Mountain biking is the activity of riding a bicycle on different kinds of off-road trails. It requires endurance, speed, balance and technical skills to navigate through rough terrains. Unlike road bikers, mountain bikers pursue obstacles and see the world as a natural and challenging playground full of winding trails. Vertical downhill sections, steep ascents, loose rocks, water crossings, tree roots: everything is an opportunity to put their abilities to the test!
There are different mountain biking disciplines, ranging from adrenaline-pumping descents to gentle rides on scenic forest trails. Whether you are a seasoned biker or a complete beginner, you are likely to find a perfect trail to match your level and abilities. For those who are new to mountain biking, going out with a guide is highly recommended.
Knowing how to handle a mountain bike, as well as feeling comfortable and confident with the equipment ―from the bike’s saddle, the height of pedals, the brakes and the position of the helmet― is essential for this activity. Being able to fix any mechanical problems that may occur along the way is another necessary skill.
Mountain biking is a dynamic sport that involves a total body workout. On a ride you not only work out your legs and strengthens your heart and lungs, but also exercises your upper body (when climbing with your bike or maneuvering with your arms). Cycling also boosts riders’ balance, coordination and stability.
Exploring the outdoors and changing scenery on every ride makes mountain biking also a mentally relaxing and stress-relieving activity.
Some people take mountain biking as a sport, join mountain biking races and are always looking for new thrilling paths and adventures round the globe. Others, simply enjoy riding as a pleasurable activity that allows them to exercise and feel connected with nature.
Feeling excited to hit the off-road? Make sure to check your equipment carefully, pick up a trail according to your level and stay hydrated throughout the way. Enjoy the ride!
Trail riding is a recreational form of cycling. It’s all about a pleasurable ride on marked trails, including uphill and downhill sections.
Cross-country cycling (or XC) is the most popular discipline of mountain biking and also the less extreme. It consists on completing a defined round circuit or point-to-point long trail, on a terrain that can range from a single track ―a narrow trail to fit one rider at a time―, to fire roads or even paved roads. There are technical sections defined by either natural or man-made obstacles. The sport requires endurance and very good bike handling skills, but it does not focus too much on speed. The bikes used for cross-country cycling are lightweight.
Downhill biking is a thrilling type of mountain biking, which focuses on descending a trail at a very high speed. Usually, bikers reach a mountain peak by using a car or a lift, and then race down on their bikes. Ski resorts during summer months are an ideal setting for this. When riding downhill, bikers are standing up, so the workout is very much tiring. Downhill bikes have a full suspension, are heavier than cross-country bikes and specially prepared for high-speed descents.
All mountain combines the best of two worlds: cross-country cycling and downhill. It implies riding on a natural terrain full of obstacles, either up a mountain and downhill.
‘Enduro’ refers to a specific competition born in Europe, which consists on different stages that a rider has to complete, including both uphills and downhills. It’s the same as ‘all mountain’ except for the fact that you are racing.
Mountain biking is an all-year-round activity. The same place can look very different depending on the time of the year and the weather conditions, but that just about what makes mountain biking so challenging and exciting. With the exception of icy paths ―which are obviously dangerous to ride― even riding on snow can be an enjoyable experience if you have the guts to venture into the outdoors!
Mountain biking trails at National Parks or any types of protected areas are regularly under maintenance. Sometimes the trails can be closed if the weather is too wet, making the trail too muddy and unsafe for the riders, as well as damaging for the trail itself. Trail closures are common during the rainy months. Depending on the location, some trails can close during the winter season and reopen on early spring.
When you are traveling to a unknown destination, hitting the off-road with a mountain guide is your best chance to have an enjoyable experience. A guide knows different trails on the area and can advise you on which one to choose depending on your experience, skills and wishes. He/she can also manage all the logistics of the trip, provide a vehicle to get to the trail-head or as a support during the ride and help you go through any difficulties you may have along the way.
Besides, you will have the chance of improving your skills, challenge yourself on different types of terrain while feeling safe, and enjoy outstanding mountain views!
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