Mountain Biking 101

By: Megan Stansfield

Summer's just around the corner and that means all kinds of outdoor fun! This season, why not commit to trying something new? Mountain and trail biking! A great form of exercise for all levels, mountain and trail biking is a terrific way to get out and enjoy all that nature offers.

If you think you're ready to give it a try, here are some things you'll need:

A bike. Known as MTB or ATB (Mountain or All-Terrain) bikes, they range in price from $300 to well over $2,000. As a novice, start by renting a bike (much more affordable at around $40 a day) to see if you like the sport, and the bike model.

A bike rack. Unless you live on the mountain, you're going to have to drive to your biking destination. Bike racks come in all different styles, from roof-mounted racks from manufacturers like Swangman and Thule, to hitch-mounted carriers like the one available for Isuzu SUVs.

A helmet. While comfy clothes suited to the weather is always recommended (stay away from loose pants that can get caught in the bike's gears), a helmet is a must. They can be rented or bought, but they are invaluable in the event of an accident, especially in areas where emergency medical help isn't just a hop, skip, and jump away.

A rehydration system. This could be anything from water bottles strapped on the bike, to back-mounted rehydration systems. It's not about how you rehydrate, it's that you do it often.

A cell phone. Just in case of and emergency, bring a cell phone.

Trail maps. Many can be downloaded from the internet or bought at the local ski resort. As a novice, stick to clear, well-marked trails. Keep the map handy in case of an emergency, or in the event you get lost.

Most importantly, have fun. Take as many breaks as you'd like to stop and explore the idyllic setting or to catch your breath. Bike at your own pace and enjoy the well-deserved break from the hustle and bustle of everyday life.

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