There is a lot of history and information out there in regards to the history and origins of mountain biking, with some being recognized and some that depends on who has the best firm of public relations.
Some say that mountain biking began with the Buffalo Soldiers, which was a turn of the century infantry who customized bikes to carry gear over the rough and tough terrain. They began in August of 1896, over the course of 800 miles. Their mission was simple - to test bikes for military use in the toughest of terrain.
Others say it was the Velo Cross Club of France that started mountain biking. The club was comprised of 20 young bikers from Paris, who between 1951 and 1956 developed a sport that resembles present day mountain biking.
It could have also been John Finley Scott, who was the first mountain biker in the U.S. In 1953 he constructed what he called a "Woodsie Bike", using a diamond frame, balloon tires, flat handle bars, and cantilever brakes. He was more than 20 years ahead of his time. Even though he remained an off road enthusiast, there were many at that time who didn't share that same passion.
Today, we believe that the history of the mountain bike is most apparent in Northern California. There are a few areas that claim to be the first community for mountain biking, although each and every history book will tell you Marin County.
The sport of mountain biking has taken many twists and turns over the last several hundred years. Even though there are many that say different things about the history and the beginning, we know one thing for sure - one thing has led to another and the sport of mountain biking was born.
Styles of mountain biking
Mountain biking can best be characterized into three different styles - downhill, free riding, and cross country. Even though the different styles are similar in some ways, they still require different skills. The style that you pick will determine the type of bike you get.
Locations for mountain biking
The sport can best be thought of as biking on an unpaved surface. Many areas throughout North America have specific locations designed for mountain biking. Before you decide to go down a trail, you should always check with your local park to get the routes, regulations, and any rules that they may have.
You can also find groups that have mountain bike rides and competitions. You can look on the internet or even in a local paper and see exactly what's available in your area. You may be able to find groups for the more advanced riders as well as beginners.
Becoming a great biker
Endurance and stamina are a must for a great mountain biker. It will also take ambition and practice to succeed as well as conquer the course. Like all other sports, it takes time and practice. Those just beginning will have to get past the bumps and bruises from falling off the bike.
Selecting your mountain bike
The bike you select is more of a personal choice, and a big determining factor on the type of riding you will be doing. Bikes come in all styles, shapes, and prices, which will make selecting one for yourself very difficult indeed.
You should use the internet to help you shop for a bike, even do some price comparisons online as well before you make a purchase. Before you buy a bike, always ask to try it out first. A great mountain biker will become one with his or her own bike. When buying, make sure you check for comfort, how it fits, even how it is geared.