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Mountain biking began in the mid 1970′s when the sport of cycling was rapidly developing. During this time a few biking ‘freaks’ in the state of California didn’t just turn a hobby and a number of innovative improvements into a profession with their new ‘fat tyre’ bike. Instead they set in motion a worldwide boom.
Mountain biking is a sport with multiple categories: cross country Olympic (XC0), cross country marathon (XCM) trail riding, all mountain, downhill, freeride, dirt jumping and trials. The majority of mountain biking falls into the recreational XC and Trail Riding categories.
Mountain biking requires endurance, core strength, balance, bike handling skills. XC mountain biking requires a different set of skills and a higher levels of fitness than other types of mountain biking. Advanced riders have to negotiate steep technical descents and, in the case of freeriding, downhilling, and dirt jumping, maneuvers off of especially constructed jumps and ramps.
“Mountain biking can be performed almost anywhere”
Mountain biking can be performed almost anywhere but the majority of mountain bikers ride off-road trails, whether country back roads or singletrack. Because riders are often far from civilization, there is a strong ethic of self-reliance in the sport. Riders learn to repair their broken bikes or flat tyres to avoid being stranded miles from help. Many riders will carry a saddle pack, containing all the essential tools and equipment for repairs.
Club rides and other forms of group rides are common. In the winter time night rides are very popular in the UK with riders equipped with powerful lights.
Most modern mountain bikes have front fork or dual suspension, 26 inch and also 29 or 27.5(650b) inch diameter tyres, usually from 1.7 to 2.5 inches in width, and a wider, flat or upwardly-rising handlebar that allows a more upright riding position, giving the rider more control. They have a smaller, reinforced frame. Tyres usually have a lugged tread. Compared to other bikes, mountain bikes also tend to more frequently use disc brakes. They also tend to have lower ratio gears to facilitate climbing steep hills and traversing obstacles.
Generally speaking, enhanced durability and off-road capabilities also result in a heavier bicycle weight to rider ratio than road bicycles but modern technology is now so far advance that full suspension bikes are now available at under 20ibs in weight.