What to expect
Mountain biking’s all about cycling away from the roads. Hills and trails can be more difficult, but they’re also a great chance to experience nature and set yourself a fun challenge. Mountain bikes are different to bikes designed for road cycling: they tend to be heavier and more robust, with thicker tyres and sometimes suspension. You can go mountain biking at any time of the year as long as you dress for the weather.
If racing’s your thing, there are categories for all ages and abilities from fun races to marathons, elite competitions, and the Olympics.
What you’ll learn
You’ll need to stick at it when you’re tired – and you may even need to get back up and try again if you fall off. At the end of the ride, it’ll be worth it as you look back at the feeling of zooming down a hill or how it felt to reach a checkpoint with your friends.
- We think that the first mountain bikes were only designed to go downhill. Riders would carry them to the top of a hill and then ride down.
- The Birkebeinerrittet in Norway is the world’s largest mountain biking race in terms of numbers of participants. It’s 53.4 miles long and attracts up to 15,000 participants each year. Imagine how tired they must be when they reach the finish line!
- Stay hydrated. Don’t forget your water bottle – it’s up to you whether you mount it on your bike or pop it into a backpack.
- Fuel up with food. Pack some snacks to keep your energy up.
- Be ready for repairs. As well as a first aid kit for people, make sure you’ve got a basic repair kit (or spares).
- Dress for the weather. If you’re serious about mountain biking, you might have padded shorts or technical shirts than draw moisture away from your body. It doesn’t matter if you don’t have technical clothing – just wear something sensible for the weather. In winter, you’ll need a rain jacket to protect you from the elements.
Mountain biking is a fun way to be active and a great opportunity to get off road and into nature. Had people visited the place you went mountain biking before? What was it like compared to other places they’ve ridden bikes?
What did people learn in this activity? Perhaps they had to take a deep breath and face their fears or practise their balance. Riding off-road or downhill tracks can be challenging at first, but learning the proper techniques can help people feel more confident.