Your friends are on the dirt getting rad. You want to join them. (You also want to get home in one piece.) Here’s how to get started – By Selene Yeager
Every mountain biker remembers their first riding over rocks, streams, and all types of amazing terrain. It’s fun and exciting yet nerve-wracking and terrifying all at the same time. It does gets easier—and more fun!—the more you do it, but as a beginner you probably wish you had a few tips to speed up your learning. Well look no further, here are all the tips you need to fast track the 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 “pushup arms” and “cowboy legs,” and flare out your elbows and knees so your body allows the bike to flow rather than fighting it.
Momentum is your BFF
It’s going to feel counter-intuitive, but holding speed—and even speeding up—when the terrain gets challenging makes clearing challenging sections of trail easier because your bike has the one thing it needs most to keep moving forward: momentum. Momentum is your best friend out there, maintain it whenever you can.
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 center of gravity over the rear wheel to maintain traction. When the earth tilts downward, go in the opposite direction, shifting your weight behind the saddle and over the rear wheel (dropper posts are a godsend for this) to avoid going over the bars.
Easy on the brakes
You will be tempted at some point to grab both brakes and pull ‘em to the bars with all you’ve got. Resist this temptation! Mountain bike brakes are powerful enough that you need just one (maybe two) finger(s) 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.
Use all the gears, often
Mountain bike profiles look like a great white shark opening wide for its next snack. Anticipate changes in terrain by shifting before you need to. It’ll help you keep your momentum, which as you know, is your best friend.
Set Your Suspension