A Bit About Mountain Biking
Most importantly, anyone can have a go. Don't let all the flash kit and equipment you see in the shop and magazines put you off. As long as you have a mountain bike and a sense of adventure you can give it a go.
Beginners KitMountain Bike
Doesn't have to be expensive. Knobbly tyres will help although semi slicks will get you about in less muddy conditions
You must wear a helmet if you want to race or ride as a member of SUMBC.
A pair of cycling gloves, even cheap ones will protect your hands and keep them warm in the winter.
Always take plenty of water with you and make sure you drink it.
Basic repair kit
Puncture repair kit or spare tube, and tyre levers, pump, a few Allen keys.
It is always good to wear a few layers especially in the winter. Take a small waterproof if it looks like rain.
Just enough for emergencies
Good idea for at least someone in the group to carry one
Let someone know where you are going / when you expect to be back.
Is My Bike Good Enough?
You can get started on almost any 'mountain bike' these days. Basically the more you spend on a bike the lighter it will get and the longer the expected life of the components. Almost any bike with some off road tyres will cope with some off road riding. BUT, don't expect your basic £200 beginners bike to be able to cope with the more extreme drops and jumps that some more expensive bikes are designed to take.
You will normally be able to get round on any bike, it may mean getting off occasionally to walk around that huge drop or slowing right down for that teeth rattling bumpy section but you will still finish any ride with a big grin on your face. However good the bike, mountain biking is still a large percentage rider skill and fitness
Getting a New Bike
You first need to think of what sort of riding you want to do whether it is cross country trail riding, all day rides, downhill racing or a bit of jumping. You will never find a bike that is the best at everything and will have to compromise on some things.
The best advice we can offer is to come along to a club ride where you will see a variety of bikes and be able to get the opinions of people who ride them and aren't trying to sell you them. Most members will happily let you have a ride and see what you think. Try as many bikes as you can before spending your hard earned student loan.