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The History Of Mountain Biking

by John Pawlett [January 29, 2007]

There is a lot of history and information out there in regards to the history and origins of mountain biking, with some being recognized and some that depends on who has the best firm of public relations.

Some say that mountain biking began with the Buffalo Soldiers, which was a turn of the century infantry who customized bikes to carry gear over the rough and tough terrain. They began in August of 1896, over the course of 800 miles. Their mission was simple - to test bikes for military use in the toughest of terrain.
Others say it was the Velo Cross Club of France that started mountain biking. The club was comprised of 20 young bikers from Paris, who between 1951 and 1956 developed a sport that resembles present day mountain biking.

It could have also been John Finley Scott, who was the first mountain biker in the U.S. In 1953 he constructed what he called a 'Woodsie Bike', using a diamond frame, balloon tires, flat handle bars, and cantilever brakes. He was more than 20 years ahead of his time. Even though he remained an off road enthusiast, there were many at that time who didn't share that same passion.

Today, we believe that the history of the mountain bike is most apparent in Northern California. There are a few areas that claim to be the first community for mountain biking, although each and every history book will tell you Marin County.

The sport of mountain biking has taken many twists and turns over the last several hundred years. Even though there are many that say different things about the history and the beginning, we know one thing for sure - one thing has led to another and the sport of mountain biking was born.

Types Of Mountain Biking

As a sport or a hobby, mountain biking can be split into 9 different categories. These categories are very versed in what they offer.
They are:

1.BMX BMX is a style where the bikes offer 20 inch wheels. These bikes are commonly used at skate parks or with dirt jumps. Because of their smaller wheels and shorter wheel bases, BMX bikes are much easier to perform tricks and stunts with.

2.Cross country This type of mountain biking involves riding your bike up and down hills. Although it's the least extreme form of mountain biking, most cross country riders are very fit and go on long rides.

3.Cyclo cross This is a cross between road and mountain biking. These riders have to go over obstacles, cross through rivers, and race on and off the course.

4.Dirt jumping Dirt jumping involves jumping the bike over large man made dirt jumps then doing tricks while they are in the air. These jumps are normally close together so riders can go over six or more jumps in one run, gaining a flow to give them more speed for bigger jumps.

5.Downhill Downhill mountain biking involves racing downhill as fast as possible. This type of riding is very intense and extreme, offering riders the chance for ultimate thrills and excitement.

6.Freeride Free riding involves finding the perfect line down the mountain using all of the terrain to express yourself. These competitions are very popular, as riders can express themselves any way they see fit.

7.Single speed No to be confused with fixed gears, this is a form of cross country biking that's done using a bike with only one gear and fewer components. The idea with single speed is simplicity. The straight chain line will provide efficient pedaling, and the lack of components mean less mechanical problems and a lighter bike.

8.Street and urban This type of riding involves riding in urban areas, ledges, and other types of man made obstacles. Riders of street and urban biking will do tricks as well, such as stalls and grinds.

9.Trails Trials are considered an aspect of mountain biking, although the bikes used look nothing like mountain bikes. They use 20 or 26 inch wheels and sport small, low frames. Trail riders will hop and jump their bikes over obstacles, which requires an extreme amount of balance and concentration.

About the Author
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