Mountain biking is an interesting and challenging sport. It is a perfect opportunity to spend time in nature, improve health, and develop new skills. If you want to start your mountain biking experience, but have no experience, don’t worry. This kind of biking is harder than the usual kind, but it isn’t impossible to master. Goodwill and a certain level of fitness are all you need for the beginning. With that, a good bike and these set of tips, you’ll have no problem with mountain biking.

Stay loose

You have to realize that your bike’s purpose is to roll over technical terrain. Don’t get in the way of that. You should always keep your body loose. The bike has to move beneath you. If you’re riding over obstacles such as roots or rocks, hover off the saddle. The room your bike needs depends on the terrain. Help your bike flow when ripping down a descent by flaring out your elbows and knees. 

Try not to be too tense on the bike

Holding on too tight will cause you to suffer from sore hands or shoulders. This is common among riders. You may feel more secure if you grip the bars tightly, but it doesn't make you safer. It does completely the opposite. It makes you tenser and makes it harder for you to move dynamically. This doesn’t mean that you should hold the bars too loosely that you have no control over the bike, but you should find the balance. This way, you’ll reduce your body soreness and increase the control over the vehicle.

Use all the gears

Mountain biking is full of different terrains. You can’t expect to get through all the obstacles using one gear. Don’t be afraid to use all of them and adjust them to specific situations. Some terrains will require lower gears, while others will require higher gears. Remember that maintaining momentum is important too.

Set up your suspension

Don’t forget to set your suspension to active positions. This will improve pedalling efficiency and facilitate rolling over bumps. Most bikes have the front suspension fork; others have the rear shock absorber. Setting up the suspension has a big impact on the ride. Make sure to do it right, because too much pressure can be bad, as well as too little. This can damage the shock, the bike, or even you. 

Maintain momentum

Even if this doesn’t seem logical at first, maintaining momentum is very important and helpful. Holding speed or speeding up, especially through more challenging terrain, is a good choice. Momentum is important for your bike to keep moving forward. If you speed up at difficult terrain, it'll be easier to clear tough sections of trail. Whenever you have the opportunity, make your ride easier, and maintain momentum.

Shift your weight

Inclines and declines are the first thing you’ll encounter when mountain biking. The whole point is to challenge yourself with some extreme terrains. Don’t forget to shift your weight to overcome all the obstacles easier. Act according to the situation and the type of terrain you’re hitting. For example, if you’re climbing a pitch, shift your weight forward. By leaning forward, you’ll keep the centre of gravity over the rear wheel and this way you’ll maintain traction. On the other hand, the opposite direction will require different acts. In these situations, shift weight behind the saddle and over the rear wheel.

Go easy on the brakes

Even if you get tempted to grab the brakes and pull them, don’t do it. Do your best to resist the temptation since these brakes are very powerful. You may need just one or two fingers to modulate the speed. Think of the speed before you get to rock gardens or corners and adjust it in advance. If unexpected obstacles show up, don’t pull the front brake, unless you want to end up over the bars and on the ground. Instead, you can hit the rear brake and make sure to stay on the bike.

Look where you want to go

Target fixation is a term used for situations when you stare at the specific part of the road and the bike goes straight into it. If you want to avoid a certain rock, don't look at it, since that way you're increasing chances to hit it. Instead, you can look for obstacles you'd like to encounter and look at them. Use your peripheral vision too. Keep an eye on the road in front of you, but also on the sides. Look as far down the trail as you can to easier avoid and pass by any obstacle.

Brush up on some basic repairs

Due to the nature of the terrain, you’ll often have to repair parts of your bike. Before you decide to go on an adventure in the woods, you should develop some skills necessary for unexpected unfortunate situations. For start, learn how to fix a flat, since this is most probable to happen. Many different unfortunate incidents can occur and, since you can't predict or prevent them, being prepared for them is essential. You should also learn how to repair a broken chain or replace a bent.

Carry everything you might need

You can't predict the duration of a mountain bike ride. In most cases, it will take more time than you think. You could have trouble with certain terrains, have problems with the bike, or get lost. It's important to pack food and water before you head to the forest. You won't have a store in the woods to buy more water, so think of it before you start. You should also carry tools you might need, tools such as a tube or a pump. You may not have the service to call for help and knowing that you have everything you need for an emergency will help you enjoy your ride more.

Find the right bike

For a sport like this, equipment is very important. You have to be sure your bike fits you before you get into biking. You don’t want a saddle causing any kind of imbalance or ineffective brakes. Well-equipped mountain bikes are crucial for a safe and enjoyable ride. You should do a pre-trip inspection of the bike. Pay attention to the tire pressure, brakes and wheels. Get a suitable helmet. Safety should be your priority and all you should take all the measures to preserve it. 

Build a base

If you're completely new to the field of sports, you need to build a basic level of fitness and endurance. Start by spending five weeks in frequent low-intensity effort. Don’t add speed and intensity right away. You can ride three times a week for two hours. If this is too much for you or too little, find the balance. It’s important not to go overboard with exercise one day and then stay in bed for the next couple of days. Another important thing you should do is eat healthier food and hydrate. 

Master the front-wheel lift

The perfect way to start learning is by mastering the front-wheel lift. You can do this when you encounter midsize obstacles like logs. This move consists of three parts. The first one is the load. This means that you should compress the front shock and bend your elbows. In the next step, which is called explode, you should straighten your arms explosively. Finally, the third part is lift. This is the part where you bend your arms and lift handlebars while the front wheel leaves the ground to raise it even higher. Pay attention to the speed since timing is crucial here. The rear wheel will follow without any problem if you do everything correctly. 

Deal with uphill obstacles in the best way 

Use the pedalling front-wheel lift to save energy and make the overcoming of the uphill obstacles easier.  This is great for any climbing situation. Your dominant foot should be at the top of the pedal stroke and give it a hard punch. Lean back with your shoulders, straighten the arms and let the pedals lift the bike. Right after you land, stand on the pedals with bent arms in a crouched position. Don’t forget about the rear wheel and give a shove to the handlebars to get it over the obstacle too. 

Don’t forget to rest

Your mountain biking can’t be considered a successful activity if you don’t rest enough. Your body has to recover to be able to get back in trail. The moment you’re off the bike, the process of recovery begins. You can make a great start by drinking water or having a healthy snack. Some protein mix is great in situations like this. You don't want fatigued muscles or any other inconvenience during mountain biking. You don't have to bike every day. You're not trying to suffer more but to have fun and stay healthy.

Conclusion 

Mountain biking is a challenging sport, but it's also highly satisfying. You'll feel empowered once you start overcoming the obstacles you encounter. Start today and in a few days, you'll already notice all the positive impact mountain biking has on your life. 

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Comment by Glen Mackenzie on May 22, 2020 at 6:09

Great stuff!

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