“Mountain biking is the sport of riding bicycles off-road, often over rough terrain, using specially designed mountain bikes. Mountain bikes share similarities with other bikes, but incorporate features designed to enhance durability and performance in rough terrain.”
or in other words
How to Start
The best and cheapest way to start riding is probably to borrow a bike and protection from a friend. They probably can give you some tips and show you the basics. Some dealers offer to rent bikes as well.
Another great place to get started is a bike festival or trade-show. Your local dealer should know where and when an event is happening. If you are lucky enough to live near a bike-resort, you most likely can borrow a bike there.
Once you have access to proper gear, booking a beginners lesson at a mountainbike school is always a great idea. However, it is possible to learn it on your own as well. Start slowly, it’s getting fun soon enough. If you are afraid of doing something, don’t do it. Fear is your friend and keeps you safe. Start with small things and slowly work your way up. Getting better is a mixture of training and confidence.
Risk & Safety
Obviously, you should wear a helmet and protection. A lot of times it’s more fun if you are wearing more and good protection, as you feel safer.
It is quite likely that you crash hard and break some bones, get a concussion etc. There are always people who crash more and people who crash less. We know a lot of very good riders who never broke a bone and on the other side people who crash the first riding day. Overall, crashing can be good. Knowing that you can crash without hurting, which happens most of the time, gives you confidence and makes you understand your limits.
There are a lot of ways to get in touch with other mountainbikers. Depending on what’s your preferred way to meet people, you can register in online forums, you can come by at local spots, go on organized trips or just ask your local dealer. They usually know the local scene quite well.
Mountainbikes are expansive, mountain-biking, if you have a bike, isn’t. If you are at the stage of considering to buy a bike, you have to prepare yourself to spend around $3000 or more for the bike plus a couple of hundred dollars for protection gear. Once you have a bike, the running costs are fairly low, if you treat it well. A good bike, used heavily, can be ridden for a few years. A lot of innovation is happening in the industry, mountainbike-technology makes huge steps within 2-4 years. It is completely fine if you don’t have the newest stuff although it seems everyone else does.