If you are going to ride a mountain bike, the first thing you need is, obviously, a mountain to ride it on. The Vietnamese have a saying, “Even though a mountain is high, there is still a way to reach its top; although the road is full of danger one can always find a way to get through it.” Part of the thrill of mountain bike riding definitely includes conquering the mountain and overcoming the danger it presents to you along the way. Facing challenges and beating them is what makes it fun to be human, and motivated to face the next day.
So, before you take off to go mountain bike riding, you should decide beforehand where you are going to go. There are plenty of places with bike trails around the country but if you want the best mountain bike trails in the USA you may have to go an extra mile of driving to get there. Whether you are a beginning or an experienced double expert, you will find a trail that is just right for you.
- Enthusiasm Is Not Enough
- Do not rush yourself; start small
- Get Trustworthy and Relevant Advice or Training
- Do not Ask Your Spouse
- Learn To Fall The Right Way (yes, you read that right)
- Ride With Better Bikers
- Mountain Biking Is A Great Sport
- What are the most common mistakes with mountain biking?
Enthusiasm Is Not Enough
Enthusiasm for mountain biking is great, and I think more people should get out there and try it. But enthusiasm by itself is surely not enough. That brings us to tip # 1.
Do not rush yourself; start small
As you may be aware, mountain biking is fast, furious, and dangerous. If you want to master the trick to conquer it instead of succumbing to it, you need to start at the bottom and work your way just a little step at a time. You find that the bike trails are rated beginner, intermediate, expert, and sometimes double expert.
Do your homework before you hit the road and make sure the trails you are heading for are rated for your skill level. Everyone starts out as a beginner so do not feel all bummed out because you can not conquer Mount Everest on your first day. You might have to drive a little further to reach a good beginner trail, but it is all for your own good; you will make better progress improving your biking skills if you start small and in the right way.
Note that driving to the trailhead requires you to have a stable bike rack on your car or truck. You can get a camper shell roof rack system that will hold them securely while you are driving towards the destination and back.
Get Trustworthy and Relevant Advice or Training
You can learn something about any sport on your own but you will learn more and learn it faster if you opt for professional advice and/or training. Experts who have been riding for a number of years will be able to show you little tips and tricks that you would not have thought of on your own. Some of them can even only be learned after years of trial and error. Save yourself the time and trouble and ask for help. There is nothing to be ashamed of when it comes to asking for advice. No one will think any less of you, but they will know beyond a shadow of a doubt that you are unfortunately a numb skull if you do not and mess up with something you could have easily avoided by asking about it.
Do not Ask Your Spouse
Asking your spouse, partner significant other, etc., to help you learn a new sport is a bad, no, a really bad idea. The emotional energy found between couples does not translate well in the coaching arena; the two definitely do not mix well. Any disagreement over what to do or how to do it in the sport can suddenly bring up old unresolved arguments from home and turn it into a huge blowup.
Furthermore, despite the political correctness of the day, men and women learn differently from each other. It is just simple biology; their brains are physically wired differently, and consequently, it is no wonder they absorb, learn, and process information differently. For best results, and to avoid any uncalled for hustles and bustles, men should be taught by men, and women should be taught by women.
Learn To Fall The Right Way (yes, you read that right)
If you are going to go mountain biking, especially if it is your first time, sooner or later, you are going to fall. This is a simple fact of life you should accept. Isn’t it therefore best to plan for it? To save yourself some loss of skin or even worse injuries, make sure you pick out the right jerseys to wear when you are biking. Do not forget to buy gloves and helmets either. After buying the necessary equipment, now practice falling on flat grassy areas. After this you can then move on to mountainous areas; all while strapped in your protective gear. Slowly learning how to catch yourself without straining your wrists or getting your feet tangled in the bike chain or wheel spokes. You could also lookup more of the possible injuries involved in the sport and plan for them as well.
Ride With Better Bikers
The best way to get better is to ride with people who are better than you. By surrounding yourself with better riders, and following their lead closely behind them and watching what they do, you learn from them both consciously and subconsciously. Follow in their path and you will automatically improve.
Mountain Biking Is A Great Sport
Mountain biking is not only a great sport but is also counted as a great workout too. Even if you are only going downhill at a ski resort in the warm weather, you will find that you burn a lot of calories due to the stress and stamina you will need to negotiate into the turns, jumps, rock gardens, and twisted roots. Even without much pedaling, you will definitely “feel the burn.” You end up killing two birds with one stone; outsmarting boredom plus keeping fit. Isn’t that a win-win?
What are the most common mistakes with mountain biking?
Even if nobody can predict what mistakes a new mountain biker can make, some mistakes are more frequent than others. Keep reading for the details:
Brake too often and too hard
When you hit a steep descent for the first time, you can get pretty overwhelmed as a beginner. Many new mountain bikers will be tempted to apply intense pressure to the front brake, only to find themselves going over the bars or sliding out.
Instead of putting too much pressure on the brake, feather the brakes on and off when you start riding. Don’t squeeze with a death grip; give yourself time to discover how much pressure you need for descents.
With a steep descent, it’s more efficient to roll through instead of braking on your way down. You will go fast, so don’t get scared. Don’t pause midway with a heavy brake because you will go over the bars, as your body is already over the front wheel. Have faith and cruise down the hills.
Your feet bounce off the pedals
You cannot have a safe ride if your feet bounce off the pedals. It’s pretty standard for beginners not to have the correct foot position or use adequate equipment. You should wear riding shoes with thick rubber soles. Tennis shoes will do, but only if the soles are thick and rugged. As for pedals, you will need to use a platform pedal with pins. The connection on the pedals will be excellent when you use both platforms with pins and thick soles for your shoes.
The technique is also essential to place your foot with the balls of the feet at the pedal’s center. When you go over bumpy trails and jumps, seek that you drop your heels to take your bodyweight firmly on the pedal. The risk of bouncing off the pedals is high when your toes are pointed down or forward the ground.
You don’t focus on the trail ahead
Even if it sounds obvious, many entry-level mountain bikers get easily distracted. There are gears, brakes, and even dropper Seatpost levers to take care of! Let’s not forget that sighting can easily make you take your eyes off the trail.
Set up your handlebars to easily access all the levers without moving your hands. Once you’re comfortable with their positions, you won’t feel the need to look down and adjust your seat or gear. Should you get distracted by nature, you need to work with yourself and focus your eyes on the trail. Keep your vision ahead on the track to choose safe and fun lines—mountain biking is supposed to be a fun experience, remember?
Poor weight distribution
You will crash if the weight distribution is poor and efficient bodyweight distribution is a crucial skill to have for any biker. When you are cornering, you need to lean into the turns and keep the wheels safely on the ground. If you use a dropper seat, you will see that it’s relatively effortless to adjust your body weight.
Don’t have a dropper seat just yet? Maybe this is the first thing to do when you update your bike. When descending, you will have to take your weight to the back of your bike, which increases the safety of the back wheel on the ground. Take your body weight off the front wheel; otherwise, you will go over the bars in no time.
You don’t know much about climbing
Some things are crucial to becoming an excellent climber as a mountain biker. Gaining momentum, switching gears, restarting, etc., are the essential skills that help you master the climbs.
The moment you see the climbs, you should be able to know already which gear to shift into. It’s crucial to switch gears as smoothly as possible to reduce the risk of loud popping sounds. Do you hear the sound? It means you’ve changed too late. The risk of popping a chain is high, so always smoothly switch your gears when climbing.
If you switch gears correctly, you can maintain your pace at the same rotational speed. Should you switch too slow, you will be in low gear, and climbing will become incredibly difficult. Keep in mind to gain momentum as you get closer to the climb. Increase the speed to get up an excellent section of the hill before switching gears. Always be ready to switch gears when you begin to slow down.
Did you try to climb the hill and lose your speed? Did the chain pop off? You don’t want to walk your bike to the top. You should turn the bike at an angle to no longer go straight up the hill. If you attempt to go straight up, you will struggle to rotate your pedals. You should ride at an angle so that you never stop pedaling. Once you get going, it’s time to straighten your bike and keep on climbing.
Your tire pressure is all wrong
The tire pressure should be around 32-34psi—it makes perfect sense for most mountain bikers. However, if you’re a big guy, you will probably need to get up to 40psi. You don’t want the pressure to be too low because your body weight will eventually cause pinch flats.
Tire pressure for mountain biking depends on the trail’s condition and the biker. We recommend you do due diligence about it.
You don’t check out all your components
You will get to the trails by car and transport your bike most of the time. You probably use a bike rack or other effortless transport system. While packing your mountain bike in the car, taking off the wheels, etc., you must be organized and put all bolts, wheels, and triggers in just one place. You don’t want any parts to be loose or shifted after you start biking.
Apart from your mountain bike, you have to check out plenty of other accessories. Here are some examples:
- Bike helmet
- Wrist guards
- Knee pads
- Elbow pads
- Mountain biking shoes
- Hydration bladder
- Shin guards
Always wear protective gear and seek that you securely strap it. The risk of chaffing is high otherwise. Also, you don’t want any of your equipment to slip off while you’re climbing/descending/to try to have a fantastic ride.