How to Start Mountain Biking

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Maybe you have seen it on TV, maybe you have some friends that ride, however you found out about mountain biking it does not matter. What does matter is that mountain biking is extremely appealing, but very intimidating when getting into this sport. This guide is to give you a good idea on how to start into it and hit some trails.


  1. Buy a helmet or borrow one that properly fits you. This is priority one, there are no exceptions! There are several pieces of safety equipment you can get, but arent necessary for the first few rides. As you progress further into the sport, you may find you require more. Equipment such as gloves, shin guards, arm braces, etc. you may look into later on.
  2. Talk to your local bike shop or friends about finding local places or areas that allow bicycles on their trails. Many state parks have some that are built specifically for mountain biking. Also, in many towns there are clubs that will build and maintain trails. If you are uncomfortable hitting the trails right off the bat, then go out and walk them before you ride and get acclimated with them. Be sure to be aware of other riders around you and step off the path when they approach you from behind.
  3. Come prepared. On your first ride it is not necessary to have all of the equipment you will see most people carrying; however there are a few essentials. Specifically, you will need your helmet as mentioned above. You will most likely fall and it will probably be minor but in the event of a severe crash this will save you from a possible serious injury. Its also a good idea to carry water and a phone with you when you ride. You have to stay hydrated when out and in the event of a severe accident you will have the phone to call for help.
  4. Go out and ride, preferable with company. You dont need to buy a bike right off the bat, but it is important to try it out first. You might consider borrowing one from a friend or even renting one. Mountain biking is a blast, but it certainly is not for everyone. There is no use in investing hundreds of dollars in something you will not enjoy. When you are actually on the trails, dont try to hit every jump, root and rock or keep up with more the experienced people. Go at your own pace and skill level, your technique will mature with time. Be sure and wear your helmet.
  5. Become more acclimated with riding you will most likely want a bicycle of your own. This is where your LBS (local bike shop) really come into play. When purchasing a bike it is important to know that each bike very specific to a persons height and body type. If a bike does not fit you well then it will be uncomfortable and even painful to ride. This is why its important to buy locally. A good LBS will be able to set you up with a bike specific to your needs. Many will offer repair, service plans or discounts on future purchases. Try out any and all bicycles you are interested in and go to a few different LBSs as they often sell different brands.
  6. Make time and keep riding. Riding by yourself is certainly entertaining but get a few friends involved and it will give you much more motivation to develop. You should even ride with those more experienced than you as this is where your skills will develop the most. In the beginning riding may be a little scary, but with time you will increase your skills and be able to tackle anything.

Things You Will Need

  • Helmet made specifically for bicycling.
  • Bicycle made for off-road trails.

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