New to MTB, access to great trails but no skills.

Forums Mountain Bike Forum New to MTB, access to great trails but no skills.

--
SHARES
  

Tagged: 

This topic contains 11 replies, has 11 voices, and was last updated by  Lindsay Beth Currier 4 years, 11 months ago.

  • Author
    Posts
  • #124940

    Hi all!

    I got my first "real" mountain bike last summer for riding around some fields and dirt trails with my dogs. I have moved recently and live literally across the street from Robinson State Park in Massachusetts. (http://www.singletracks.com/bike-trails … -park.html)

    I am enjoying going out for 30-60 minutes at a time with my dogs, but I have realized that I am really not a very good cyclist yet. What can I do to learn and improve? What are the most useful youtube videos? I don’t know anyone else who bikes.

    Most of the trails in the park are too difficult for me which makes it hard to keep going for a long ride, but as you can see on the review page I linked, most users found the trails easy, some said even too easy! How humbling.

  • #124941

    Does the park have some shorter, beginner loops you can try?

    Try different lines with increasingly difficult obstacles in the areas you normally bike.

    Push yourself to go harder and faster each time wherever you ride.

    Use beginner skills keywords searches on YouTube. There’s a page somewhere in here with some links to good instructional videos.

  • #124942

    Just keep riding, eventually you will get better. I picked it back up almost two years ago after 13 or so years off the bike. I was disappointed in what I found myself capable of compared to what I used to do regularly. I was also on a much nicer bike now but I had no engine to drive it, so instead of 20-30 mile rip fests, I was struggling to complete an easy 3 mile loop.

    I now climb hills with plenty left over in the tank that a year ago I puked on halfway up. I can do a 10 mile ride and carry on with the rest of my day and week and feel better for doing it. I have put on 20 pounds through diet and training, stopped smoking, and try to ride as much as I can. I have found my limit now, and try to push that limit little by little without overshooting it and crashing my body for days or weeks.

    Just keep at it, and don’t give up. Some of it is mental so remember when slugging up the hill, it really is easier to ride the bike than walk it.

  • #124943

    Finding a place to work on some fundamentals is great! When I first started a few years back, I watched a number of youtube videos on basic trail tips and went and practiced it all a little on each ride or just outside my house if I was bored. Learning to weight/unweight the front and rear and pick either up at will really helped transform my riding. Ride a lot and work on extending ride lengths to get the fitness up.

    If you can, find a group of experienced riders that is happy to ride with newer folks. You will pick up a ton from riding with more experienced people, both on bike technical skills and off bike maintenance and "mtb etiquette."

  • #124944

    Mountain Bike: form-terrain vehicles, big tires, shock absorbers have been designed to battle on rough roads. This car does not equal speed Road bike, and sitting posture is not comfortable with. Ride Mountain Bike (MTB) you will have to sit higher with straight handle bar design. After bought a suitable bicycle, you should concern about some rules to ride the bike, for example, how to control the height of saddle and riding position to suit.
    So, how to ride the bike like this. 😀
    The first is for saddle, you can control it according to your need. When you sit on the saddle, your volume should be concentrated on the under point, behind, like when you sit on the flat and hard surface.
    Next, regarding of tilt angle of saddle, it is also very important in helping you have a comfortable position. If you fall your body overhead too much, maybe you feel as sliding out of the bike. If, in contrast, you fall behind too much, you will lose power to cycle. Mostly, everyone think that the height of saddle should be designed to not only sit on saddle but also be able to touch your foot on the ground. That is completely wrong.
    But the best is the height of the saddle should be controled when your leg is slightly bent at the knees.
    When you get off the bike, you should raise your bottom out of your bike and stand by your foot.

  • #124945

    It may not be the most efficient, or effective way to learn, but I’m currently using the trial and error method and riding every chance I get. I’m getting pretty good at telling people that I’m fine when I’m gasping for breath at the top of the hills. Watching a few youtube videos and falling over a few times. I still suck, but I’m getting better each time I go.

  • #124946
    "sleepyguy1001@yahoo.com" wrote

    It may not be the most efficient, or effective way to learn, but I’m currently using the trial and error method and riding every chance I get. I’m getting pretty good at telling people that I’m fine when I’m gasping for breath at the top of the hills. Watching a few youtube videos and falling over a few times. I still suck, but I’m getting better each time I go.

    I think that’s how a lot of us started! I kind of like it that way. Get out there and enjoy it without worry about the "proper" way. That will come as you progress.

  • #124947

    I often think that the first skill that most beginner riders need to learn is to "Read the Path Ahead". Here is the article that I wrote on it: [url:id118jk7]http://www.singletracks.com/blog/beginners/mountain-biking-101-read-the-path-ahead/[/url:id118jk7]

    The second best skill to master is Better Climbing Techniques. Here is the article I wrote on this:[url:id118jk7]http://www.singletracks.com/blog/mtb-training/9-ways-to-climb-better-on-your-mountain-bike/[/url:id118jk7].

    The third best skill to master (especially in the notoriously Rooty and Rocky New England trails) is improving your riding skills on the bumpy stuff. On the bumpy stuff (roots, rock gardens, dips, drops, etc…) get off the seat, level the pedals, bend the knees, stay loose, and use your legs as a suspension. Staying on the seat is more for climbing, to save energy and to keep you from gassing out too quick.

    I would just like to add that when you are doing root and rocky descents, you don’t just level your pedals and get off the seat. If it is fairly steep and bumpy, make sure that you also drop your heels, get your but back behind the seat, and brake smoothly.

    Dropping your heels makes it so that when you hit a bump, it tends to push you down and back on the bike. Keeping your heels level on the pedals on a steep bouncy ride will tend to bounce you up and forward trying to send you over the bars instead.

    Putting your but behind the seat also shifts your body weight back so that your weight ends up over the BB and also helps for when you are hard braking, especially downhill.

    Most of your braking power will be on your front tire (approximately 70% front & 30% rear). Keeping this in mind, most mtb bikes have the front brake lever on your left hand. Most people’s predominant hand is their right. So naturally under hard braking, most people will lock up the rear first because the rear brake lever is on their stronger grip hand. It does take some practice to do hard braking properly especially when going down hill on a bumpy, rooty, rocky trail. Skidding is not good for control so keep it smooth. It is best to practice on the same downhill repeatedly to get it right. Then when you really need to do a hard stop on a technical descent you will already know that you will be doing it the right way.

    The last thing that I often see that beginners often make a mistake with is that they very often over-inflate their tires. Here is another article that I wrote on that: [url:id118jk7]http://www.themountainbikelife.com/2014/07/the-frugal-mountain-biker-part-7-lower.html[/url:id118jk7]

  • #124948
    "blundar" wrote

    Dropping your heels makes it so that when you hit a bump, it tends to push you down and back on the bike. Keeping your heels level on the pedals on a steep bouncy ride will tend to bounce you up and forward trying to send you over the bars instead.

    Great suggestion and one I don’t really think of, as it has become a natural part of riding over time.

  • #124949

    Start with the manual. Everything hinges on learning that particular movement. it teaches you how to control the head of your bike. It teaches you how to shift your weight from front to back and it teaches you how to balance your bike during a "violent" movement.
    Bunny Hop starts with a manual.
    Going over a shelf starts with a manual.
    Going up a shelf starts with a manual.
    Jumping anything starts with a manual.
    Pumping a turn starts with a manual.
    All of these maneuvers begin with the basic "load" of the front end and assuming the attack position.
    if you remember your body is the counterweight and suspension of your bike you will learn the rest naturally.

  • #124950

    I feel like I had the same thoughts/feelings not that long ago. Like maybe earlier this year. I’m surprised, looking back, how much I’ve improved in a year. I will ride anything intermediate and even advanced…although that typically turns out to be a very, very slow trail.

    My point is I try to ride (okay, prob not as often as I should) things that aren’t as much fun, because I’m getting off my bike to walk over rocks and down bigger drops. The trails I ride and love now were challenging for me earlier this year. I got to know the trails and gained a bit more confidence to tackle things each time I rode. And ya know what, I’m still unbroken (okay, broke an elbow but technically in the parking lot).

    The two simple but most helpful things for me have been 1. Keep your focus ahead on the trail. Do not look in front of you. 2. Brakes are not your friend. 😠 I’m still working on #2. It is instinct to freak a little and want to brake. Almost always the worst idea…unless, of course, you see trees right in front of you.

    Keep at it. Walk your bike when you need to. I enjoy a lot of things, but there is nothing more fun than mountain biking. I usually end up with my teeth full of bugs from smiling so much. 😄

  • #124951

    Invest in a Skills Clinic, it will make your riding SAFE and more FUN. There are so many great coaches, there is no reason not to learn the easy way. I grew up in Connecticut and I would love to come home and coach you, if that is in your price range. It’s also about to snow buckets back there…. fly to Sacramento, CA and come ride in the canyon behind Auburn Bike Co? It is still warm and sunny here. I’ve got a great spot near Vegas as well for teaching. Here is my information: shineridersco.com

RELATED TOPICS

You must be logged in to reply to this topic.