To start mountain biking you will need

  • A bike - this needs to be sturdy, have brakes, wheels, a saddle and pedals. It does not need to be shiny, new, lightweight, have front or rear suspension or have a distance computer. these things help but they can come later. If you want to try the sport, borrow a bike, buy a cheap second hand bike or hire one. Your elbows and yours knees are all the suspension you require. as you get better, faster, more confident, not only in your abilities, but in the knowledge that were you to spend £500+ on a bike you will get your moneys worth.... THEN buy a fancy bike, but dont let a bike, as an expensive purchase be a regret. Spending lots of money will not increase your enjoyment, your status amongst other mountain bikers or your sex appeal.
  • Gloves - on the rare occasions you will fall off - this is not likely on nice wide land rover tracks at a nice speed, but ..were you to fall off - there is nothing worse than having to pick all the bits of grit out of your palms before you can cycle back to the car
  • Helmet - arguably the one piece of you anatomy that you cannot live without and that is susceptible to falls/hitting a tree is your head, and encased within it your brain.
  • Padded shorts - the second most important part of your anatomy....
  • Tools - Puncture repair kit, multi - tool with an array of allan keys and a chain repair kit. There isn't much that will go wrong with a bike, but you will get a puncture at some point and you probably will break a chain as well at some point. Practice with the chain tool if you have never tried one. One bit of advice, never let the pin fall out of the second hole completely. You can cover on a nice flat Landover track 10 miles an hour on a bike - try jogging this distance and pushing a bike. Be prepared. Even the best bikers have technical problems with their bike. The difference is you don't see them walking back to the car because they forgot their puncture repair kit

Well this is something that is likely to get a varied response depending on who you ask. Pedals can be of three types Cage pedals

These are generally the cheapest pedals, and for the majority of riders these do fine. You can also you toe clips with these (do not ever use toe straps) Flat Pedals

They are as you might suggest flat, although most have little pins in to stop your feet sliding. Arguably they are the safest in that they have the biggest area to land on, and also if you fall there is nothing to hold your feet in place