If you like to get a bit muddy and are up for an adrenaline rush, mountain biking might just be the sport for you. Before you get on the bike and get started, here are a few tips that might come in handy:
The following gear is essential when starting out – a bike (obviously!), helmet, puncture repair kit, pump, the right size inner tube and tyre levers. It could be quite a walk if you get a flat and should, therefore, be prepared. A waterproof jacket, a water bottle and small snacks are also important. If you want a comfortable ride, make sure to get yourself a pair of padded shorts as well as gloves. Gloves will take some pressure off your lower arms and hands, as they act as shock absorbers and they will also provide you with a much better grip. They will, lastly, also protect your hands if you take a fall.
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At first, it can be a really big challenge to get used to your bike. Before you hit the trails, make sure to get used to the brakes, acquainted with your gears and set your saddle to a perfect height. Make sure to not pull the brakes very swiftly, rather pulse them lightly – as this might cause you to catapult over the handlebars, and you really don’t want this!
Learn To Trust Your Bike
Remember that mountain bikes are made to ride over rocks and tree roots. Instead of dodging every obstacle that crosses your way; trust that you and your bike will be able to handle it. If you want to learn how to let go of fear and learn how to trust, click here.
Tips When Riding
When coming across any technical obstacles in your way, make sure to keep your cadence steady and high. Lean forward in order to prevent the front wheel from hopping and in order to keep it solid. When you are descending technical routes, make sure to push your bottom back as much as possible – making it hover just above your saddle. This will give you stability as you go downhill. Also be sure to look ahead in order to pre-decide what line you are going to take. This will also help you to ensure that you are in the right gear before a steep climb, downhill or technical route. You can also bend your elbows (almost as if you are doing a push-up on your bike) if you want to absorb the movement and don’t want to fly over the handlebars.
Ride With People Who Know What They Are Doing
It is best to learn from experienced riders. When you ride behind them you’ll get some wonderful tips on what line to choose and how to position your body when going downhill or uphill as well as how they handle rocky, rough sections.
Yield To Faster Riders
Even though the mountain biking world is a very friendly environment – there is one rule that you should be aware of. It is important to yield to faster riders that come up behind you. Some people use the term: “Rider Up” when they are coming down the trail behind you. If this happens – or if you become aware of someone behind you – make sure to find a safe spot to pull over and let them pass.
Prepare Yourself For A Fall
You’ve got to know – that at some stage – you will possibly take a stumble and fall off your bike. But don’t let this fact put you off. When starting out – the chance is good that you’ll be really careful and therefore your falls will be much less painful than you would expect and it will likely be quiet comical. If you do fall, make sure to get back on your bike as soon as possible and to not get nervous, as you’ll be much less likely to take a fall again when relaxed. A rigid body results in jerky movements and that never ends well. If you do take a fall, make sure to take proper care of your wounds for a speedy recovery.