Improve your Mountain Biking
You want to ride like the wind. You want to be fast. You want to roll over rocks, shoot up hills and smoothly descend near-vertical downhill sections without crashing.
No matter what your goals are, you have to start with the basics. The more time that you spend on your bike, the better you will get. Ride to the mailbox, to the store, to the coffee shop. This will help to reinforce your riding skills. We take pride in the fact that we provide clinics that cover these points, to you – who would like to improve your technical riding skills, regardless the fact that you´ve just started or that you have been riding for a while. Having good bike-handling skills and confidence on the trail will make trail biking a more enjoyable experience. We get you started with a few tips; the rest is up to you.
1. Learn to maintain your bike
It is difficult to focus on the trail when you strange noises come from your bike. Basic bike maintenance only takes a few minutes and it can save you from a long walk, or worse, a trip to the emergency room. Even if you can’t fix your bike, checking it will give you the chance to take it into the shop before you hit the trail.
On our courses we´ll teach you to go over the entire bike and look for anything that is worn out, cracked, broken or just not working right. Remember that minor problems at home can become big problems on the trail. Also, be sure that the bike is set up to fit you. A bike that is too big or too small will be hard to control.
2. Look ahead
When you are on the trail, look where you want to go, especially on trails with plenty of roots and rocks. If you look at the rock or tree that you are trying to avoid, you will most likely hit it. Instead, focus on the line that you want to take. This is called target fixation. There is a complicated explanation as to why this works, but don’t worry about that—it just does. Always look ahead, learning to find that line that you want, and you will ride smoother.
Whether you are riding a rigid bike or a full suspension, the best suspension you have is your arms and legs. Stand up, relax and allow them to absorb the bumps and ruts on the trail. Once you learn to let the bike move beneath you, finding the right position, your bike will float over most obstacles.
It also helps to relax your grip a bit on the handlebars. Be sure to hang on firmly but not too tightly. A white-knuckle death grip will cause your forearms and hands to fatigue sooner and then make it tougher to be in control.
Hopping and balancing skills really pay off when riding technical trails. Having the ability to come to a stop and then start again without putting a foot down makes it easier to keep your momentum.
These are both done while standing still, though you can lunge with the bike while you are hopping to go up and over stuff (stairs, rocks, people, etc). Pure stationary balancing—also called a track stand—is done without holding on to the brakes. To learn this, practice going as slow as possible and feathering your brakes to cut your speed. It is easiest to learn this on a slight uphill slant. Soon you’ll be able to balance without going anywhere by shifting your weight and moving the bike beneath you. It takes practice, but it will soon become easy and useful.
This little trick may seem silly, but they do help develop overall bike-handling skills.
5. Take a Brake
Actually take two brakes. Better braking will allow for better bike control. Many new riders think they only have two brake settings, locked and not in use. You’ve actually got less control with the brakes locked, much like a car.
We´ll teach you how to use both brakes effectively. Most of your braking power comes from the front brake. But be careful not to use it too much if you are going downhill or cornering. You’ll either get tossed over the bars, or your front wheel will slide out. It is all about moderation and modulation..
A wise word at the end:
You can read about cycling as much as you want, but nothing replaces saddle time. So with that in mind, put this down, gear up and get out and ride. I’ll see you on the trail.