What do you buy a mountain biker? We’ll never turn down the latest wheelset, but we’d be almost as happy with a great book about our passion. The best mountain biking books can turn even the most obsessed rider into an avid reader.
Mountain biking books run a gamut from practical to aspirational. Some portray death-defying adventures; others just help riders get more out of their ride. Some books explore the history of mountain bikes and the sport.
From true beginners to veterans of the trail, anyone can enjoy a well-written book about their favorite pursuit. If you’re looking for a book for yourself, you’re at the right place. One of our goals at The Adventure Junkies is to connect you with the best resources for mountain biking. We’ll help you get into your next great read.
1. INSPIRATION AND ADVENTURE
RUSCH TO GLORY: ADVENTURE, RISK & TRIUMPH ON THE PATH LESS TRAVELED
Rebecca Rush’s memoir follows her adventures as a record-winning mountain bike racer. Starting with her first foray into sports as a rock climber and kayaker, up to her transformation at 38 into an enduro racer, it’s a gripping read about one of the greatest living athletes.
ONE MORE HORIZON: THE INSPIRING STORY OF ONE MAN’S SOLO JOURNEY AROUND THE WORLD ON A MOUNTAIN BIKE
Jules Verne imagined a person would go around the world in 80 days, but did he imagine a man would go around the world in six-million pedal strokes? Follow Scott Zamek’s incredible two-year journey that began on a mountain bike in Ohio and ended in illness and poverty in Hong Kong.
EAT, SLEEP, RIDE: HOW I BRAVED BEARS, BADLANDS, AND BIG BREAKFASTS IN MY QUEST TO CYCLE THE TOUR DIVIDE
Paul Howard has ridden the Tour de France route, but he still wasn’t prepared to take his mountain bike down the Continental Divide. He raced the 2,745-mile route from Canada to the Mexican border as part of the annual Tour Divide and documented his adventure in this memoir.
FIFTY PLACES TO BIKE BEFORE YOU DIE: BIKING EXPERTS SHARE THE WORLD’S GREATEST DESTINATIONS
Less guide, more bucket list, this work describes 50 of the most incredible places to ride a bike. Mountain bikers and roadies will each find something to dream about in this gorgeous, photo-laden volume. Pick up a copy and pick your favorites!
TRAIL MAGIC AND THE ART OF SOFT PEDALING
Paul Howard isn’t the only cyclist who has raced the Tour Divide: This book by Scott Thigpen is a first-person account of a normal guy who gave up his cubicle and raced the Tour Divide.
BE BRAVE, BE STRONG: A JOURNEY ACROSS THE GREAT DIVIDE
Jill Homer set a new record in the 2009 Tour Divide. This book describes how she overcame a wall of hardships, including an Iditarod Trail race that left her with severe frostbite, the dissolution of her 8-year relationship, and the fear of leaving a stable job as a newspaper editor, all in the days leading up to her incredible race.
INTO THE NORTH WIND: A THOUSAND-MILE BICYCLE ADVENTURE ACROSS FROZEN ALASKA
As if setting a new record on the Divide wasn’t enough, Jill Homer also set records in Alaska, on a thousand-mile bike ride on the Iditarod Trail. Find out how she did it and learn what gave her the strength she needed for her later race on the Divide in this inspiring book.
DIVIDING THE GREAT
Two friends ride the Great Divide, battling the conditions, each other, and their own limitations. This very funny book shows that they stayed friends and kept their sense of humor even when the ride got rough.
Photo by istockphoto.com/portfolio/blyjak
2. TRAINING AND SKILLS
THE MOUNTAIN BIKER’S TRAINING BIBLE
Starting with a master class in physiology and fitness science, this practical guide helps the reader to train at any level of fitness and competition. Amateurs and racers alike will find this guide essential.
MOUNTAIN BIKE!: A MANUAL OF BEGINNING TO ADVANCED TECHNIQUE
Humourous classic using cartoon illustrations to share a lifetime of mountain biking expertise.
MASTERING MOUN NTAIBIKE SKILLS
World-champion Brian Lopes and riding coach Lee McCormack co-wrote this book, now in its 3rd edition, to mountain biking skills.
THE ART OF MOUNTAIN BIKING – SINGLETRACK SKILLS FOR ALL RIDERS
The author of The Art of Cycling turns his attention to mountain biking, sharing his best singletrack skills. He demystifies the science behind biomechanics and shows how to improve your riding at any level, on any terrain.
MOUNTAIN BIKING SKILLS MANUAL: STEP-BY-STEP GUIDANCE FROM THE EXPERTS
This technical manual is accompanied by stunning landscape photography of mountain biking across beautiful terrain. The step-by-step focus is perfect for beginners but suitable for all riders.
MOUNTAIN BIKE LIKE A CHAMPION
Not only a skills primer, this book by world champion Ned Overend even details the tactical aspects of mountain bike racing. Great for racers, and handy to impress your friends even on the amateur level.
3. REPAIR AND MAINTENANCE
THE BICYCLING GUIDE TO COMPLETE BICYCLE MAINTENANCE & REPAIR: FOR ROAD & MOUNTAIN BIKES
This big, photo-full book includes step-by-step directions on mountain and road bike maintenance and repair. Troubleshooting sections are particularly helpful for those moments where you know something is off but have no idea what’s wrong.
ZINN & THE ART OF MOUNTAIN BIKE MAINTENANCE
This is the best-selling book on mountain bike maintenance, by Lennard Zinn, the world’s leading expert on bike maintenance and repair. He’s also written a book on road bikes; this is his mountain bike-only manual.
4. MOUNTAIN BIKE BEGINNERS
MOUNTAIN BIKING: A BEGINNER’S ESSENTIAL GUIDE TO GETTING STARTED IN THE SPORT OF MOUNTAIN BIKING
How do you get started mountain biking? This is a short book geared at someone who is interested but hasn’t even picked out their bike yet.
BASIC ILLUSTRATED BIKE TOURING AND BIKEPACKING
If you’re a novice bicyclist looking to tour and camp by bike, this is your book. From choosing a bike to choosing camping gear, it’s a detailed look into every facet of bikepacking.
LEARN MOUNTAIN BIKING IN A WEEKEND
This book aims to teach children and adults how to learn mountain biking in just two days.
MOUNTAIN BIKING: THE COMPLETE GUIDE TO MOUNTAIN BIKING FOR BEGINNERS
Another short book, this little guide is also aimed at the absolute beginner.
BEGINNERS GUIDE FOR MOUNTAIN BIKING: GEAR, SKILLS, ESSENTIAL TIPS
More detailed than the last, this is one of the many primers that will help turn an interest into a hobby.
MOUNTAIN BIKING BASICS: YOUR BEGINNERS GUIDE
This more comprehensive beginner’s guide covers bike selection and pre-riding decisions, but also incorporates winter riding, fitness training, and more.
A WOMAN’S GUIDE TO MOUNTAIN BIKING: A BEGINNERS GUIDE WRITTEN BY WOMEN FOR WOMEN
This short book by Barbara Border, who runs cycling camps in Georgia and Tennessee, provides advice specific to women who want to start mountain biking. Women are often overlooked in cycling, and this book has details and details that the other beginner guides lack.
MOUNTAIN BIKING: A BEGINNER’S GUIDE
Dr. Achim Schmidt is an amateur mountain bike racer and a doctor, and he wrote this book to help new athletes get started and avoid injuries and muscle strain.
5. REGIONAL GUIDES
CYCLING THE GREAT DIVIDE: FROM CANADA TO MEXICO ON NORTH AMERICA’S PREMIER LONG-DISTANCE MOUNTAIN BIKE ROUTE
If you read any of the inspiration books on it, you’ll know that the Great Divide race isn’t supported; riders carry their own maps, food, and repair supplies. This book is the essential guide for anyone planning to stop dreaming and start racing this unique event.
ALPS MOUNTAIN BIKING: FROM AOSTA TO ZERMATT: THE BEST SINGLETRACK, ENDURO AND DOWNHILL TRAILS IN THE ALPS
One-part aspiration, one-part practicum, this guide will appeal both as a trip planner and as a daydream companion.
MOUNTAIN BIKE! NORTHERN CALIFORNIA: A GUIDE TO THE CLASSIC TRAILS
Northern California is home to the redwoods, the mountains of Lake Tahoe, and the birth of mountain biking. This guide covers it all.
MOON NORTHERN CALIFORNIA BIKING: MORE THAN 160 OF THE BEST RIDES FOR ROAD AND MOUNTAIN BIKING
This guide covers mountain biking and road biking, for anyone who likes both.
MOUNTAIN BIKING NORTHERN CALIFORNIA’S BEST 100 TRAILS
One-hundred mountain bike trails near the birthplace of mountain biking
MOUNTAIN BIKING LAKE TAHOE: A GUIDE TO LAKE TAHOE AND TRUCKEE’S GREATEST OFF-ROAD BICYCLE RIDES
A slim pocket-sized guide with detailed instructions on mountain biking around this beautiful region
MOUNTAIN BIKING: ASPEN TO GLENWOOD
Colorado is the mecca of mountain biking, and this guide details 73 rides that showcase why.
MOUNTAIN BIKING THE SAN FRANCISCO BAY AREA: A GUIDE TO THE BAY AREA’S GREATEST OFF-ROAD BICYCLE RIDES
San Francisco isn’t just home to Silicon Valley: It’s also an incredible place to mountain bike, as this guide demonstrates.
MOUNTAIN BIKING VIRGINIA: AN ATLAS OF VIRGINIA’S GREATEST OFF-ROAD BICYCLE RIDES
It’s not as famous as Colorado or northern California, but Virginia has an incredible mountain bike scene, and this guide will help you find the best places to experience it.
THE MOUNTAIN BIKER’S GUIDE TO COLORADO
More than 150 rides in Colorado, and all the information you need to plan a trip around the bike.
MOUNTAIN BIKING MOAB POCKET GUIDE: MORE THAN 40 OF THE AREA’S GREATEST OFF-ROAD BICYCLE RIDES
The southwest is paradise for fat tire enthusiasts, and this book will help you get the most out of the national parks of southern Utah, Colorado, and northern Arizona.
MOUNTAIN BIKING COLORADO’S FRONT RANGE: A GUIDE TO THE AREA’S GREATEST OFF-ROAD BICYCLE RIDES
This book describes some unique mountain terrains in the country and highlights 45 rides along the Front Range.
MOUNTAIN BIKE! ORANGE COUNTY: A WIDE-GRIN RIDE GUIDE
California’s Orange County is full of great but daunting trails; this guide helps introduce them to mountain bikers of all levels.
MOUNTAIN BIKING ARIZONA GUIDE: FAT TIRE TALES & TRAILS
More fat tire fun celebrating the best parts of mountain biking.
MOUNTAIN BIKE CRESTED BUTTE, GUNNISON & SALIDA SINGLETRACK
Another great, photo-rich guide detailing the amazing riding in Colorado.
Photo by istockphoto.com/portfolio/amygdala_imagery
6. TRAIL BUILDING
MANAGING MOUNTAIN BIKING: IMBA’S GUIDE TO PROVIDING GREAT RIDING
The International Mountain Bicycling Association has written the definitive book on trail maintenance, management, and health.
TRAIL SOLUTIONS : IMBA’S GUIDE TO BUILDING SWEET SINGLETRACK
The experts at IMBA share the secrets to building singletrack trails.
7. HISTORY OF MOUNTAIN BIKING
FAT TIRE FLYER: REPACK AND THE BIRTH OF MOUNTAIN BIKING
The first mountain bike trail was called Repack, and it was ridden on converted Schwinn beach cruisers. This book details the rise of mountain biking racing.
THE BIRTH OF DIRT: ORIGINS OF MOUNTAIN BIKING
The second book by Charlie Kelly has contributions from engineers, other authors and historians on the birth of mountain biking.
STUMPJUMPER: 25 YEARS OF MOUNTAIN BIKING
Mark Riedy details the creation of the first commercial mountain bike and the many changes that have come since.