Tennessee is a fantastic state for outdoor enthusiasts, especially those that like to hit the trails by bike or by foot. I love to strap on my helmet and pedal my way through the Tennessee wilderness every now and then. Even though I’m by no means an expert mountain biker, I have plenty of fun and feel confident while riding.
If you’re new to the sport and looking to get started, here are some tips on mountain biking for beginners.
Make Sure You Have the Proper Gear
Be sure to choose a bike that is sized to fit you and that is comfortable to sit on. Sites such as eBicycles have basic mountain-bike size calculators that you can use to get started. When you’re renting or buying your bike, be sure to ask the store associate to help you find the right size.
The next most important piece of equipment is a helmet. Remember, helmets come in different sizes. Click here for tips on how to know if your helmet fits. When picking out a helmet, look for the Consumer Product Safety Committee (CPSC) sticker. This sticker means the helmet is compliant with the CPSC’s strict protection requirements.
You’ll also need a, water bottle, tire repair kit and possibly a pair of gloves for protection, padding and improved grip.
Find the Right Trail
If you’re new to mountain biking, I’d recommend starting on an easy trail so that you can get a better feel for your bike, improve your form and balance and increase your confidence.
Tennessee has more than 100 biking trails for you to choose from, many of which are ideal for those just starting out. Check out Tennessee State Parks, Tennessee Mountain Bike and SingleTracks for a list of trails that you can filter by difficulty level.
Need a breath of fresh air? Find more outdoor activities to enjoy in Tennessee.
Make it a Social Activity
One of my top tips on mountain biking for beginners is to cycle with a friend. Mountain biking is a perfect social outlet and a fun way to spend time with a partner or friend. If you don’t have a mountain-biking buddy, consider joining a local biking group.
Organizations such as Bike Walk Tennessee work with local clubs across the state and can help put you in touch with a local club that offers beginners group rides, events, fundraisers, races and more.
Can I Take the Kids?
Mountain biking can be a great family activity. If your children are 2 years old or younger, you’ll need to have them ride in a bike trailer. If your kids are older and can pedal their own bikes, make sure they have a properly fitted bike and helmet.
Keep rides short and scenic at first, and make sure to pack snacks and plenty of water. Check out the International Mountain Biking Association for more tips on having a successful biking trip with children.
Have you ever been mountain biking? Share your tips with others by commenting below!
Consult your doctor before beginning any diet or exercise program.
BlueCross BlueShield of Tennessee members can access wellness-related discounts on fitness products, gym memberships, healthy eating and more through Blue365®. BCBST members can also use tools and resources to help improve health and well-being by logging into BlueAccess and going to the in the Member Wellness Center under the Managing Your Health tab.