I got my first mountain bike when I was 12 years old. I was a little bit of a tomboy and spent most of my time outside riding horses, rock climbing, and kayaking. I guess my parents thought I would really use a mountain bike — and they were so right! I’ve been mountain biking ever since.
Why You Need a Good Mountain Bike:
There are a lot of brands on the market. I’m not going to endorse a specific brand, but I will tell you that you need a good mountain bike if you are going to really get into riding. A really great mountain bike can be expensive; I spent over $2,000 on mine, but it’s built great and will last my lifetime.
Look for a bike with great suspension for a smooth ride when terrain gets rough. I also recommend a bike with superb braking power. Mountain biking can get a little rough and you need to be able to stop on a dime, or you can get seriously injured. Make sure you get tires that can handle more than a he dirt road; you need some serious grip for all kinds of trails. If you live in an area where one kind of (dirt or rock) is more prevalent, you can go for a tire that is best suited for your area. I live in the heart of the Ozarks and we have it all here. You want a bike that handles easily on sharp turns and at high speeds.
A good helmet is also important. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve taken a tumble. I also recommend taking food and plenty of water, wearing appropriate attire for the weather, and always telling someone where you’ll be biking. A friend of mine took a fall near Hemmed In Falls and no one knew where he was. He wasn’t able to bike out and had to wait to be found with a broken ankle for over twenty-four hours. Be smart and safe.
There are so many great places to mountain bike here, that I forget some people live in the city and have to find great trails. I recommend looking for national parks in your area. Not all trails allow bikes but many do. If you haven’t researched where to bike, you may be surprised. There are bike trails all across the United States. In the area I live, you can just totally off road it with a mountain bike and not see a human being or house for miles.
If that’s a bit too rough for you, you can always go with a trail bike instead of a mountain bike and stick to the smooth well maintained bike trails. I personally like to get away from civilization completely. There’s nothing as beautiful as untouched nature, being completely alone and freeing your mind from the constraints of modern society. I usually don’t use a trail at all. Just make sure it’s okay to ride wherever you bike.
Healthy and Happy:
Happiness has always come pretty easily to me, but I have to say that mountain biking takes it up a notch. It’s definitely great exercise, just don’t overdo it your first few times out. Try different types of trails. Before long, you’ll be fit enough for anything mother nature throws at you. You don’t have to be some sort of adrenaline junkie to mountain bike. All you need is a decent bike, a love of nature, legs strong enough to peddle, and a little bit of an adventurous spirit. Mountain biking has definitely made me a healthier and happier person. Sunshine and exercise kind of have that effect on people. Happy Trails!