Mountain Biking is the sport which is actually categorized in the adventure sport, but it can also be played for some pleasure as well. It is a sport of riding bicycles off-road. Most part of the time the surface on which the mountain biking is observed is a rough ground and the bikes or bicycles are specially made to co-op with such terrains. These bikes are specially designed to counter the rough surface and also to increase durability of the bikes as well. Let us know more about Mountain Biking.
All You Want to Know about Mountain Biking
There is no exact date we can find for the commencement of mountain biking but it is said that the modern style of mountain biking was started around the decade of 1970s. The International Mountain Bicycling Association is the highest governing body for the sport. Mountain Biking has two different gender categories and the IMBA organizes two separate championships for both men and women, but yes, there is a restriction on not having a mixed gender competition.
There are multiple categories in which both the genders compete in mountain biking. The major categories across the world for mountain biking are: trail riding, cross country, downhill, all mountain, dirt jumping, trials and Freeride. But the major part of the mountain biking as we have mentioned above falls under the recreational category where the bikers just go to get some pleasure out of it.
The mountain biker needs plenty of stamina, extreme strength and balance to perform at a very high standard of mountain biking. Apart from these mental and physical skills the mount biker also needs bike handling skills and self-reliance. The pro-mount bikers also prefer to remain updated with the technology part as well and thus they can perform well in the dirt jumping, freeriding, downhiling and in aerial maneuvers. Mind you, mountain biking now a day also has unnatural and specially constructed terrains as well. So, the professional mountain bikers need to have balance for both.
Mount biking can be performed anywhere, it just needs to have the guts, the enthusiasm, a little bit of knowledge about it and of course a specially manufactured bike to perform. It is always advisable to perform it under some experience guide if you are doing it for the first time.
Brief History of Mountain Biking
The first mountain biking incident takes us back to 1800s when bicycles were modified especially for an off road usage. It was made for the expedition taken place by Buffalo Soldiers from Missoula, Montana to Yellowstone in the month of August 1896. Even the Switzerland army had its first ever bike regiment by the year 1891. After this the off road bicycling were used for the cyclo-cross, which means to keep the bikes fit even at the time of winter. But later the cyclo-cross became a sport in itself by 1940s. The first ever world championship of cyclo-cross took place by the Velo Cross Club Parisien of France between the years 1951 and 1956.
The first ever specially made rough terrain was in Oregon in United Kingdom. D Gwynn a club member of Chemeketan club made this trail in the year 1966 and this is where the term ‘mountain biking’ was first used. The first ever flirt with the design of cycles was done by Geoff Apps of England in 1968 who became experimenting with the off-road bicycle designs. After 10 years of hard work he came up with the light weight bicycle which was specially made for mountain biking, as it could suit the muddy and wet off road conditions very well. These bikes were sold under the trademark of Cleland Cycles till 1984 and later it was sold to Highpath Engineering in the early years of 1990s.
The first ever instance of mountain biking in the United States was started by the riders in the Crested Butte in Colorado and by the bikers of Cupertino in California. They modified they heavily built cruiser bicycles which were made during 1930s and 1940s. This trend continued in the US till 1970 till the company called Schwinn Excelsior came into the picture. They made the motorcross or BMX styled bikes by creating ‘klunkers’. But still the word ‘mountain biking’ was not in use in the USA.
The mountain biking got a real boost during the 1990s and at the turn of the new century and slowly it got the place in adventure sports loving people. Even the departmental stores like Wal-Mart began to sell the mountain bikes and that made it even more popular and interesting among the people of America and Europe.
Types and Risks of Mountain Biking
There are many types or categories in Mountain Biking and along with that, there are many types of risks also involved. Let us know about both of them, first the categories of Mountain Biking and then the risks.
First there is a cross country mountain biking where two points are pre decided and between them the bikers compete. Climbs and descents of different terrains are also involved in this. Bikes weigh around 9 to 13 kilograms are generally used in this category. Then there is an All Mountain category in which big and small mountains are to be climbed along with the bikes. It is one of the longest biking event in Mountain Biking and it could easily take one full day from start to finish. In the North America it is fondly called as ‘everyman’s race’.
Next in line is the Downhill or DH, in which the bikers take the top of the hill to go downwards. There are specific Downhill bikes made for this in which more rear suspension is used. Because of the steep terrain the Downhill biking is considered to be one of the most extreme and dangerous sports in the world currently. The Downhill bikes generally carry a weight between 16 to 20 kilograms.
In Four Cross category the bikers use four separate tracks to compete. These tracks have dirt jumps, berms and gaps. It is highly professional competition and a rigorous training is required before attaining it. In Freeride category the bikers are free to show any talent they have and there are hardly any restrictions. This is one of the most popular part of biking as people come and see more stunts from bikers.
Dirt Jumping is one more category in Mountain Biking. The bikers show their class on dird made out of soil and mud. They do stunts by going airborne. The dirt jumping bikes are normally smaller and has more maneuverable capacities than the rest of the mountain bikes.
Risks Involved in Mountain Biking
Well, if it is an extreme sport then certain risks are definitely involved. Downhill biking is as we said the most dangerous of them all. From minor wounds to cuts and fractured arms and legs are the accidents which are expected once you take up the Mountain Biking as your profession or your hobby. But if you are well equipped with the protection gears available in the market the impact of the injury can be reduced.
So this is it! Hope you have enjoyed the complete article. Be safe while you attempt a mountain biking. All the best!