban environment. Athletes demonstrate bright stunts – they jump onto the railing, somersault in the air, and drive onto the walls.
- Slopestyle. Definitely the most spectacular. It combines several directions at once – trial, dirt jumping, north shore. In this discipline, the time that the athlete shows is not important. His style and technique are of key importance.
Mountain biking is a spectacular, exciting sport, but it’s not for everyone. If endurance and resilience are your main character traits, if you like to tickle your nerves and are at the peak of your physical form, then extreme mountain trips are ideal for you.
It is difficult to avoid injury in mountain biking, so you should prepare high-quality protective equipment and always follow safety precautions. In unforeseen cases, an insurance policy will come in handy.