Created | Updated Jan 9, 2012
When one becomes bored with riding a bicycle on smooth road surfaces, an alternative exists - Mountain Biking. Mountain Biking takes two main forms: off-road and downhill.
In off-road mountain biking, a specially designed off-road bike is used to traverse trails that would be difficult to tackle on foot. Jumping over logs, off rock outcroppings and ducking under tree branches is all part of the allure of the sport.
In downhill mountain biking, the object seems to be to throw yourself and your bike, known as your 'steed', headlong down a very steep, very muddy, very bumpy hillside, lined with trees, and therefore riddled with tree roots, towards an incredibly sharp bend around which any number of hidden dangers may be found. Falling off and getting very muddy is a prerequisite.
The more advanced competitors practice tricks and stunts which never fail to attract members of the opposite sex. Mostly these include:
- Bunny Hops
- Drop Offs
- Big No Handers
- Spine-Spinning 360 Flip
- Getting some Big Air
- Switzerland Squeaker
- and so on...
A very professional Mountain Biker tells us that Drop Offs are the most complicated to pull off, but look the most impressive when done well. Apparently the technique for any Drop Off (up to about 4 feet) is pretty much the same as dropping off a curb. Remember to start small and work your way up, and that way you'll avoid the bumps and scrapes usually associated with learning this skill. The trick is in balance and weight distribution. If your front wheel drops down a step, and all your weight is at the front, you'll pitch yourself over the handlebars. If all your weight is at the back when the rear drops down, you'll end up on your bum. What you're aiming for is to have your weight over the rear when the front drops down, and the front when the rear drops down. Well that's the theory...
Best advice for beginner bikers: Eat lots of Cadbury's Animal Biscuits. They help lower your centre of gravity.