Cycling – Mountain Bike

Mountain Bike is one of the four disciplines of the Olympic sport of Cycling.

Did you know?

In Mountain Bike events, riders may carry their own tool kits, and are only allowed to receive outside assistance in dedicated assistance zones should they have any mechanical problems.
Mountain bikes are also known as ‘fat-tyres’, because of their comparatively wide tyres.
The original term for mountain biking was ‘clunking’, when the practice involved stripping down cruiser bicycles and racing them down fire roads, trails etc.

Key facts  

Venue: Hadleigh Farm, Essex
Dates: Saturday 11 – Sunday 12 August
Gold medals up for grabs: 2 (1 men, 1 women)
Athletes: 80 (50 men, 30 women)

Mountain Bike: a history of the sport

In the 1970s, mountain biking developed as a fringe sport in California. Taking a bike off-road was nothing new but the development of a new bike that relished such terrain was. The bikes had fatter tyres, rapid-shift gears, drum brakes and ground-breaking suspension. They gave thrill-seeking cyclists much more freedom.

The members of the Velo Club Mount Tamalpais in California generally receive the credit for establishing mountain biking as a sport. They invented the Repack Downhill race, held regularly between 1976 and 1979 just across the famous Golden Gate Bridge from San Francisco. The races attracted riders from near and far, and the media soon started taking an interest.

The first national championships in mountain biking were contested in 1983 in the United States. The sport soon took off in Europe and Australia and the first Mountain Bike World Championships recognised by the UCI were organised in 1990.

For more information on the history of the sport visit the IOC website.

Mountain Bike at the Olympic Games

Cross-country Mountain Bike made its Olympic debut at the Atlanta 1996 Games.

How the competition runs

Mountain Bike takes place over rough and hilly countryside, across fallen trees, branches, rocks and streams. Races are over 40-50 kilometres for men and 30-40km for women. The riders start together and must complete a set number of laps of the course. The winner is the first past the finish line.

Jargon buster

  • Bunny-hop: To jump the bike, without dismounting, over an obstacle.
  • Cornering clearance: The amount of lean angle a bicycle can have without digging a pedal; also called pedal clearance or road clearance.
  • Pushclimb: A section of a mountain biking trail with inadequate traction or too-steep a pitch, that forces cyclists to dismount and carry their bikes.
  • Snakebite: The most common type of flat tyre, caused by hitting an obstacle so hard that the innertube is pinched against the rim.

Get involved

Cycling is a great way to keep fit, as well as an environmentally-friendly means of transport.

British Cycling’s club development programme, called Go-Ride, is aimed at encouraging clubs to help young cyclists enjoy their cycling in a safe, off-road environment.

For more information, see British Cycling and Union Cycliste Internationale.

Mountain Biking at the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games

~ by superbowlnyc on February 17, 2011.

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