Mountain Biking can be an exciting experience. But if you are a beginner, there is also a lot to learn in terms of skills and techniques required to actually be good at it and stay safe. The following tips should come in handy if you are preparing for your first mountain-biking experience – brought to you by Bike and Spanner – the leading Bike Shop Edinburgh
- Your Clothing
While it is not necessary to purchase the full bike kit, some essentials are necessary. To begin with, you must have a helmet and some gloves. Padded shorts are also a good idea to make the ride more comfortable and absorb some of the shock caused by the terrain. Eventually, a full sport kit will come in handy as you progress including knee pads and a cycling jersey.
- What to Bring
A bike doesn’t give you too much room to bring a lot of items on your mountain biking excursion. But some essentials such as water to keep you hydrated and snacks for when you get hungry. A spare tube, a pump and tire levers are also a good idea in case of a puncture.
Mountain biking is an endurance sport. So you may want to build your endurance over time. Take shorter 1-2 hour rides in the beginning while staying in the easy gears. This way, you’ll get a great work-out without working your muscles too quickly. Increase the duration of your rides as you begin to build up the muscle memory you need. The speed of the ride will depend on your goals. Longer rides at a steady pace are often good for burning fat and endurance fitness. Shorter, quicker rides with recovery periods in between are great for cardiovascular fitness.
Being relaxed and flexible on your bike is the key to Great Mountain biking. You have to be prepared to allow the bike to move underneath you as it moves over the terrain. When on a flat surface, you can choose to sit or stand, but ensure that you keep the pedals going at a steady rate as much as possible. Keep your gaze down the trail and not on your front wheel. This will allow you to see obstacles coming and have enough time to prepare for them.
When descending a trail, stand up on the pedals and keep your arms and legs flexed. This allows your limbs to act as additional shock absorbers, allowing you to move easily through the bumps. Keep your elbows and knees bent and your body low, so you are slightly behind the saddle. Also, keep the pedals level, but drop your heels so you are braced against them. This position will make it easier to brake when you hit a bump by allowing you to absorb the force of your body pushing forward when you hit the brake and prevents you from flying off the handlebars and on to the ground.
When climbing, look ahead to anticipate the incline and ensure that you drop into easy gear in advance. Stay seated and move your butt forward and be sure to drop your shoulders low and forward, pulling them down and back on the bars as you pedal. This will give you both traction and the ability to steer, two essential things on a climb.