How to Become Better at Riding my Mountain Bike in Nine Steps.
I Want to Ride it Where I Like.
pop quiz: the lyric above is from what song and artist? clue: Freddie gets inspired by Le Tour.
I have now had my mountain bike, my first proper bike since I got a Raleigh 14 for my 12th birthday for three years; but I still need to get better at riding it.
The adage goes “it’s like riding a bike”; whilst this might be true at the very basic level, is not true when it comes to control and confidence over lumps and bumps.
I found this handy list online from Axie Navas in conversation with Lindsey Richter, founder of Ladies AllRide mountain bike camps; I guess I need to go to the States for a course!
Get Your Boobs over the Bars.
On steep climbs, aggressively slide your hips forward to move your center of balance up and off the back wheel. It’s amazing what you can climb with this forward-leaning body position.
You Ride the Bike—Don’t Let It Ride You.
Bikes don’t have brains. We need to tell them what to do.
Brake with Just One Finger.
The index finger, to be specific. This gives you more control of the bike and plenty of braking power.
Think About Rocks as Momentum Blockers.
Hit a rock, and it will slow you down. If you want to get over the rock, you’ll need speed or finesse or both.
Practice Proper Body Position.
There should be a straight line between your wrist and your forearm without a crick in the wrist.
Your Feet Matter Too.
Whenever you’re descending, your pedals should be level and parallel to the ground, with your centre of balance low and centred over the bike.
Know Your Level Lift from Your Bunny Hop.
A level lift is where you preload the bike by stomping your feet, then jump straight up into the air with both wheels leaving the ground at once. A bunny hop, on the other hand, is where you get the bike to arc in the air first with the front wheel and then the rear wheel leaving the ground.
When you’re going over a drop, you want to land centred. The key to this is in the takeoff.
Banish the Negative Thoughts.
In mountain biking, as in life, we’re susceptible to self-doubt—that nagging voice in your head that’s a master of worrying at your weaknesses.