Mountain Biking in India
How about riding in the Himalayas where you can see the tall oak trees in the deep valleys and snow-capped mountain peaks?
Well it’s not that simple and you can’t just take your bike and ride anywhere. However, it is not very difficult either. Here are the most important things that you should know before you start this sport.
What is Mountain Biking
Mountain biking is the sport of riding bicycles off-road, often over rough terrain, using specially designed mountain bikes. So, it’s not really biking in the mountains, but on any trail which is not really paved or cemented.
What is a Mountain Bike
A mountain bike looks like a regular bike, but is especially designed to combat rougher terrain with inclusion of suspension on the frame and fork, larger knobby tires, more durable heavy duty wheels, more powerful brakes, and lower gear ratios needed for steep grades with poor traction.
Mountain Biking in India
India boasts of having one of the most amazing mountainous terrains in the world. With the advent of organizers like HASTPA and MTB Himalaya, which have been organizing races and events in the Himachal Pradesh since the last 10 years, the sport has now reached a scale where people from all corners of the country now come and participate in week long races. Various groups have formed in bigger cities, like PedalYatri in Gurgaon, Cycling & More in Bangalore which organize frequent trips on various offbeat trails in and around the city. Pedalyatri now has over 1500 members and is growing rapidly with mainstream media also covering the group.
How can you start Mountain Biking yourself
Getting started with Mountain Biking is not very difficult. However, before you buy a mountain bike for yourself, you should know what kind of mountain bike would suit your needs and also, do you even like the sport. You can get in touch with a local cycling group to start with and they might help you rent bike from some local shop. These groups typically know a lot of routes in and around the city and you can go on a few trails with them and learn more about the sport.
Once you are comfortable riding a mountain bike on rough trails, then you can start thinking of a bike for yourself. A decent mountain bike for beginners comes for around Rs.15,000 and if your budget allows, you can go for a higher end bike costing around Rs.25-35K
After practising it for few months, you can also think of travelling longer distances and participating in competitions which are not very difficult.
Safety Precautions and Risks involved
Mountain biking is a high adrenaline sport and it could be risky if not done without safety precautions and proper training. A helmet is a must for any terrain. Also, carrying a bike repair tool kit is highly recommended, especially for longer distances. Accessories such as lights, bells, etc. and proper cycling clothes are also recommended for mountain biking.