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9 Tips on Mountain Biking for Beginners

    9 Tips on Mountain Biking for Beginners

    You’re on a bicycle, which makes sense. This is how every novice mountain biker remembers their first ride. The fact that you are riding over rocks, over streams, and through a variety of other terrain, though, seems to defy all logic at first.

    It’s thrilling and entertaining while also being tense and terrifying. With time, it gets simpler—and more enjoyable! But there are some pointers and tricks that each of us wishes we had known when we were just beginning as beginners. Here are nine pointers for learning mountain riding for those who are just starting out.

    1. Stay Loose

    The task of your bike is to navigate difficult terrain. As a rookie mountain biker, your duty is to let your bike take care of itself. Keeping your body relaxed will enable it to move freely beneath you. When riding over obstructions like rocks and roots, lift your butt off the saddle. The more space your bike needs to move, the more difficult the terrain. Think “pushup arms” and “cowboy legs” when tearing down a descent, and flare out your elbows and knees to allow the bike to flow instead of resisting it with your body.

    2. Maintain Momentum

    Although it may seem paradoxical, maintaining momentum on your bike—the one thing it needs most to keep moving forward—by speeding up when the riding becomes tough—makes clearing difficult parts of trail simpler. Maintaining momentum is key to success; use it wherever you can.

    3. Shift Your Weight

    Extreme terrain, including steep dips and inclines, will be encountered. To maintain traction when climbing a difficult pitch, lean forward and shift your weight forward to keep your center of gravity over the rear wheel.

    To avoid falling over the bars when the trail slopes downward, move your weight from in front of the saddle to over the back wheel (dropper posts are a godsend for this).

    4. Go Easy on the Brakes

    As a novice mountain biker, you may occasionally feel tempted to grab both brakes and pull them as hard as you can to the bars. Avoid giving in to this urge! Because mountain bike brakes are so powerful, you only need one or possibly two fingers to modulate your speed.

    Prior to challenging terrain, such as rock gardens and corners, reduce your speed; once there, keep it constant. Keep your foot off the front (left) brake if you do find yourself entering a turn too quickly. You might fall over the bars and onto the ground if you stop your front tire, which will cause it to slide. Instead, strike the rear (right); you might skid, but you’ll probably stay upright.

    5. Use All the Gears

    The profiles of mountain bike trails frequently resemble Jaws stretching out for his next meal. In other words, they travel over terrain that is frequently uphill and downhill. Shift before you need to in order to anticipate changes in the terrain. You already know that momentum is your best friend, so it will help you maintain it.

    6. Set Your Suspension

    Today’s mountain bikes typically have a shock absorber in the back as well as at least a front suspension fork. As you roll over these magical creations, large bumps almost completely vanish. However, they are only functional when they are in their active settings.

    You can take your time as a beginner to learn the subtleties of setting your rebound and sag (how much travel you use while sitting on the bike). To avoid accidentally rolling out onto a challenging technical trail on a fully rigid bike (it happens! ), take a moment to learn how to lock out and/or open up your suspension.

    7. Look Where You Want to Go

    Directly focusing on the rock you don’t want to run into almost guarantees that you will do so. It’s referred to as “target fixation,” and it occurs when you steer your bike with your eyes only. Instead, focus on the destination rather than the difficulties in your way. Maintain a level chin and look forward with your eyes. Try to look as far down the trail as you can, using your peripheral vision to steer clear of and over obstacles that are directly in front of you. If an obstacle does trip you up, upgrading to a trail-specific helmet will protect your head.

    8. Brush Up on Basic Repairs

    Mechanical problems occur more frequently off road than on pavement due to the terrain’s rocky nature. The development of tubeless tires has reduced flats, but not entirely eliminated them. So brush up on some fundamental fixes to ensure you can leave the area if something breaks. You should at the very least be able to fix a flat. Repairing a broken chain and changing a cracked or bent derailleur hanger are two additional useful skills. You can learn how by asking your nearby store (or a trusted friend).

    9. Carry More Than a Credit Card

    Convenience stores are scarce in deserts and forests. Mountain bike rides will frequently take much longer than you expect because you frequently encounter difficult terrain, experience a mechanical issue, or simply get lost. Always bring more water and food than you anticipate needing. In a similar vein, if something goes wrong, it’s occasionally impossible for someone to come get you. Even if they could, you might not have cell service. Always have a spare tube (or two), a pump, and a multi-tool on hand. With the assurance that you have everything you need, you’ll be more at ease and have more fun.

    Learn more: How to Choose Bike Locks