To absolutely everyone who has been driving a motorcycle considering that they were an infant, mountain cycling would not sound *too* intimidating. After all, how tough can it be to translate road skills to the trail? Well, as I fast discovered the primary time I went barreling down a single-tune path, mountain cycling calls for extra ability—and extra of a mastering curve—than one might think. (More on that right here: How Learning to Mountain Bike Pushed Me to Make a Major Life Change)
But after the first ride, I additionally realized mountain cycling is notable fun—and no longer almost as intense as it seems. “Mountain biking doesn’t ought to be scary,” says Shaun Raskin, a manual at White Pine Touring in Park City, UT, and founding father of Inspired Summit Retreats. “People see it as incredibly hard-center and listen about people getting hurt. However, it’s all about how we technique it.” Plus, increasingly, more ladies are hitting the paths. “It’s truly a ladies-friendly recreation, and I’d say a majority of humans I see at the trails in recent times are women,” says Halle Enedy, a mountain bike manual at REI in Portland, OR.
And in case you’re concerned about approximately breaking a wrist or scraping your legs, comprehend it’s now not a requirement. “We can select to be kind to ourselves and learn the abilities that supply us a pleasing smooth development into the game that may allow us to have fun—and live safe,” Raskin explains. But there are a few non-negotiables for heading out. Here’s what you must have, recognize, and do to ensure a wonderful first mountain biking revel.
Set yourself up for success with a pair of chamois, or padded motorbike shorts, Raskin says. (She’s a hundred percent proper—I found those someday too overdue. But after the first day, the team I invested in stored my butt over my next two days of riding.)
Wear shades and an awesome helmet, preferably with a visor to prevent glare from the sun.
Bike gloves also are a have-to-have, Raskin says. Go for full- or half-fingered gloves to prevent your fingers from fatiguing.
Bring an excellent hydration % or water bottle to stay hydrated on your warm, sweaty trip.
Forgo the clip-ins for now and begin with regular footwear, Raskin advises.
You want to journey on a move-united states motorcycle to start. “As the call implies, you’ll be going across hilly terrain, up and down hills,” Raskin explains. “Cross-USA motorcycles are extra light-weight, so it is less complicated to move uphill. However, the descent is fun and playful as nicely.” Don’t start looking to buy, but—you need to check out some options before dropping a pair of Gs on a body, Raskin says. Instead, head to your neighborhood bike store wh; ich will suit you with a rental mountain bike proper on your talent level and size.
An elegance or lesson is another smart investment. “The largest mistake novices can make isn’t taking a lesson,” says Jacob Levy, a downhill educate at Trestle Bike Park in Winter Park, CO. Many motorbike shops provide guided instructions, as do maximum neighborhood REI stores. Your guide will ensure your motorcycle properly suits you to have a fully efficient stance. Levy explains that they’ll explain the generation, including how the gears and brakes paintings. Plus, if you have instructors who can make it approachable, Raskin says it will likely be a lot extra fun.
THE ABCS OF MOUNTAIN BIKING
“A” stands for “lively stance.” You will be in this location as you descend on the bike. In a lively stance, your pedals stay level; you’re status upon lengthy, slightly bent legs; and you are bending on the waist, so your chest is over the bike’s handlebars. “Think approximately striking a strength pose,” Levy indicates—you need to sense confidence and strength to address the limitations you may stumble upon on the path.
“B” stands for braking, an important factor of mountain cycling. “You want to have a light grip with just one finger on each brake without pressing too difficult on both,” Jacob explains. “Use them each together, but be gentle.” In other words, you don’t want to lock the wheels up while you forestall, which can imply you fly over the handlebars. Instead, returning to a sluggish, graceful stop would be best.
“C” stands for cornering. This skill comes up when you come across switchbacks at the trail. Cornering involves three additives: line preference, entering, and exiting, Levy explains. Imagine rolling a bowling ball down the path to pick out the right line preference. “If you ship it rapidly and straight, it’s going to hop properly over the threshold, right?” Levy says. “Instead, think about sending it slowly down the trail, at the higher aspect of the turn, allowing it to go to the decrease side and make the flip slowly—that is what you want to do at the motorcycle.” Try to go into a flip slowly (like a running velocity), beginning on the high aspect of the flip, then crossing into the decrease part as you exit the flip and regain velocity