Nearly 40 million people enjoy mountain bike riding in the U.S. If you think you might be one of them and are heading out for the first time, there are some things you should know. Consider these 10 tips every first-time mountain bike rider needs to know.
1. About Those Bike Shorts
You wear shorts and nothing else. In other words, no undies. The goal is to reduce friction that can cause chafing and sores. Underwear will rub and make you uncomfortable during your ride.
2. Take a Stance
Knowing when to take an athletic stance on the pedals is critical if you want a safe and comfortable ride. Stay seated if you are on a smooth trail or flat concrete. If the terrain is rough and uneven, stand on the pedals. You are bent at the waist with your knees slightly bent as well.
3. Balance Properly
It’s tricky when you go up and down those hills. As a general rule, keep your weight forward when climbing. The goal is to keep the front wheel tracking. Shift back if going downhill to balance the bike and keep from going over the handlebars.
4. Avoid Poor Handlebar Habits
Your fingers belong on the grip of the handlebars, not on the brakes. It is too easy to get nervous when going down a small drop and hit the brakes. If you do, you will go head first over the bars. By keeping your fingers off the brakes, you make a conscious decision to employ them instead of just reacting.
5. Take Your Time as You Ride
Don’t worry about what anyone else thinks, go slow and if you need to walk, then do it. This is common when people start out in the sport, so go ahead slow down, exam the drops and walk when you feel like it.
6. Avoid Poor Brake Habits
Bike brakes are not for stopping the bike. They are for slowing it down. If you slam them, the bike may stop but you’ll get hurt, so don’t get in the habit. Learn to use the brakes to control your speed and that means softly push down on them. If you need to stop, use the brakes to slow you down until you can do it safely.
7. Buy (or Rent) Your Bike From a Specialty Retailer
You want someone that knows how to help you pick the right-sized bike and that takes experience. An expert can also go over the various features with you and explain how everything works.
8. Take Your Time as You Learn
You don’t try to climb Mount Everest your first time out. You can apply that same logic to mountain biking. Stick to the small drops first and master them. Keep your days on the bike short as well, so you can get stronger. Once you are more confident, move up to bigger drops and longer rides as you build on your experience.
9. Keep Your Eyes on the Road
It is the most important tip for any biker. Look at the trail, so you can see what is coming. If you don’t look, you’ll get hurt eventually. If you must fidget with something like your backpack or water bottle, stop and plant your feet first.
10. Remember to Have Fun
It is so easy to get caught up in the technical stuff that you forget to just enjoy yourself. Take in the scenery and experience the adventure.
Make sure you dress for the weather, too. 35Lines has warm and stylish Beanies to keep your head warm when the temperatures drop.