As a sport or a hobby, mountain biking can be split into as many as nine or ten different categories.  These categories are very varied in what each can offer. 

They are:

1.  BMX
BMX is a style where the bikes use 20 inch wheels. These bikes are commonly used at skate parks, or with dirt jumps.  Because of their smaller wheels and shorter wheel bases, BMX bikes are much easier to perform tricks and stunts with.

2.  Cross Country
This type of mountain biking involves riding your bike up and down hills, on a country trail or course.  Although it's the least extreme form of mountain biking, most cross country riders are very fit and mostly go on fairly long rides. There are clubs and associations, where dozens, sometimes even hundreds of bikers all arrive and participate at a pre-arranged venue.

3.  Cycle Cross
This is a cross between road and mountain biking. These riders are required to neotiate certain obstacles, cross through rivers, and race both on and off a standard road route.

4.  Dirt Jumping
Dirt jumping involves jumping the bike over large man made dirt jumps, then doing tricks while they are still up in the air.  These jumps are normally close together, so that riders can go over six or more jumps in one run, gaining a flow to give them more speed for the bigger jumps.

5.  Downhill
Downhill mountain biking involves racing downhill, as fast as possible.  This type of riding is very intense and extreme, offering riders the chance for ultimate thrills and excitement.

6.  Free Ride
Free riding involves finding the perfect line down the mountain, using all of the terrain to express yourself.  These competitions are very popular, as riders can express themselves any way they see fit. This can be compared to freetyle slope skiing.

7.  Single Speed
Not to be confused with fixed gears, this is a form of cross country biking, that's performed using a bike with only one gear and fewer than normal components.  The idea with single speed is simplicity.  The straight chain line provides efficient pedalling and the lack of components mean less mechanical problems and a lighter bike.

8.  Street and urban
This type of riding involves riding in urban areas, ledges, and other types of man made obstacles. Riders of street and urban biking will do tricks as well, such as stalls and grinds. This is the equivalent of skateboarders doing tricks in town areas.

9.  Trails
Trails are considered an aspect of mountain biking, although the bikes used look nothing like mountain bikes.  They use 20 or 26 inch wheels and sport small, low frames.  Trail riders will hop and jump their bikes over obstacles, which requires an incredible sense of balance and concentration.

Then of course, there are many other bikers who only ride around the neighbourhood for a bit of exercise. Very often the whole family will go together on a ride, each member of the family having a different size bike.

The best part about cycling, is that it is not only fun, but it is very good exercise. Every muscle will be made to work, the heart rate and pulse will be raised and the fat will be burned up.

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Clinton Robson is a South African fitness fanatic and is a qualified Personal Trainer. He has completed a contract to run the gyms on cruise ships. He has done a special higher level course and qualified as an Exercise Specialist, or Conditioning Coach. He works in 2 local gyms, assisting the staff with clients and training plans. He has been working out regularly, since 1996. He writes articles on many fitness topics, such as training, bodybuilding, working out, losing fat, toning the muscles, nutrition, supplements and more. Visit his blog at Fitness And Fatness, by clicking here, or by copying this link: