Tips for First Time Mountain Biking

Want to do something that’s outdoors, adventurous, fun and a good way to keep fit while staying close to home? Mountain biking fits the bill perfectly. There are great beginner trails in Fish Creek Park, Nosehill and Winsport with more advanced trails in Bragg Creek, Kananaskis and Banff. 

Here are some quick tips and techniques to get you riding away.

The Bike

For your first time mountain biking you may want to rent a bike instead of buying. In Calgary you can rent mountain bikes from Nomad Gear Rentals, University of Calgary Outdoor Centre or SportsRent, there’s also many places you can rent a mountain bike in Banff and Canmore. Ensure you are comfortable when sitting and that the pedals are the right height for your legs. Check the tire pressure, wheels and brakes. If you feel that there is an issue with any part of the bike no matter how small it may be, get it looked at as soon as possible.


Buy or rent a helmet that fits your head well; a snugly fitting helmet will offer you good protection in case of an accident. Helmets that are wobbling from side to side are too big and can fall off on or twist on impact.

Other items that are helpful are Riding gloves with padding, protective googles, knee pads and a reflective top. 

Be prepared to bring along a spare inner tube, pump and tire levers and a multi tool with several wrenches for any quick repairs that you may need.

Before you Ride 

Figure out where you are going to ride your bike and get a map of the area and study it. Make sure you bring more than enough water for how long the ride should take as well as your phone, map and snacks if needed. It is always great to go with a friend or two as well.


Riding Techniques

Riding on the flat surface

If you are on a flat surface you can either sit or stand while riding. Keep your pedals steady and look straight ahead so that you are ready for any surprises. Whether it’s a large stump or little rocks ahead, you’ll be ready. 

Riding up the hill

Lower the gear and remain seating. You want to try to move to the front of your seat and lean more into your handle bars while trying to power as much as you can through your legs.

Riding down the hill

Body positioning is quite important if you are going down a hill. If you lean forward a lot, you might find yourself falling over the handles. Make the brakes your friends, they will help you in taking corners and prepare you for obstacles that may pop up unexpectedly. 

Riding a mountain bike is definitely a wonderful and exhilarating thing that everyone should try out. Remember the most important thing of all is to enjoy and have fun while doing it.

For more Mountain bike tips check out David Bender’s blog at

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