TRAIL TIPS – AN INTRODUCTION

If you’ve survived a number of years of mountain biking a fair bit of wear and tear will have been inflicted on you and your bikes and you’ll have dealt with plenty.  If you’re a little newer to the sport and not yet fully conversant with how everything works it all might be a bit daunting.  On the pages in this section, we’ll try and bring something for both groups.  

Since the bulk of things we all need to know stem from experience and common sense, being clever and unique is not what this area of the site is about.  It’s here simply to allow access to information that will keep bikes moving on the trail.  Imagine a biking trip with camping involved, and the checklist you will need to go over for the safest experience. Did you check your lightweight tent, waterproof clothing, sleeping bag, air mattress (for overweight?), and think about carrying all the stuff with you all day through the trail?

Most of all we want to help lessen the chance of you being caught out miles from anywhere with an unridable bike to push home. 
Some of the tips, techniques, and hints have been spotted on the Internet, others from the comics, picked up from fellow sufferers and yet more have been acquired through hard-won experience.  What they all share is that they’re based on sound practices that actually work in the conditions likely to be encountered on the trails.  The fixes will be doable with trail tools.  The riding advice (when we get round to posting it up) is aimed at mortals and should help improve both fitness and confidence.  

Top among the things that actually work is sound preparation.  The old adage  “Fail to plan and you plan to fail” is worth remembering.  So, staying away from the problems in the 1st instance will always be the main tactic.  In addition to advice in that regard, easy maintenance drills and ways of performing routine tasks will feature as well as ways of sorting problems when they do crop up. 

How to Start Mountain Biking

Mountain biking is a great sport that anyone can take part in, the only skill you really need is the ability to ride a bike.  There is some danger involved and you’re going to need some safety equipment for the ride.  Before you head off road by yourself you should know how to start mountain biking, here are some tips to get you started.  These skills can be practiced pretty much anywhere.

How You Ride

Positioning yourself on your bike is important if you want to have a safe and comfortable ride.  Your arms should be relaxed and a little bit bent at your elbows.  Grip your handle bars firmly enough to have control but still relaxed.  You are going to have to adjust the seat to the right height.  When your peddle is at the bottom and your leg is extended it should be about 80% extended.  As you get more comfortable you will find your sweet spot.  Here is a look at how you should be riding.

Shifting Gears

Shifting mountain bike gears is an important part of navigating the terrain and it may take you a couple of trips before you get really good at it.  The smaller cogs are the higher numbered gears making it harder to go faster going downhill or on flat services.  Bigger cogs are the lowered number gears and they make it easier to peddle uphill when you need to, start changing your gears to climb a hill long before you get to it not as you start to ascend.

Body Position

Riding an off road bike is different from riding a racing bike in and around the city.  You are going to spend more time standing on the pedals because of the terrain that you are going over.  Off road biking means going over rocks and rough terrain, when you are sitting it is a bumpy ride so much so that you can be thrown of the seat and lose control of your bike.  Standing allows for your knees and elbows to flex as needed.  This is something that you will want to practice before you hit rough terrain with any kind of speed.  Start by standing while pedaling and going over curbs, your bike is more than capable of handling this kind of drop.

Biking offroad is a great ride and an excellent way to get out into nature while getting some great exercise.  A little bit of practice and you will be cruising those trails in no time at all.