Mountain bikingMountain biking
(Mountain bicycling) is a form of cycling
which uses very sturdy bicycles with (usually) straight handlebars and wide tires. Mountain biking takes place off-road. It encompasses both competetive racing and purely recreational cycling. The remainder of this article focusses principally on the sporting (i.e. racing) side of this activity.
This sport originated in the United States, where young men left common roads or defined cyclocross circles and tried to travel on wild off-road ways especially through real nature. Although the first thing to say about mountain bike racing is that it need not take place on a mountain (a range of terrain, from remote alps to city parks) for common biking mountain countries and special bikes are preferred.
The start of this sport is situated near to the end of 1970s when the first special bikes were constructed. The first mountain bike (MTB) was produced probably by Gary Fisher in 1979. His motto was (and is): "All work and no game is no good".
Significant departure of mountain biking from established traditions in cycle racing is its focus on equipment, material and design. A marketplace fascination with technology played an integral role in the rapid growth of the mountain bike industry, and the race circuit always provides an ideal testing ground for new products. Therefore there are a large number of bike producers e.g. Gary Fisher, Trek, Cannondale, Scott, Giant, Schwinn and Specialized.
The International Cycling Union (UCI) recognised this sport relatively late in 1990, when it sanctioned the world championships in Purgatory, Colorado. The first mountain biking world cup series took place in 1991. Its nine-race circuit covered two continents - Europe and North America - and was sponsored by Grundig. In 1992, the Grundig-UCI world cup circuit expanded to ten races, and remained a trans-Atlantic series. Cross-country racing was the only world cup sport at this time, then in 1993 a six-event downhill world cup was introduced. In 1996, cross country mountain biking events were added to the Olympic Games
In 1988 the Mountain Bike Hall of Fame was founded, to chronicle the history of mountain biking, and to recognize the individuals and groups that have contributed significantly to this sport.
There are several basic kinds of race:
- Cross-country - (XC) cross-country racing is held on a circuit, normally 6-8 km around. It is a massed-start race and riders are not permitted any external mechanical assistance. This means they have to carry their own means of making any repairs that may be necessary. The result of this rule has been to increase the durability of products available on the open market, as well as to the sports elite.
- Downhill - (DH) downhill racing is a time trial event. Riders start at intervals that can vary from 30 seconds to three minutes-depending on the stage of the competition - and the rider with the lowest time wins.
- Dual Slalom - (DS) this ski-inspired event pits two riders against each other on the same course, and the first across the line wins. The contest has a knock-out format. It can be set-up as two identical tracks side-by-side with the same jumps and berms, with a rider on each track.
- Four Cross - (4X) inspired by the dual-slalom format and by BMX racing, this event pits 4 riders on the same course from starting gates to finish. There can only be one winner per event, so the races can quickly eliminate riders making the progression faster for a day's events. This is the reason it was chosen as the race-format to replace Dual-Slalom by NORBA, the US National race authority.
External links and references
- The Socorro Country Fat Tire Trail Book, The Socorro Fat Tire Committee in association with the Socorro County Chamber of Commerce, Socorro County Chamber of Commerce, Socorros, New Mexico, 1993, stapled paperback pamphlet, ISBN 0-88307-712-4, See Socorro County, New Mexico