Get out on ya bike!

The speed…. The adrenaline… The sheer unadulterated joy… Off road biking is one of these things that I do that really makes me know I am alive….ever since I started as a kid, it is one of my favourite things to do, especially manic downhillng! Whilst not everyone would get so much of a buzz from the experience, I love nothing more than to be careering down a 30 degree incline flying between trees and bumping over rocky terrain, ever millisecond needing to respond to the changing obstacles that cleared as quick as they are approached… In fact writing this article has made me almost feel that buzz again, I will be heading out for a night ride in the local forest shortly that’s for sure! But the reason for putting pen to paper, or fingers to keyboard is to share with you my passion for mountain biking, and persuade you if you don’t already ride to get into it.

I’m not talking about a gentle meander through the nearby woodland, or a pleasant roll down an undulating bridle path, bur instead some serious guns blazing hardcore off roading. One thing I also love about my fav pastime is all the kit – I have been through about 14 bikes in my time, and love modifying them, upgrading components and adding the best extras that money can buy…. In order to ensure that the bike doesn’t get in the way of the experience, I now aim for the best mountain bike I can afford, as I have learnt that it does make a difference. To those in the know this is obvious, but I can’t emphasise enough how important it is to get a decent bike to enjoy your off roading on – be it Kona, Specialised, Gary fisher or Trek, or maybe a Cannondale or Mongoose perhaps? Make sure you do get the best you can afford, or you will only encounter problems and further expense down the line.

Now where is my helmet mounted night light…?

Mountain biking fitness

The best mountain bikes in the world are useless if you don’t know how to ride a bike properly. Decent levels of fitness and a reasonable skill level are really needed to ensure you get the most pleasure, enjoyment and benefit out of your mountain bike riding. Fitness is one of those things that once you attain it is easier to keep than to attain in the first place. By that I mean it is quite a undertaking if you classify yourself as unfit, but as with most if not all sports, you will certainly gain more and be more likely to keep the sport up if you have good basic fitness. Cycling itself is a good way to start getting fit, either using an exercise bike in your spare room or garage, or by getting out for short regular local rides. Another good way to get to a decent level of all round fitness is to swim. It is low impact exercise, and most people live within a few miles of a large enough pool to get in to the habit of regular swimming. With the swimming and cycling combined, you will before long reach a level of fitness that is more than enough to really help you get the most of your mountain biking adventures.Best Mountain Bikes excercise cartoon

When doing some serious off roading, upper body strengh can also play a part in your ability to control the bike through tricky terrain and navigate large rocks, logs and other objects that may be blocking your way. To build good upper body strengh I can’t recommend one particular technique more highly. Use a pull up bar, and get into a regular routine of doing 10 or so reps of pull-ups on this, repeated after a while as strength builds. At first they will seem close to impossible depending on your weight and strength, but start with lower reps and build – the key thing is to try and keep a routine: I’ve installed a simple pull up bar in my garage-office, which cost less than £20. They can be fitted pretty much anywhere, either in doorways, on a wall (where the brackets protude to give you enough space) or on the
ceiling if you have space.

With the pull ups and the general fitness levels improving, you will soon notice huge differences in your capability on the mountain bike, and at this stage, the qualities of having one of the best mountain bikes will really become noticed.

 

…Now get fit!