Mountain biking is one of the hobbies I enjoy most but lately haven’t been finding time to do. In Florida we don’t really have “mountains” but mountain biking is a general term that encompasses all sorts of off pavement riding.
If you think mountain bikin sounds a little too hardcore or advanced for you I’ll be the first to tell you that it is an activity enjoyed by beginners and enthusiasts alike. My son is 6 and I find many trails he can ride with me on his 16″ kids bike.
Recently a coworker asked me “what kind of bike should I get?”. Asking that question is kind of like someone whose never had wine asking someone “what kind of wine should I drink?” Truth is there are all kinds of bikes for all kinds of riding styles and uses. The answer is get a bike that you will actually ride. One suggestion I will make is that you visit you local bike shop and take advantage of the friendly service and knowledge that is there. They will fit you for a bike (yes quality bikes come in different frame sizes) and let you test ride different bikes to see what fits your body best. Another suggestion I would make is check craigslist for an older bike by a quality bike manufacturer. Hint** Quality bike companies do not sell their bikes in your local Target, K-mart or Wal Mart. I always shake my head when I walk by their bike section and see forks assembled backwards, loose bolts, and sub par components. Many of these bikes will not last after a few rough rides. You will find your self with rims that are no longer straight and brakes that rub constantly. A good quality bike will last years. I have been riding a Specialized Hardrock for almost 10 years. I have ridden this bike hard and crashed more times than I’d care to admit. The only think I’ve had to replace were the inner tubes, treads, and brake cables from wear and tear. Everything else on the bike is original.
For a more in depth look at how to pick out your first mountain bike check out this article from Mtbr.com.