Biking for health and fitness is a common activity and even transcends into mountain biking. Being able to take steep climbs and handle sharp turns takes tremendous amounts of muscle power and stamina. In general, one needs to be in much better shape to mountain bike than regular cycling. The best riders are in incredible shape, although mild trails can be ridden by almost anyone who can ride a bike. If you are not properly prepared to ride your bike on a mountain you will quickly confront the effects of sore muscles, blisters, nausea, dizziness, or altitude sickness. Some may ride down a hill and then not be able to climb. Others will lack the muscle to control the bike and quickly discover that they shouldn’t be there.
Prepare for mountain biking just as you would skiing or hiking: eat regularly, eat foods high in carbohydrates, and drinking lots of water is important to maintain the high amount of energy needed to mountain bike. Resting between runs and pacing yourself with a guide are especially important.
When biking in a strange country eating strange foods and the chance to drink unfiltered water is quite common, as are certain ailments. Medicines to counter these travel illnesses are recommended such as antibiotics and diarrhea medicine. If cycling in tropical areas protection/vaccinations for malaria or yellow fever may be necessary. If biking in high altitudes some medicine may be available. Always consult with your doctor before entering a strange country.
Ideal mountain biking climates tend to be not too hot nor too cold, but generally somewhere in the middle. Rarely are climates ideal though. Many of the best mountain biking routes are at high altitudes, although in the dry season or summer, when snow and rain are less common. In tropical climates, where avoiding rain completely is unusual, the weather can grow to hot and you are unable to keep your body hydrated. Drink plenty of water and always have extra water at hand. Water filters and iodine tablets are good to have around if you are on a multi-day trip through the wilderness.
Mountain biking can be an incredibly dangerous sport. Take a steep decline or a bumpy trail the wrong way and you are sent flying over your handlebars and possibly into trees or rocks. You never know what you may encounter when mountain biking: snakes, children, trash, thatched huts, and a thousand other bizarre things. Even experts and guides crash and have accidents. In fact, the advanced rider who takes more risks likely has more broken bones than the beginner. Safety equipment is not just a fashion statement, it is a necessity when mountain biking. Having good insurance is important when doing any adventure sport. Many have notations not covering accidents during extreme sports such as mountain biking, so be sure to check beforehand with your insurance agent to see whether you are covered.