Women Mountain Biking – Looking Beyond The Risks

The old saw about women being the weaker sex has, in recent decade, come up for debate as increasing numbers of women have begun to excel at many of the sports which were once considered the exclusive provinces of men. Women have even begun to compete in extreme sports, including mountain biking.

There is no anatomical reason why women mountain biking cannot manage the strong pedaling required, and enough of them have now taken up the sport that they are no longer a rarity on the mountain biking trails. But mountain biking, like any sport, can cause long-term health consequences in its participants.

There us a question of whether or not women mountain biking are endangering their reproductive systems. Research has indicated that male mountain bikers significantly increase their risk of scrotal damage overtime; there is good reason to think the women might also be at reproductive risk.

The Risks Of Women Mountain Biking

The studies done on men show that they may experience the growth of either benign or malignant scrotal masses as a result of mountain biking, and those results may imply that women mountain biking can develop assorted reproductive illness. One proven effect of women mountain biking is, in a few instances, hymenal rupture.

Even though there many be negative consequences for their reproductive systems, enormous and increasing number of women mountain biking today is a sign that most women think the benefits of mountain biking outweigh its risks. The strength-building, cardiovascular benefits, heightened reflexes, improved coordination, and tremendous self-confidence which women who mountain bike experience are certainly desirable effects.

And the large number of women mountain biking [http://www.mountainbikingreviews.com/Freeride_Mountain_Biking/] has had another effect; there are now several women’s groups organized to educate women about the health and safety issues surrounding women’s mountain biking.

One of the organizations in the forefront of promoting healthy women mountain biking is the WOMBATS, or as they are officially named, the Women’s Mountain Biking and Tea Society. The members of WOMBATS all have one thing in common–their love for the adventure of mountain biking. The group accepts women regardless of their age, ethnicity, or culture; the only requirement for admission is that an applicant be an avid mountain biker.

The myth that women are a weak sex is dead, and the reality that women mountain biking is taking the mountain biking world by storm is becoming clearer each day. If you don’t believe it, head for the nearest mountain biking trail, watch the women of all ages and physical stature taking the terrain in their biking stride, and then tell yourself they are the weaker sex.

Buying Your First Mountain Bike

It can be a bit intimidating as well as time consuming when you buy your first mountain bike. Following, you’ll find some tips and things to be aware of before you start your search for your first mountain bike.

Determining your price is really a personal thing. There is hardly a limit as to how much money you can spend on a new mountain bike. More is not necessarily better, you should decide on your price range and how much you can afford to pay for a new bike. When you do buy, you shouldn’t buy from a department store such as Wal-Mart. The bikes sold at department stores are not really bikes designed for the rigors of mountain biking. Also they are not put together by trained bike mechanics. You should instead support your local bike shop and get a much better bike and much better service.

There are different styles of mountain bikes. There are mountain bikes designed with many different riding styles and terrain types in mind. You’ll want to figure out what type of riding you will be doing the most. Recreational cross country, cross country racing, all mountain riding, or lift accessed downhill riding or racing. Make sure that the bike you select fits the style of riding you plan on doing.

Deciding on a full suspension or hard tail is also an important decision.

If you can afford it, a full suspension mountain bike is always worth the extra money. A hard tail, bike without rear suspension, is lighter weight and pedals more efficiently than full suspension bikes. Full suspension bikes offer more comfort and overall better control on rough terrain. You’ll want to make that decision based on your price range, riding style, and the type of terrain you’ll be riding on the most.

Comparing mountain bikes component by component would be an impossible task, there are just far too many combinations. The best way to go about doing this is deciding on the components that are the most important to you and making sure the rest fall within your price range. You should start with the fork, which is the most important component after the frame. Then look at the wheelsets and brakes.

The best time to buy a mountain bike may vary a little depending on where you live. During the year, the prices of mountain bikes can change quite a bit. Spring through summer is the primary buying season. If you can wait until the end of the season, fall and winter, you can save a couple hundred dollars. Many bike shops will also offer discounts on other accessories if you buy a new mountain bike from them.

Finding a good bike shop to buy from is more important than finding the best price. You should always find a shop that cares more about selling you the best bike for you than selling you a high priced one. A great bike shop will have a clean repair area and a knowledgeable staff.

Never buy a mountain bike without taking a test ride, preferably on some trails and not just around the parking lot. You should test ride as many bikes as possible. Which bike fits you and feels ‘right’ will be different for everybody. The more bikes you can test ride, the better you’ll understand what works and what doesn’t work for you.

Mountain bike reviews are available on many biking websites on the internet or in mountain bike magazines. And are some of the best ways to find out about a mountain bikes reliability and overall performance. You also should talk to other mountain bikers and get their opinions about a bike before you
make your final purchase.

Mountain Bike Clipless Tips

Why ride clipless Mountain pedals? Clipless pedals I believe are one of the greatest additions to Mountain Biking. Many experts claim about a 5% increase in power transmitted to the bike. I would agree with that. The main advantage for me is I feel way more in control of the bike. I am connected to the bicycle at the hands and the feet until I decide to separate. Unexpected bumps, intentional jumps, washboard trail, and many other situations, my feet do not come off the pedals until I make the decision to Bail. Then my feet are instantly disconnected. Starting up a steep hill it is much easier to get into one pedal and then the other while you are pedaling than it is to get into the second toe clip if you are riding with toe clips.

How do I get into the Clipless Mountain Pedals? Most pedals you use a slightly toe down forward push on the pedal and then you put your weight on that foot and you will get a Click. You are in. Most people start by putting the same foot either right or left in the pedal first all the time. Then they start riding and slip the second one in.

How Do I get Out of Clipless Pedals? To release from clipless pedals you pivot your heels away from the bike. To learn this motion you can lean against a wall and click in, click out, click in, click out ,click in, click out. This can take a little bit of time to get used to. I recommend if you have a bike trainer to use trainer and work out with them for a while. Then before you go out in traffic practice in a park or somewhere with a soft landing place so if you fall you do not end up with road rash. If you do not have a trainer you can just put your bike in the living room and practice clicking in and out while watching TV. Most people get it down in a couple of days. Warning: If you have ridden toe clips for a long time and get used to clipless but try to go back to toe clips you will have to learn how to get out of toe clips all over again. And then relearn clipless.

What happens if I cannot get out? When you stop your bike You will fall. This can be very dangerous on steep trails and city streets.

Learn to use Mountain Bike Clipless Pedals Carefully I have been with several riders when they were learning to ride clipless. Most people learn quickly. I do not recommend going on an epic ride right after installing your new pedals. I have seen some painfully slow falls from riders not knowing how to get out.

Practice, Practice. My recommendation is to put your bike in front of the TV and practice getting in and out, over and over for an evening. If you have a trainer put your bike on it and get a workout while you are learning. Then stick to the easy trail—NO STEEP SIDE HILLS OR DOWN HILLS.

How Tight do I want my Clipless Pedals? Many pedals are adjustable as to the spring tension holding the cleat in the pedal. I believe for learning you should loosen the spring to the easiest setting. Only when you start to come out of the pedal accidentally should you tighten the springs. All of my pedals are set on the softest setting and I have been riding clipless since about 1991.

Who makes Clipless Pedals? There are Several manufacturers of Clipless Mountain pedals. Shimano was the first to build and promote them heavily. Many of the Mountain bike cleats are Shimano pedal compatible. The cleats will work in Shimano pedals. I always try to uses the cleats that came with the pedal I am using. Crank Brothers is another major manufacturer of pedals. The Crank Brothers cleats will only work on Crank Brothers Pedals.

Will I come out of my pedals when I crash? Usually if you have spent a bit of time getting used to Clipless you will react naturally and click out in a crash without even thinking about it.

Types of Mountain Bike Clipless Pedals. There are basically 3 types of clipless Mountain pedals.

Double sided pedals which will grip the cleat on either side.

Half and Half pedals with clipless on one side and what looks like a regular pedal on the other side.

Platform clipless pedals which grip the cleat in the middle of a large pedal.

I believe if you are going to ride clipless you need to at least learn to ride with double sided pedals. The half and half are OK for around town but if you do not get used to getting out of your clipless under stress you are headed for more falls.

Are Mountain Bike Clipless the same as Road Clipless Pedals? No Road pedals are normally one sided, the other side is minimized to increase the lean angle of the bike. This allows you to pedal as far as possible into the corner before your pedal hit’s the road.

Most Road cleats have a different screw mounting system. They do not mount to the same screws as the mountain cleats.

Mountain Bike Shoes have the cleat recessed into the sole so you can walk without walking on the cleat. Road shoes are much less comfortable to walk in and you walk on the cleat.

Unless you are a very serious Road Racer, Mountain bike shoes and pedals will work better than Road bike pedals and shoes. Many riders use one pair of shoes and get matching pedals for their road bike and mountain bike.

Types of Mountain Bike Clipless Shoes. There are two general types of mountain bike Clipless shoes. I classify them as Comfort shoes and Race Shoes.

Comfort shoes are usually designed to look like lightweight hiking shoes or cross training shoes and will have laces to hold your feet.

Race shoes will usually use 2, 3, or4 Velcro closures to hold your feet. All Clipless shoes will have stiff soles which make it uncomfortable to walk or stand all day but are good at converting your leg energy into pedal revolutions.

The Comfort shoes usually have a little bit more flexible sole than the race shoes. Many people want to use their shoes as both biking and hiking shoes. This does not work well. If the shoe performs even reasonably well on the bike, the sole will be way too stiff to work well hiking.

I normally recommend that Most Cyclists should buy Mountain Bike Race shoes. The recreational walking type of bike shoes still aren’t good for walking in. The race shoes tend to be more durable and they give you more support while riding.

Road Shoes VS Mountain Bike Shoes Many companies make the same shoe for both Mountain and Road but they use a built up sole on their Mountain shoe.

Where do I mount the Cleats? Most Mountain shoes have 4 holes in the plate on the bottom of the shoe but most cleats only have 2 screws. This allows you to mount your cleats further forward or further back on the shoe. The plate will usually slide front to back and pivot to allow you to adjust your heel so it feels natural during the pedal stroke. Look at the position of your feet as you pedal on your old pedals and try to replicate that.

Do the cleats come with the Pedals or the Shoes? The Cleats come with the pedals and are pedal specific. Many cleats will work with the Shimano SPD pedals but I like to use the cleats that match the pedals that came with the pedals from the same manufacturer.