World's slowest cyclist.
Join Date: Oct 2007
Location: Londonderry, NH
Bikes: Cannondale CAAD5 and Cannondale Rush
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To the OP: some bike shops will rent you a bike. You may want to try out a bike off-road and see what you like and don't like in a bike before making a decision. Some guys love big travel, some guys love lighter, lower travel bikes (I'm one of them), some guys like hardtails, or full rigids, or cyclocross... It depends largely on the type of riding you want to do (another good reason to demo), and your personal preferences, and probably a hundred other factors.
Just read that for the first time and was trying to classify myself. Then I got to the part about people jumping off 25 foot tall stuff on a bike. Does this happen or is that an exageration? Is this a 25 foot drop on to a flat surface, or is there some "cheating" involved where the person lands on a slope that levels out more gently. I can't imagine a 25 foot fall on to a flat being pleasant, even with a full foot of travel.
I'm probably more in the XC camp. I'll do a 2 foot drop (on to flat), but more than that and I walk it. I guess I'm a wuss, I end up walking a lot of stuff that I'm sure some would ride.