Mountain biking is one of the best exercises you can do. It is far safer than road biking in that there is a much lower possibility of death. Unlike running, it is gentle on joins and feet. It does not get much better.
In the interest of full disclosure, I do need to state that I have had the following experiences:
- I separated my shoulder while trying to cut a tree in half. It did not require surgery.
- I was unable to drop off a ledge because of a rattle snake that was in the way.
- I have endo'd multiple times.
- I have hit my head so hard that I nearly passed out.
- I have been dehydrated to the point of suffering chills in 90 degree weather.
- I have hit my shin with my pedal so many times I have permanent scars.
- I have had my calf impaled by a chain ring.
- I have bled, been bruised, scraped, poked, jabbed and smacked more times than I can count.
- I have taken a handle bar to the chest and have had trouble breathing for several days.
- I have been impaled by a very large cactus.
That said, the trade off is more than worth it. Here are ten rules for mountain biking that will help avoid some of the pitfalls and increase success.
1. Power is safer than timidity. People get in trouble when they are timid, hesitate and go too slowly.
2. When you are going down a steep hill, only feather your front brake. If it is really steep, do not use your front brake at all. If you do, you will endo for sure.
3. Take kids frequently and remember, it is all about them. This will pay off in the moment and later.
4. When a kid crashes hard, get them back on the bike again as soon as possible.
5. Go with good friends. Focus on them and the riding will take care of itself.
6. Enjoy the scenery.
7. Go with people that ride better than you do and try to keep up.
8. Spend as much time with your cute wife as possible. Make her riding experience as good as possible.
9. Don't shift when your chain is torqued. Anticipate the need to shift and shift while you are free spinning.
10. There is no need to wear a kit, shave your legs, have a cool jersey, have carbon soled shoes, wear the right sunglasses or have an expensive helmet. Just put on some shorts, a T shirt, then go grip and rip. There is no need to be this guy:
I will continue the list later. This should get you started; now go ride!