Mountain biking is an activity that requires skill, strength, endurance, and balance. It’s also a great way to stay fit and enjoy the outdoors. But before you hit the trails, there are a few things you need to know to become a better mountain biker.
The activity requires both strength and skill. It’s also a sport that has become increasingly popular in recent years. To improve your riding skills, you need to learn how to control your bike, avoid obstacles, and stay safe while riding.
In this post we’re going to focus on the most important steps you can take on becoming a better mountain biker. Each step will require practice and time from you.
Step 1) Learn how to Control your Speed
You should start by learning how to control your speed when riding. This allows you to maintain control of your bike while descending at a safe pace. If you’re not sure what speed to ride at, take it slower than you think you should.
Once you feel comfortable with controlling your speed, you can gradually work up to higher speeds. Keep building from there as this will be an ongoing step while you work on your mountain bike skills.
Step 2) Know when to use your brakes
You might think that mountain biking is all about accelerating and moving fast. But braking is just as important. Knowing to use your brakes at the right time is key when becoming a better mountain biker.
Braking is what sets you up for that next transition. This could be a sharp turn or a monster climb that you need to be in the right gear for. Once you start riding trails you will find that you get stuck at certain points. These are the building blocks of knowing when to use your brakes.
Step 3) Learn when to shift
This could be the toughest step for some. Knowing when to shift takes time to master. Knowing the trails or track ahead can really help with knowing when to shift. But if you’re riding singletrack most of the time you won’t know the layout of the trail.
A quick tip is to shift into your low gears for easier pedaling when approaching a climb or hill. The reverse for downhill sections is to shift into your higher gears. The more you ride the easier this will get. You can also check out our post on shifting HERE.
Step 4) Stay Balanced
Balance is one of the most important aspects of riding a mountain bike. It helps you stay upright and avoid falls while weaving through trails. Start by learning how to balance yourself properly on your bike. Try balancing on your pedals while staying still to start. This will prevent you from falling off your bike when you least expect it.
Once you’ve mastered balancing and controlling your speed, it’s time to start practicing your turns. You’ll need to lean into the turn while maintaining proper balance. Take it easy but find out what you and your bike are capable of.
Step 5) Ride with Confidence
Ok, when we say to ride with confidence it doesn’t mean to go hit a huge jump or bomb a steep hill. The point of riding with confidence is to learn and grow your skills as a mountain biker.
Once you learn the basics you need to be confident in those skills to grow and improve. If you didn’t make a climb last ride, build your confidence up to conquer that climb.
Step 6) Know your limits
If you want to become a better mountain biker, you should start by learning how to ride safely. You should never try to go faster than your ability level allows. This will help you avoid injury and keep you out of trouble.
When you start riding and go out with some friends it will be tempting to try pushing yourself. This is fine for some easy riding but when it comes to hitting jumps and tricks, make sure you’re ready and have the ability first. Being over confident can lead to an injury fast.
Step 7) Ride with others
Riding with others is one of the best ways to learn new skills. It helps you practice riding in different situations, such as when there are other people around, when the trail is wet, or when there are obstacles.
You can also learn from experienced riders by watching them ride. This will help you improve your own technique and become more comfortable on the bike. The more tips you can learn from others the faster you are on track to becoming a better mountain biker. We also have a great post on finding others to ride with and making mountain bike friends HERE.
Step 8) Be Prepared
Before you hit the trails, make sure you’re prepared with the right gear. A helmet, gloves, and bike shoes are essential. If you’re going to be riding in cold weather, consider wearing layers so you can adjust as needed.
You should dress appropriately for the environment you plan to ride in. If you’ll be riding in hot weather, wear lightweight clothing made of breathable material. In colder temperatures, wear layers to keep warm or even mountain bike pants.
Becoming a better mountain biker will take time. We hope these steps will help create a good foundation for you to get started and quickly improve your skills. Like with all hobbies and sports, practice makes perfect.
Learn everything you can from other riders and sites like ours. Don’t forget the basics and don’t be over confident when you first start out. See you out on the trails.