Off-road and rough terrain cycling can be one of the most rewarding forms of cycling, both as a form of exercise and as a way to see some great sights. While getting started on off-road cycling might seem like a bit of an intimidating prospect, there are a few tips and tricks that you can follow to make your new hobby easier. Luckily for you, I’ve put all of the most important tips together into a handy list for you.
Get the Right Gear
Before you do anything, you’re going to make sure that you have the appropriate gear for some off-road biking, the most important being a mountain bike! There is no escaping that mountain bikes can be on the expensive side, but you can get what you need for under $1000 dollars – no one said that this was going to be a cheap hobby! If you’re trying to save, then it is best to start with a hard-tail (suspension is only in the front) lightweight bike.
To round out your gear, I’d recommend picking up some decent gloves, knee/elbow pads and eye protection. Off-road cycling can be a bit rough and tumble, and the terrain you are crossing is likely to throw up detritus, so you’re going to want to keep yourself nice and protected.
Make Some Adjustments
While a standard “out the box” bike might do you fine on well-maintained roads, you’re going to need to get used to making adjustments yourself if you’re going to get anywhere with off-road cycling. While a lot of the adjustments that you make will come down to personal preference and experience, a good place to start is by making adjustments to your tyre and suspension pressure.
Your tyres should be soft enough for you to be able to insert a thumb into the rubber, this will help them to deal with the rough terrain without losing traction. Conversely, your suspension should be kept at a high pressure to reduce the weight that you’ll feel at the back of your bike.
Like with any other hobby, you’ll never get any good if you don’t practice. Don’t worry too much about diving in on the deep end and committing to a massive cross-country off-road route. Start with something small, that offers a nice variety of terrain for you to get used to. Most popular mountain biking routes that run through forests will offer you the perfect balance.
Last, but certainly not least, make sure to enjoy yourself! Take things nice and easy before building up to more complex routes, and you’ll find that you get the very best out of this challenging hobby. Off-road cycling is a great way to workout and get out and about in nature, so relax, take things nice and slow, and make the most of your surroundings.