I recently got into mountain biking, and it is very very very nice, riding a bike while you are in a natural area is just so refreshing and really fulfilling in a sense. However, it's also absolutely fucking scary at times! I'm not even talking about what the pros do, which is just outright nuts! I mean, look at this https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=L4268ai-XHI
I don't understand how it is possible for a human to come out of that without a single scratch. Even at an amateur level things get pretty crazy, I've seen POV videos of some of the trails around my city and there are some spots that look rough BUT rideable. However, once you are there it's a thousand times worse than in the video! Like so much steeper and bumpier and lots of loose dirt that is not stable at all, every time I go out for a ride I have to get off the bike and walk down at least a couple of sections.
You also need to be somewhat technically inclined, because it turns out that bikes can have problems while you are in the middle of the forest and then you are stranded there and have to walk back home if you can't fix it. Luckily this has only happened once to me, and even then a group of four guys that were riding their bikes on the same trail helped me out and fixed the problem for me. They also gave me sooo much useful advice and so many tips and were extremely helpful and nice. Well, one of them ogled my body a couple of times, but the other three were absolutely lovely blokes and we spent a while chatting about the local trails and other MTB related stuff. The whole thing made me feel WAY less socially retarded. I guess having a hobby or something you are passionate about and interacting with like minded people is a very good way of getting over your social anxiety and that kind of stuff.
So yeah, this sport is really cool but it is not for everyone, not by a long shot. First of all, if you live in a totally flat place with nothing but crop fields around then you can simply put wider tyres on a normal bike if you don't want to ride on the roads. Alternatively you can travel to more suitable places, but that's expensive. On that same note, the whole sport can be extremely expensive, not only you need various pieces of equipment like a helmet; knee pads; elbow pads; gloves; a hydration pack; a pump; etc., spare and replacement parts and maintenance (or very specific tools if you want to do it yourself) but it turns out that if you want to have a bike that is not specific for a single purpose and is decent in quality you will have to spend at least 2000 pounds/euros/dollars/whatever. The most expensive models can cost around 10000, pretty much like a cheap car! So unless you buy second hand, which can be a minefield, or get lucky like me and happen to know someone that lets you borrow their bike (my friend hasn't used hers in about 10 years or so and more or less told me to keep it) you better have some cash lying around.