Want to join your friends getting fast and dirty on the trail (and still get home in one piece)? Here’s how to get started!
Beginner mountain bikers: read this now! Four tips to fast-track your MTB progress, and make you quicker and safer on the trails.
THERE’S AN OLD SAYING ABOUT MTB: IT GETS EASIER – AND MORE FUN! – THE MORE YOU DO IT.
But as a beginner, you probably wish you had some way to speed up your learning. Look no further: here are the tips you need to fasttrack mountain- bike fun.
Your bike’s job is to roll over technical terrain. Your job is to let your bike do its job. That means keeping your body loose, so it can move beneath you. Hover your butt off the saddle when riding over obstacles like roots and rocks. The more technical the terrain, the more room your bike needs to move. When ripping down a descent, think ‘ push-up arms’ and ‘cowboy legs’, and flare out your elbows and knees so your body lets the bike flow rather than fighting it.
Shift Your Weight
You’re going to hit some extreme terrain, including steep inclines and declines. When climbing a tough pitch, shift your weight forward and lean forward, to keep your centre of gravity over the rear wheel and maintain traction. When the earth tilts downward, go in the opposite direction, shifting your weight behind the saddle and over the rear wheel to avoid going over the bars.
Easy On The Brakes
You will be tempted, at some point, to grab both brakes and pull them to the bars with all you’ve got. Resist this temptation! Mountain- bike brakes are powerful enough that you need just one finger to modulate your speed. Adjust your speed before the tricky stuff, like rock gardens and corners, and then maintain your speed through them. If you do find yourself going into a turn too hot, stay off the front brake. Stopping your front tyre will send it into a slide, which is likely to send you to the ground. Hit the rear instead; you might skid, but you’re more likely to stay upright.
Look Where You Want To Go
Staring directly at that rock you don’t want to hit will almost guarantee that you’re going to smack right into it. It’s called ‘ target fixation’; your bike goes where your eyes are directing it to go. Rather look past obstacles, to where you want to go. Keep your chin level to the ground and your eyes forward, and try to look as far down the trail as possible, using your peripheral vision to avoid and negotiate obstacles immediately in front of you.
YOUR BIKE’S JOB IS TO ROLL OVER TECHNICAL TERRAIN. YOUR JOB IS TO LET YOUR BIKE DO ITS JOB.