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The women’s mountain bike scene has been booming in recent years, with gutsy lasses donning the trails with the wind in their hair and mud on their faces. So, fancy jumping on the trail bandwagon?

If you’ve have your first rush with the dirt and are looking to get nestled firmly into the forest line and mountain sides, then we bring you the definitive guide for becoming an adrenaline fuelled Queen of the Mountain.

Everyone has to start somewhere, and mountain biking is no different from any other hobby or passion, but be warned… the dirt is a highly addictive drug.

So let’s get you started, and rolling the trails in no time.

Buying your first MTB

Where better to get started than with buying a mountain bike? You’ll spend hours trawling through online shops, drooling over the shiny paintwork and colour coordinating decals, but you need to know what you’re looking for, and ensure you get a bike that’s fit for purpose.

When buying your first two wheeled mountain companion, you need to consider these important things:

Bike Set up

You’ve got your bike and you’re itching to go out,  but it’s important to take some time to study your bike and ensure it’s set-up correctly. There’s a number of checks to carry out, bolts to tighten and adjustments to make before you’re safe and ready to get shredding.

Maintaining your bike

Like with anything precious, you need to take care of it. Getting your shiny new bike dirty for the first time can be a little cringe-worthy, no one wants to mess up their new things. However, having the right cleaning kit and some elbow grease will have her sparkling like new in no time.

It isn’t just the dirt, but having the right tools to fix bike injuries will help keep her going for longer.

  • Cleaning Products: You need to be careful what products you use on your bike as overly harsh chemical can cause paint and component damage. For more information about cleaning your bike properly, check out this video.
  • Essential tools: The bare minimum you’ll need for bike adjustments and basic work is a multi-tool which is great for stowing in your pack as you ride. However, it’s a good idea to get a set of tools for the house as well.
  • Bonus essentials: There’s a couple of extra things that your toolbox needs for those emergency hacks and clean-up situations. Cable ties are great for keeping things tidy in the cockpit, on the frame and keeping your inner-tubes rolled tight. The wonders of duct tape will become clear, as will WD40 and blue roll.
  • Change an inner tube: Given that punctures are the most common mishaps to occur on the bike, it’s important to know how to deal with them when out on the trails. The best thing to do is practice at home until you can do it with your eyes closed.
  • Check your pressures: Tyres and suspension settings need to be checked every so often to ensure it’s all up to code. How often is down to how often you ride or if there are any changes to you or your riding style.

What to Wear

The great thing about mountain biking is how casual the style is. You can get away with so much freedom in your clothing that you don’t have to invest as much as you may think. However, there are some essential pieces you can’t ride without and some things you won’t want to ride without:

Getting Started

Bike: Check. Kit: Check. You’re ready to ride.

Mountain bike trails are graded similar to that of a ski-resort with a colour system:

Green: Family friendly trails with rough or loose terrain, and gradual inclines and descents. Wider trails widths and limited to no features or obstacles. These are great for beginner riders looking to stretch their pedal strokes and learn fundamentals.

Blue: Intermediate. Blue trails will usually be a little more flowy where you start to see the beginnings of more technical sections such as rock gardens, tighter corners and slightly steeper climbs.

Red: Advanced riders take on the red trails which often include features and obstacles: drop-offs, jumps and steep shoots with tight technical trail segments to navigate through. Long single trackclimbs can be steep as well as technical and even cover great distances.

Black/Pro: Expert riders and those with guts of steel charge their way around the most advanced lines with un-rollable features. Everything needs to be executed with confidence and technique.

It’s important to be honest with yourself and ride to your ability to reduce the risk of accident and injury – to you and your bike. Many trail centres and bikeparks offer women’s mountain bike coachingwhich takes you through the fundamentals of riding. Everything from shifting efficiently, knowing your bike, pedalling and essential skills to get you feeling more confident on the stead and tearing up those trails in no time.

On The Trails

Mountain biking is amazing fun, and a great way to make friends, but one cardinal rule to abide by is: respect the trails. There are some guidelines we believe riders should follow to ensure everyone has a safe and fun day on the trails.

The weather can be a cruel mistress, so it’s important to carry waterproofs and check the forecast before you set off. Some mountains and further afield places have their own micro-climate which can turn quick. A cloudy day can quickly turn into a white-out, so be prepared and stay aware.

So now you have the bike, the kit and you’ve learnt the basics, it’s time to venture off to explore new trails. We can’t cover absolutely everything in on guide, and one of the fun things about mountain biking is trial and error, and you will make errors.

At the end of the day, mountain biking like all cycling disciplines is for you and for fun. Cycling can take you on amazing adventures, introduce you to new friends and get you fit in the process. So enjoy it!

Article can be read at this link: https://totalwomenscycling.com/mountain-biking/ultimate-beginner-guide-dirt-trails-things-mtb-81164/

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