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Find mountain bike parks and courses, and mountain biker-friendly national parks.
For hills and thrills, you'll need to head to a local, state or national park. Most parks have specific trails and terrain for mountain bikers. Stay on the specified trails and watch out for hikers or horseback riders.
In addition to outdoor locations, many cities offer indoor mountain bike courses for the more advanced riders and dare-devil types. For another indoor mountain biking location, look for cycling studios to warm up and train.
Whether you are a beginner mountain biker or an experienced competitor, you need a bike that fits. Get expert advice at a bike shop or specialty store to find the perfect model. You can also pick up helmets, gloves and clothes
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As the snow melts away and spring dries up the mud, mountain biking parks come to life. Mountain biking parks offer more than just your average trip down a hill. Many parks use the lifts and lodges of ski season to cater to mountain biking enthusiasts. Keep track of the conditions at your nearby park to see what days will be best for trail biking. Most parks offer free ride trails and single tracks. Terrain will vary from park to park, but you should be able to find boulder and root strewn trails, rock faces and drop offs, and man-made bridges, fences and dirt paths. Be sure you are traveling on designated mountain bike trails. Often, mountain bike parks are built alongside hiking trails and should have clearly marked territory.
If you are an adrenaline junkie looking for some fresh thrills, check out a mountain biking camp. Many mountain bike parks offer camps. There are also independent instruction camps that travel from different parks and mountains in one session. A mountain biking camp will teach you stunt skills, lead you on instructional rides, and instruct you on bike fitting and maintenance. Most camps will also offer complimentary lift tickets and provide you with gear for protection against injury.
Before you decide on buying a mountain bike, ask yourself what type of riding you plan on doing, what the terrain will be like and what other riding you might use the bike for. There are two different types of mountain bikes. The first is the full-suspension model which has front and rear suspension, and tends to be slightly heavier than the second type, hardtail bikes. Hardtail bikes only have front suspension. Some suggest that hardtail bikes pedal more efficiently and require less maintenance. If you can't decide which one you need, ask a professional at your nearby bike shop or mountain bike park.
More and more national parks are allowing mountain bikers to ride trails and create their own courses. When riding in a national park, mountain bikers must obey the rules of the trail in order to preserve the natural environment and to respect hikers who share the area. Remember to always ride on open trails and try to avoid wet and muddy trails that are more sensitive to damage. Never try to create new trails. Yield to others by giving fair warning of your approach and slowing to a walking pace. Beware of scaring animals, like horses, who share the trail also. Remember to come prepared and carry all your equipment with you, including a safety kit and bike repair kit.
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