Get On Your Bike And Build Strength And Endurance
Are you fond of the great outdoors, rugged terrain and fresh air? Looking for thrills while exercising and not keen on staying indoors at the gym?
If you enjoyed bicycling already but you left your bike in storage because you are looking for something more edgy, look no further than mountain biking!
The History Of Mountain Biking
Off road bicycling probably existed from the moment the first bicycle was invented.
However, the very first official records of off road biking date from the late 19th century when the Swiss Army first started the bicycle regiment.
The bicycle regiment was designed to travel through Switzerland’s mountains and forests and was discontinued only a decade ago.
In 1896, the USA’s Buffalo soldiers decided to test their customised bikes in rough terrain by organising a return trip between the state of Montana and Yellowstone.
In both cases, the bike was to successfully replace the horse as a fast and quiet mode of transportation in those hard to reach places.
Subsequently in the early twentieth century in Europe, cyclists would race each other in the winter months through the countryside to keep up with their fitness regime in the cold weather and improve their road biking skills. They called it cyclo-cross.
In 1902, Daniel Gousseau started the French national cyclo-cross championships which resulted in the rest of Europe wanting a piece of the action.
Many cyclo-cross racers went on to participate in the Tour de France and even Octave Lapize credited his 1910 win of the famous race on his cyclo-cross training.
Throughout the 1950s, clubs like the Velo Cross Club Parisien (VCCP) or the Rough Stuff Fellowship (whose member D. Gwynn invented to term ‘mountain bike’) would experiment with their bikes to improve off road performance.
Around the same time, in the USA in 1953, John Finley Scott who was another off road cyclist built his first ‘woodsie bike’.
But the mountain bike as we now know it was actually designed by the British, Geoff Apps, in 1968.
Geoff Apps was inspired by his motorcycle to build a mountain bike which was specifically designed to endure the wet English weather and muddy terrain.
And mountain biking as a sport really only took off thanks to companies like MountainBikes in the USA around the 1970s and 1980s who were experimenting and constantly improving the design of the mountain bike.
Benefits Of Mountain Biking
Firstly, this sport is perfect for those adventurous types who love the great outdoors and enjoy keeping a certain level of fitness.
This level of fitness all depends on the speed you chose to ride and the intensity of the outdoor terrain you decide to explore.
At low intensity, mountain biking is a great activity for the whole family to enjoy and share great moments with your children discovering and experiencing nature.
There is a long list of tremendous mental and physical health benefits to mountain biking.
It is not just a great cardiovascular exercise, but it will also improve your endurance, balance and core strength as your confidence will grow.
It is great fun and a very social activity as you will ride with other bikers and share your experiences.
As you improve those leg and butt muscles, it is a great way to get back into fitness after recovering from injury.
It is also great for strengthening the tendons. As your self-confidence, social skills and relationship with your peers will improve, so will your blood circulation. Plus mountain biking is the perfect fat burner.
Most importantly, being part of the mountain biking world is like being part of a passionate community and will give you a sense of belonging.
Lastly, mountain a biking is a great holiday activity. It has very little environmental impact.
In that sense, it is advised that you follow the already existing trails and do not ride on fragile ecosystems or environmentally protected areas.
How To Get Started With Mountain Biking
Before getting started with mountain biking, you must first know how to ride a bicycle. Nowadays mountain bikes are easily available, for absolutely all ages, they can be found in most bike shops and even department stores.
In order to avoid injury, you must start at beginner’s level, low speed on easy terrain.
As you gain more experience and confidence, you will eventually gradually increase your speed and ride more advanced trails.
When you do so it is advised that you wear protection gear: bike helmet, knee and elbow pads.
You must check the performance of your bike before every ride as mountain biking can be very demanding on your bike and maintenance must be done on a regular basis.
Remember to pack plenty of water and snacks as well as a first aid kit for yourself and a puncture kit for your bike.
Mountain bikers are self-reliant and you must learn how to fix your bike in case it breaks down in the middle of nowhere.
It’s advised to not ride alone when you first venture out. Most importantly, navigation skills are of utmost importance if you decide to ride in unknown new territory.
There are mountain biking associations all over the country and they will welcome any newcomers with open arms.
No need to say will provide you with all the information you need to get started and improve your skills as you go.
For more information on Mountain Biking Australia: www.mtba.asn.au