Get Involved in Mountain Biking

Join the UK's clan of mountain bikers...

Last Updated: 04/07/12 2:40pm

Mountain biking is on a roll. Over the past few years it has gained an unstoppable momentum across the UK.

"I just like going fast, doing the big jumps and having fun. It's pure adrenaline."

Danny Hart

Quotes of the week

The sport, which encompasses cross-country, downhill, 4X and endurance disciplines, is on the rise with more events and more participants.

In the first month of 2012 there have been more than 220 events - just 70 fewer than in the whole of 2009 - and now a third of all cycling clubs in the UK cater for mountain biking.

It is set for another massive boost this summer with cross-country featuring in the Olympics but British champion Annie Last told Sky Sports News that the sport is perfect for people of all abilities.

"It's quite an easy sport to get into," she said. "You can do it to any level you want. You can do it as a group and have fun and go on a nice easy flat ride. But then you can develop it, take it more seriously and do the hard stuff."

Cross-country tests your endurance but if you are a speed demon then the downhill discipline, which can last a matter of minutes, may be for you.

Technique

The event will not grace the London Games but Britain does house current World Champion, Danny Hart, who won the title in Champery, Switzerland last year after finishing 11 seconds clear of his nearest rival.

"You don't just wake up overnight able to do it," said the 20-year-old. "You've got to work really hard on your fitness and your technique on the bike and your bike set-up; there is a whole load of things.

"I started racing downhill when I was 11 or 12 and have been on two wheels my whole life. I just like going fast, doing the big jumps and having fun. It's pure adrenaline."

The best way to get involved in any mountain-biking event, and to explore a plethora of UK venues, is to join your local club.

Proper equipment costs around £300 but North East cycling's regional development manager, Dan Small, says that fee guarantees both safety and comfort.

"The most important thing is the helmet, we never ride without one," he said. "The shoes are important; they have cleats in the bottom and clip into the pedals to give you a better power transfer.

"The mountain bike itself is very light these days. There is suspension and thick knobbly tires to make it easier for you over rough terrain. There is a wide choice of gears, too, so if you are ascending steeply you can pick the right gear for the job."

For more information, visit the British Cycling website