Things I Wish I’d Known About Mountain Biking Before Starting

Things I Wish I’d Known About Mountain Biking Before Starting

I want to share with all amateurs, or future enthusiasts, of mountain bike everything that I think is important to know, or rather what I would have liked to know before starting on an mountain bike there is a Ten years.

To make things clearer, I will organize my article in three unequal parts. One on the instrument, mountain biking and its practice, one on the engine, yourself, and a longer one on the equipment, which one day will save your life!

But before starting, a short introduction on mountain biking, because in a few years, significant developments have taken place. Indeed, a few years back, the mountain bike was a Mountain Bike, and the practices were really “only” what is now called the Cross Country (or XC) and the descent (in the United States apparently …).

Cantilever brake
Cantilever brake
From traditional cantilever brakes to the old rigid fork, mountain biking has become a monstrous sum of technology and today some even develop electronics to adjust the pressures of shock absorbers according to the terrain ! ( Original English version ). That’s good, but the problem is that research has a cost, and it is high. In fact, finding a good, affordable bike has now become very easy, and it has become relatively expensive on spare parts, equipment and maintenance. So sometimes you have to pay attention to the mountain bike you buy and invest what you will not have to spend for many years! In short, it has become difficult to spot in the huge amount of brands and references.


MTB Scott Spark 29 Pro, Cross Country High-end
One can distinguish (arbitrarily) to make it simple:

Cross country , which in this ranking could be translated by hiking. It is the practice of many, including me, you have a bike, a course, and you will have fun, whether it is on a natural circuit and do a few laps, whether it is a 70 km course, The idea is to pedal in the green!
Descent, in all its forms . Everything is in the name, we go down, fast, very quickly! Practical at risk and very technical for thrill seekers, but the cost of entry is relatively high.
A figure in Dirt
A figure in Dirt
The various technical and stylistic disciplines (Dirt, Trial, Street), on bicycles particularly robust and generally very low – with a look of BMX or motocross – the idea is to do, in a natural or urban landscape, Created for the occasion or not, figures all crazier than the others! Again, for lovers of thrills, and balance!
Note that there are other disciplines, cf. This article from Wikipedia . You will find all the links to the disciplines and their exact descriptions! I have not put any details because there are, to my knowledge, no real structural differences on the bikes.

I will focus on the Cross Country (XC in the rest of the article). First because it is the classic practice of cycling, especially to start, but mainly because it is the one I know best!

Choosing an mountain bike for the XC is relatively difficult , but several indicators can be identified and used to choose a range. Knowing that in a given range, the brands are about equal.

1. Your level and your practice. By answering questions you can easily assess your level and your future mountain bike practice. These questions are:

(A) I’m more a weekly outing! (And still, minimum)
(b) or one exit per month? (Mouais, not on either)

(A) I have a big sporting past and the mountain bike will be a sport in which I want to have fun!
(B) I rather want to get back in shape and find a nice sport, without having to follow the beaten track!

(A) In all weather, all the time
(b) With friends on a quiet, friendly and nature walk.

2. Your budget, (these groups come from my experience, and nothing else, do not hesitate to share yours) note that you MUST keep about 160 € for the equipment ):

(A) 0 to 699
(b) 700 to 1499
(c)> 1500

And in summary, if you have a maximum of (a) the first question, you are going to go to a sport practice, more (b), towards a practice at the limit of the VTC ( Vélo tous Chemins, B-Twin de Decathlon is a great example ), with which it will eventually have to decide. In the alternative, the budget will determine a little your range of choice, and pleasure (by analogy, it can be said that it is always more enjoyable to drive with a Porshe than with a Clio Sport!).

First of all, your choice for mountain bike rather than VTC comes down to this: will I go off-the-beaten, on terrain with pebbles, in fairly fast descents …? If the answer to any of these questions is yes, then it’s a typical mountain bike profile, if it’s not, go on a VTC – and read the part directly on the man and his equipment!)

Before going to your salesman, you should know that:

To make evolve an mountain bike is very expensive, more than to buy from the start a good mountain bike. So you have to think twice before eliminating an mountain bike that costs 100 € more but has a much better fork! I know something about it, it is a mistake I made, for lack of budget in relation to my practice.
The cable disc brakes, even very correct are a source of glitches. They are to be avoided . Also, good “V-brake” type brakes are better than poor hydraulic disc brakes. It’s not for nothing that mountain bikes are mounted with V-brakes and not in records for the Olympic Games! Good there is also the weight …
Frame rigid or suspended? Good question. It is mainly your budget that will determine this, a “true” all suspended never costs less than 900 € approximately . Most ? More comfort, one begins to have the disadvantage of pumping – the suspensions absorb a part of the effort that you provide to advance – balanced by a gain in adhesion. The lessers ? A little heavier, a little more maintenance, and much more expensive.
The tubeless vs tubetype debate (without tube vs. inner tube) is still raging. I am personally passed to the tubeless through – or because of … – of monsters balances on a pair of rims, I like the comfort gain (I ride on a semi-rigid), grip and reliability (with preventive In tires), but regrets the high price – count 40 to 70 € per tire, in short, if it does not make me 2 seasons, I am ruined.
The automatic pedals are not a luxury . They actually require a phase of adaptation – I remember some memorable falls elsewhere. But they bring a real plus, whether on pedaling, power transmitted, or feeling safe, especially on some brittle descents.
Apart from these few tips, it is mainly your budget that will determine your mountain bike , knowing that a really intense and sporting practice will necessarily need a machine a little more efficient than a small hike among friends.

Clear :

Profile (b), budget (a).

LaPierre Tecnic 300 – 2011
Tecnic 300 2011
I’m going to do some small hikes with friends, but I also want to have a little fun. Why not go on a Scott, Aspect , or LaPierre Tecnic bike ? To mention ONLY its two major brands ( because there are brands ). Today the names have changed for Lapierre RAID.

Profile (a), budget (b).

I make at least two outings a month, more than 2h00, I like to pedal strong, and to burst to return exhausted. Leaving, staying on the same brands, history to see the difference, on a Scott Scale , or a LaPierre Pro Race

Scott Scale 80, model 2008
If your budget is significantly higher (c), then two options. Keep a little money, for equipment, accessories … Or why not go on a full suspension mountain bike, like Lapierre XC , or Scott Spark . That’s what I’m driving today in 2016, a 2012 Spark 50.

A small bracket on Decathlon mountain bikes, and in general, sports distributors (Nakamura (Intersport), Go-sport …). I have had only positive feedback on their subjects. I was in the beginning the happy owner of a Rockrider 500 (Decathlon) that always rolls to take me to work, my darling having a B-Twin 5 (Decathlon, VTC), I was able to experience it a little , It is a beautiful machine. Only inconvenience: the maintenance, which is done in centers, or, in general, from one to two weeks without your bike! I think the same goes for Go-Sport. For Intersport, in the next door, a competent technician takes care of my Scott. So no waiting! (And that’s a plus)

Now that we have talked about your vehicle, we will talk about you.

It is more about having common sense than other things:

Do not try to make an exit of 4h00 from the first day and without a minimum of training (the Lafay (proteo system) is really, for me, a must) and equipment. Go ahead gradually, and indulge yourself!
Do not leave the ball in the head, take the time to warm up by going there quietly at the beginning, and accelerating little by little (eventually, stretch at the end).
Think of hydrating yourself, especially if it’s hot, a water bottle or a water bag, this is part of the obligatory equipment! Drink a sip often (and before you get thirsty), not a lot of suddenly, no cold water or with ice cubes, no need to drink stuff, or super stuff, at least in the beginning. Water, with possibly a little sugar and (more rarely, and in case of really long effort) of salt. For those who doubt, see here . The risk is great, be careful.
Avoid going alone and without a phone! Especially if you’re starting out. Do not hesitate to give your background to your loved ones if you leave alone despite everything.
Do not go on an empty stomach or after a rough evening. Expect to be operational.
Never leave without a helmet !
Now that the few basic rules concerning you are expressed, a little word about your equipment.

The equipment also evolves well in recent years, and it has become affordable, in part. You need either a backpack or a bike bag for you:

Well-equipped XC MTB Driver
Water pocket or gourd (about 1 liter per hour for a long hike if not too hot (20 ° C)), I have the first decathlon prize (I like very much for the equipment the majority Of the links point to them) to 15 € and it goes very well.
Not a gel cover , a good mountain bike shorts or a shorts . – count 50 € for a good shorts , 30 € for a good shorts.
Mittens or gloves , mandatory, this is your guarantee against blisters, pain in the hands or wrists, count about twenty euros.
A pair of glasses . There also obligatory , especially in case of fast hikes. It protects the eyes from the gravel, branches, and others that you will necessarily encounter. I have also had a pair of basic glasses at 20 € with 3 interchangeable glasses. I also had a bad experience with this glasses. A very fragile first prize that did not finish a season).
A HELMET and I say, never leave without the latter – for the story, during a descent, easy enough in addition, a friend saw his front wheel stuck in a pothole. He went off in the sun and literally splashed over his bike. He fell head first on the ground, on a pebble prominent. He got up, the helmet almost fell, cut in half. I leave you to imagine if it had been without … Count from 30 to 400 € (same as for glasses … I personally have a good helmet at 40 € that suits me well, and adjusts well to my head, try – before you buy).


Sticker with the words “no helmet no ride”

The mountain bike T-shirt is optional, it’s mainly because it dries quickly and is breathable. A classic sports t-shirt does the trick!
If you have opted for automatic pedals , count between 50 and 100 € for a pair of shoes .
The equipment necessary to repair a puncture, or a chain that breaks , namely a kit patches (less than 10 € with glue, patches, dismantled tires and emery cloth), a small pump (about twenty euros), see a room in emergency air (3 €) and single chain tool, see an emergency chain.
A first aid kit , hoping never to need it. I have in mine a pair of gloves, tape, tweezers, disinfectant, quick sutures, a small pair of gauze scissors and plaster. Count from 10 to 20 €.
All this equipment ( including a pair of shoes) will cost you around 160 €.


What is Finger Skateboarding?

What is Finger Skateboarding?

A finger skateboard is a working replica (about 1:8 scaled) of a skateboard that a person “rides” by replicating skateboarding maneuvers with their hand. It can also be referred to as a finger skate or finger skateboard. The device itself is a scaled-down skateboard complete with graphics, moving wheels, and trucks. The first finger skateboards were created as home-made toys in the late 1960s and later became a novelty attached to key chains in skate shops.

A finger skateboard is usually around 10 centimeters long, and can have a variety of widths going from 29 to 33mm or more. Skateboarding tricks may be performed using fingers instead of feet. Tricks done on a finger skateboard are inspired by tricks done on real skateboards. Cam Fox Bryant is widely credited as making the first finger skateboard, and his skit in Powell-Peralta’s “Future Primitive” video brought finger skateboarding to the skateboarders of the world in the mid-1980s. Around the same time, he wrote an article on how to make finger skateboards in TransWorld SKATEboarding magazine.

Although finger skateboarding was a novelty within the skateboarding industry for years, as skateboarding reached enormous and widespread popularity in the late 1990s, the folks at toymaker Spin Master realized the potential for the toys, and specifically for products bearing the logos and branding of real skateboarding brands. Their Tech Deck brand caught on during this period and has grown into a widely recognized brand itself in the toy business. Toy finger skateboards like the ones Tech Deck manufactures are now available as inexpensive novelty toys as well as high-end collectibles, complete with accessories one would find in use with standard-size skateboards. Finger skateboards are also used by skateboarders as 3-D models to understand potential tricks and maneuvers; many users make videos to document their efforts.

Similar to finger skateboarding, although less popular, handboarding is a scaled-down version of a skateboard that a user controls with their hands.

How to Choose the Best Bike Pedals

How to Choose the Best Bike Pedals
Choosing the Best Bike Pedals can make a big difference to the quality of your cycling. The pedals that come with your bike are usually of the standard variety for that style bike, and are typically platform pedals. These platform pedals may have improvements over old designs like superior materials, gripping surfaces, and better bearings.

Most platform pedals can be fitted with toe clips, and are fine for most casual cyclists.Toe clips attach to the front of a platform pedal and surround your toe. They allow you to pull up with your foot in the pedal stroke as well as pushing down, effectively doubling your efficiency. With the addition of an adjustable strap that threads through the top and bottom of the clip you have a basic retention systemUsing toe clips takes some practice since it requires righting the pedal first as the weight of the system causes the pedal to hang upside down. This is achieved with a quick flick of the toe. To remove your foot from a toe clip you simply pull it straight back.

But if you want to boost your performance you need to step up to clipless pedals and bicycle shoes. Clipless” is really a misnomer since the shoe cleat actually “clips in” to the pedal’s clips much like you do with a ski binding. The origin of the name goes back to the old style pedals with “toe clips” which were a cyclist’s only choice for improved pedaling efficiency. The clipless pedals eliminate the need for toe clips by offering a direct attachment between shoe and pedal.


Bike shoes and clipless pedals are part of a natural progression to make your riding more efficient and less tiring.

They are a much more advanced pedal-retention system. The system works by mounting a small plastic or metal cleat on the sole of your shoe. This cleat then snaps in to a set of spring-loaded “clips” on the face of the pedal.

Clipless pedals, when used with the appropriate bicycle shoe, enable the rider to exert force to the pedal on both the upstroke and downstroke resulting in much more efficient pedaling. Your foot and the pedal are linked together as one.

When you think about how many times you lift each foot when pedaling ( for instance at a pedaling cadence of 70 per minute ) there is a lot of wasted energy it’s easy to see how clipless pedals can do wonders for increasing your pedaling efficiency.

Clipless pedals are one of the more popular bicycle accessories. They come in a wide variety of styles and shapes but they are specific to a mountain or road bike and the pedals and shoes must be matched.

Cycling shoes need a compatible pedal to hold your feet securely on the bicycle. The so-called “clipless” shoe-pedal combination offers unmatched control with a minimum amount of your pedaling energy loss.

The male cleat on the shoe must match the female clip on the pedal. Road bike shoes will only mate to road bike Look pedals. Mountain bike shoes will only mate to mountain bike SPD pedals.

Road bike clipless pedal

The clipless bicycle pedals designed for road bikes are usually Look standard. They are usually much smaller and lighter in weight than the mountain bike pedals. Road bikes are usually ridden longer distances and the lighter weight pedals are a bigger issue.

Look standard 3 hole cleat

Road cyclists most often use a 3-hole cleat design. This is often called a “Look” type cleat after the company that pioneered its use. These cleats are larger, made out of the plastic and protrude farther from the sole of the shoe than a comparable 2-hole design.

The advantage of the 3-hole design is that the large cleat is able to spread the force load being applied to the pedal over a wider area.

Road shoes with the 3 hole Look cleat are not well suited for walking since the cleat protrudes from the sole of the shoe and they have no heal. If you plan to do any walking in bike shoes you may want to opt for mountain bike shoes and pedals.

Mountain bike clipless pedal

Most mountain bikes clipless pedals use the 2-hole cleat design which is often referred to as the “SPD” system (short for Shimano Pedaling Dynamics). Shimano was one of the first companies to develop this system and continues to be a leader in the market today.

Shimano 2 hole cleat

To mount the cleat to the shoe screws are placed through the 2 holes securing the cleat to 2 tracks or slots in the bottom of a compatible shoe. This lets you slide the cleat back and forth slightly to achieve the proper angle and placement for maximum comfort and ease of engagement to the pedal.

Ideally, the cleat is mounted directly under the ball of the foot but can be moved slightly to a more comfortable position if desired. You can experiment to find the ideal position to engage the cleat most easily and pedal with the most comfort. The lateral or “twist” adjustment on the cleat allows them to be set to accommodate different pedaling styles.

Cleat Compatibility

Cleats are bolted to bottom of the shoe but must also match the pedals properly if they are to engage and disengage safely. This is why cleats are supplied with the pedals and not the shoes.

To create a full clipless pedal system, you need 1) Shoes that are drilled to accept the kind of cleat you are buying, and 2) Compatible cleats and pedals (which are sold together).

If you wear out your cleats, replacements are sold separately.

With any clipless pedal system it is very important to practice removing your foot from the pedal. You do this by pivoting your heel outward usually about 30 degrees. It’s nice to be “one with the bike”, and pedal more efficiently, but you need to un-clip any time you stop. It’s best to practice on the grass because you may fall a few times until you get the knack. Or better yet get a friend to steady the bike while you practice. Again, it’s not hard to do but you want to be able to do it instinctively without thinking about it and this takes practice.

Why is Cycling So Popular?

Why is Cycling So Popular?

Cycling can be hard. Busy roads, cars, lack of cycle lanes and potholed roads can all make cycling a tough endeavor. However, there are plenty of reason why cycling is awesome, and with plenty of cheap bikes and cycling accessories available it’s a low cost way to commute and get fit. With superb, low cost bikes such as the Vilano Aluminium Road Bike 21 Speed costing only £150, you can be ready to ride without spending a lot. In addition, you can also use a spinning or exercise bike to get a great workout without even leaving the house.

Here are some great reasons to cycle no matter where you live.

1. Bicycling is a Cheap Way To Travel

The popularity of bicycles as petrol prices increase is on a steady rise. Bicycle shops across the country are reporting increasing sales, and more people than ever are getting their bikes out of the garage, and taking to their two wheeled machines that have been idle for years.


2. Cycling Can Make You Healthier

Bicycling with even minimal effort at around 10 or 12 miles per hour burns 400-500 calories an hour. Cycling has been recommended as a way of contributing to solving the obesity problem in the UK. Convincing kids to put down there video games and head out for some exercise and fresh air isn’t always east but the fun of cycling can be a great way to encourage children to get fit. And why not mske it even more appealing by recording their cycling adventures on a kids action camera, like the VTech KidiZoom Action Cam

3. Old bikes can be modified for other tasks

From generating electricity to pumping water, modified bikes have the power to do more than get you from point A to point B.

The Engineering for Developing Communities (EDC) program at the University of Colorado developed a prototype of a human powered bike that pumped water in communities where there’s no electricity. Their model was able to pump at a maximum of 18 feet below ground, at 2.5 gallons per minute.

4. Cycling can help breakdown economic divides.

In wealthy countries, cycling has been adopted by all areas of society. In fact, the word “cyclist” tends to conjure the image of a upper-middle class athletic type with an expensive carbon fiber bike, spandex outfit, and bicycle shoes. However, in poorer countries, people who have adopted driving as a social status often equate bicycling with poverty.

5. Bicycles are versatile machines with many uses.

Again, Sam Aola Ooko in Kenya: “In Africa, versatility is everything and depending on where you are, a bicycle can be a large farm truck or an ambulance saving lives deep in the African jungle.”

But, as Sam cautions, be careful to select a comfortable seat and have it properly adjusted by a professional bike mechanic.

6. Bikes require less space than cars.

Therefore, an urban area developed for bicycles and pedestrians would be able to replace road area with businesses, walkways, and parks. Just imagine the impracticality of replacing every bicycle in China with a car.


According to EcoWorldly’s Eva Pratesi: “With a population of about 400,000 inhabitants and a traffic density that affects the historical center, Florence is a city where bicycling is not a choice. Every day a continual coming and going of students and workers flows slowly in the city-center riding for kilometers. Cradle of new Humanism under the Medici Dynasty, Florence preserves today the ancient charm that bikers can appreciate moving towards their destinations.”

7. In some places, with a little modification, a single bicycle can be a business.

“Peruvians also are masters at modifying their bicycles in creative ways,” writes Peru correspondant, Levi Novey, “so that they can be used to transport goods and tools for their work and businesses. Fruits, vegetables, construction materials, ice cream, meat, bananas, pets, and countless other items can be transported by bicycle, when a cart has been added. Unlike in the United States though, these aren’t your everyday bicycle carts.”

8. Bicycles are efficient vehicles.

Swiss correspondant, Mark Seall, writes, “A bicycle, I once read somewhere, is the most efficient form of human transport ever developed. Coupled with the fact that bicycles are relatively cheap and trouble free, and suffer few of the traffic problems that dog other forms of transport it’s no wonder that cycling has never been more popular.” And don’t forget that there are the latest electric e-bikes bikes which will assist your pedal power, giving you a great way to commute without necessarily breaking too much of a sweat.

But Mark is quick to add that bicyclists should be respectful of pedestrians. Indeed, it’s important for all cyclists to remember that in most places a bicycles follows the same rules of the road as any other vehicle. Check with your local bicycling group or city government to learn more about the rules of bicycling in your area.

9. Bicycling could save you a lot of money

The average car-owner can expect to pay a lot of money during his driving lifetime. These figures will increase with the price of fuel and the rising cost of the vehicles themselves.

A bicycle can serve your transportation needs for commuting, shopping, and getting around town. Urban drivers who are well acquainted with the frustration of paying parking tickets will also find that bicycles are an excellent solution. Of course, you’ll still need that fuel: the occasional sandwich or cup of coffee will do nicely.

10. Bicyclists breathe in less air pollution.

Various studies indicate that bicyclists breathe in less air pollution, making cycling an even more healthy activity. Of course, bicycles emit no air pollution themselves, which ensures cleaner air and better lung health for everybody.

11. Bicycles are zero-emission vehicles.

Bikes get an infinite number of miles to the gallon. Now that’s hard to beat! Bicycling emits no greenhouse, ozone, or any gasses of any sort. Cycling, therefore, is an excellent way for all of us to stand up to Global Warming, ozone thinning, acid rain, and other negative effects of air pollution that come in part from cars.

12. And of course, bicycles are fun!

Just take a look at some of these cycling videos filmed on GoPro cameras, that capture some of the excitement and fun of cycling!


And as the last video shows, combining a cycling with camera drones can produce some amazing footage that will truly inspire your creativity!