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Many who have seen mountain biking on television, or heard stories about the sport from friends, are eager to give it a try. As a word of advice to those interested, starting out in mountain biking may be easier than you think. Here are some useful pointers on how to get started in mountain biking:

-Seek out an appropriately sized bike, and be sure to know which style of mountain bike you want. Your main options are rigid mountain bikes, hardtail bikes, and full suspension bikes. Here’s a closer look at each of these three mountain bike types, which vary above all based on their suspension systems:

*Rigid mountain bikes are mountain bikes with no suspension system. Thus your bike has fewer parts to maintain, but also may be more difficult to ride off-road than other bikes. These bikes tend to be cheaper and need fewer repairs than the other two types, so they merit a close look for many buyers.

Bike Gears

Be sure that your bike’s gears and chain are in good shape before biking.

*Hardtail bikes contain suspension forks on their front wheels. The back wheels of these bikes are rigid, so they make for a sort of compromise between rigid mountain bikes and full suspension bikes.

*Full suspension bikes are the most sought-after style of mountain bikes. They are also the most expensive, which is no surprise due to their suspension systems in both the front and back wheels. Thus full suspension bikes are widely held to be the most comfortable and effective mountain bikes to ride.

-Bear in mind that you do not need to buy a bike right away before beginning! If you are uneasy about a financial commitment, consider borrowing or renting a bike for a few days to give it a trial run.

-When riding, start out by going slowly. Become comfortable in the process of riding your bike before taking it for a spin at top speed. Just ride around on unpaved level ground to test your feel for the bike and terrain.

Hill Trail

For many mountain bikers, the views alone are worth the price of admission.

-Be sure that you are keeping your eyes forward, rather than down, while riding.

-Get a good feel for how to use your bike’s brakes, and for braking principles in general. Come to stops gradually and safely.

-Develop good technique for properly shifting between gears, pedaling, and how to ride on trails shared with hikers and other cyclists.

-Wear proper safety and protective equipment while riding, and ride with others when possible. Get some practice in and head to the mountains.

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