Mountain biking is an awesome activity to get involved in, especially in Blacksburg. Let’s start with the basics: a bike. When choosing a bike, there are many factors that need to be taken into account. There are two different formats for mountain bikes: hard-tail and full-suspension. The difference is pretty obvious, with hard-tails only possessing a front-shock, while full-suspension bikes have both a front and rear shock. Hard-tail bikes are traditionally the best choice for beginners, as they tend to be cheaper due to having fewer components, and help new riders develop valuable skills such as body positioning and bike control when on the trail. There different subsets of hard-tails designed for different types of riding. Cross-country bikes are built to be light and fast for long rides with a lot of climbing. Dirt jumpers are designed specifically for riding dirt ramps and catching big air. However, full-suspension bikes are certainly more comfortable to ride and allow you to tackle rougher trails due to increased shock absorption. Full-suspension bikes come in a wide variety of styles as well, customized for every type of riding. Downhill bikes are designed specifically for fast, rough descents with huge drops and big air. Freeride bikes are similar to downhill, but slightly lighter for better maneuverability for jumps and technical stunts. All mountain or enduro bikes are the all-around bike for riding technical trails. These are probably the most popular style of bike due to its jack-of-all-trades design. They perform well on the technical climbs of trails and handle the fast, technical descents with ease. Bike shops are typically the best place to get quality bikes that are backed up with warranties and tune-ups. As for trails around Blacksburg, some of the most popular trails are the Indian Pipe and Pandapas Pond trails. There are numerous websites and mobile apps that provide a lot of information on mountain bike trails. A great site to use to look up mountain biking trails in your area is singletracks.com. This website provides you with the length, difficulty, rating, and much more for every trail near your location. Virginia Tech also has a mountain biking club that organizes group rides on trails and parks around the state. Overall, mountain biking is a great activity that allows you to experience the outdoors, get physical exercise, and make new friends. It’s an investment you’ll never regret. See you on the trail!