Sometimes you don’t choose mountain biking. Sometimes it chooses you. The breathtaking scenery, the endorphin high, the satisfaction of powering through a challenging section of trail and coming out unscathed are all reasons that keep you coming back.
Like any sport, one can have a natural talent at it, or it can seem like an uphill battle to master the techniques. Whatever your level, it's always helpful to remember these 7 tips for becoming a better mountain biker.
1. Maintain a strong, but flexible stance. When you are riding some of the more abusive bumps along the trail, it helps to absorb the shock by standing on the pedals keeping a slight bend in your waist, elbows, and knees. Keep a firm but not too tight grip on the handlebars…if you grip too tightly, you will be slower to respond to trail obstacles and it will be harder to soak up the bumps.
2. Use both brakes. Your front brake provides more power than the rear but use it carefully or you will fly over the bars. Learn how to modulate the brakes by doing short bursts (think how ABS brakes work on a car) rather than locking them up which usually leads to skidding. Skids are difficult to control. Avoid braking while turning…do the majority of your braking before entering the turn and if you need to slow down more, only use your rear brake. Braking the front wheel while turning will cause it to wash out and you will end up on the ground.
3. Look ahead. Looking ahead will help you adjust to the terrain and pick the best line down the trail. The faster you go, the farther ahead you should look. Do not get into the habit of looking at your front wheel.
4. Focus on the path you want to take. If you look at the obstacles you want to avoid, you will end up riding into them. Only look where you want to go – great advice for life as well as riding!
5. Ride with partners that are more skilled than you at mountain biking. Nothing will accelerate your learning curve faster than by riding with people who have great skills. Emulate what they do until you find your own style. This is applicable for snow skiing as well.
6. Maintain your bike. A well maintained bike will give you confidence that it won’t fail when you are flying down the trail. A properly functioning bike is more quiet and efficient which is also more fun.
7. Choose the right bike. Buy a bike that is designed for the terrain that you prefer to ride. A dedicated downhill bike with 10” of travel isn’t great for trail riding and a cross country bike with 4” of travel isn’t the best for lift-served downhill trails. The right bike for your given conditions will not only be more fun but also safer.
If you want to find the right equipment to make yourself more comfortable and confident on your next mountain biking adventure, please contact MORR Protective Gear. Adventure smart – gear up to stay in the game.
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