Mountain biking is an adventure many of us dream of. The thrill of riding over rocky terrains and uneven landscapes is unmatchable. But this thrill comes with quite a bit of responsibility too.
As the name suggests, mountain biking isn’t like riding a bike on a flat surface where the risks are much lesser. It takes a lot of courage and precautions to keep yourself balanced. One wrong move and things can go very, very badly.
However, the risks of death in mountain biking are pretty less, since most bikers tread very carefully. Only 0.02 per 1000 persons suffer from fatal accidents. If you are a beginner biker yourself, here are some tips for you before you head out for biking.
- Stay loose
Your bike’s job is to roll as smoothly as possible over uneven terrains. Your job is to let your bike do its own job.
So remember to keep yourself loose and flexible so that your bike can easily move beneath you. When you ride over obstacles like rocks, keep your behind off the saddle of the bike. The more complicated the terrain, the more space required by your bike for functioning smoothly.
When you ride down a slopey terrain, try to think of “pushup arms” and “cowboy legs”, which means flaring out your arms and legs. Go with your bike’s flow rather than fighting against it.
- Maintain proper momentum
Most of us feel that when the landscape gets rough and challenging, it’s better to slow down. However, a better option is to hold up the speed or even drive faster. This will make the clearing of such tough spots much easier for you and your bike.
If you reduce the momentum hastily, you have chances of toppling over. So make use of the momentum as much as possible.
- Keep shifting your weight
One thing that really needs attention during mountain biking is center of gravity. When you ride up or down steep slopes, you should keep shifting to maintain the center of gravity.
For example, while climbing a tough slope, push your weight forward by leaning in front to maintain traction. When the tilt is downwards, do just the opposite. Shift your weight behind your saddle and over the rear wheel This will help you to avoid major accidents by going over the bars.
- Brake gently
As a beginner, ou might be tempted to pull your brakes hard the way they show in action movies. But resist this temptation! Mountain bike brakes are manufactured in a way that one, or a maximum of two fingers, shall be enough for braking. Adjust your speed when you see rocks or uneven land ahead and maintain that speed as you ride over them.
If the turn is too tough, stay off the front (left) brake. If you stop your front tire abruptly, you have high chances of flying over the bars and landing on the ground. Instead, hit the brakes on the right to help you stay upright.
- Use proper gears
As you must already know, mountain bike terrains are rough and tough, with wide openings at some places and very narrow at others. As a rider, it is your job to anticipate sudden changes in the terrain and maintain the speed.
- Set the suspension properly
Mountain bikes nowadays have been equipped with a front suspension fork as well as a shock absorber at the back. These amazing inventions have made it far simpler and less dangerous to speed over bumps But this will only happen if you set these suspensions in place beforehand.
Before you start riding, take some time to figure out how to lock out or open up the suspension so that your bike is relaxed and you feel comfortable. Otherwise you might fall off with an intensely rigid bike thudding right next to you!
- Carry essentials
The last thing to keep in mind is to make sure you carry proper gear with you. Purchase proper cycling apparel to help you adjust to harsh environments, a wrench, pumps, and any other item that is required. If you end up in an emergency, these tools will be at your disposal.
Over to you…
Mountain biking is definitely a very exciting experience, but you must be careful to follow precautions. If you know the tricks and tips well, you’ll have the time of your life riding in different places and soak in the landscape!