Basic riding techniques
Posted Date: 6/21/20138:29 AM


Always remember to ride within your level. It is better to get off and walk an area that you aren’t comfortable with than to risk injury.

1. Balance
Balance is crucial in mountain biking, not just left-right balance, but front to back balance. Weight over the rear wheel is what gives you traction: if your back tire is slipping, try moving back on the seat, or if you are standing, transfer more of your weight to the rear of the bike. If your front wheel comes off the ground, then you need to transfer more weight to it.

2. Setting Proper
To find the right seat height position you need to sit on your bike with your feet on the pedals. Position of one pedal is at the very bottom of its stroke. Your seat height should be adjusted so that in this position your knee is bent at around a 25 to 30 degree angle. It’s that simple.

It is important to note that this applies to pedaling situations only. 
There are a lot of situations on a mountain bike and other off road cycles that you should have a lower seat position for safety as well as improved agility.

3. Always commit to a track or line.
This means that you need to think a few steps ahead and set out the line that you want to ride. If you hesitate for example because you are afraid of the obstacles that are ahead of you, it quite often happens that things go wrong. Your posture might change because you are afraid and thinking about your  fear instead of just mountain biking. Especially going downhill, if you hesitate halfway through, you will surely fall off.

4. Think 2-3 moves ahead.
Don’t focus on a single obstacle for a long time. Always be aware of the next thing you have to do.

5. Don’t lock your sights on the rider in front of you.
You just might end up hitting a piece of rock that the rider in front  of you has just managed to avoid. Look 1-2 meters ahead of you. Don’t focus on your front wheel or the rear wheel of the rider in front of you.

6. Don’t grip the handlebars too tight.
This will make your upper body tense and will tire you faster. Loosen up but, not to loose.

7. Don’t put your thumb above the handle bar.
This will make it easier for you too loose grip if you hit something unexpectedly.

8. Slightly bend your elbows and loosen you shoulders, but not to hunch.
This will assist in absorbing the shocks that you might experience in the trial.

9. Descending
Stay back on the bike. On steep descents, you may have to be behind your seat. Use your brakes before corners, not in them (see braking). Don’t descend anything you are not sure of; walk if in doubt.

10. Cornering
Learn the technique of “counter steering”. Brake before corners, not in them. Look where you want to go, not at what you don’t want to hit. Bikes have a way of going wherever you look. Slow down to a safe speed, and then accelerate out of corners. Don’t skid, it looks fast, but it isn’t. Lean into turns; you can “lead” with your inside knee to help with this.

11. Braking
Most of your braking force is in the front brake. Use both brakes simultaneously, and brake before corners, not in them. Do not lock your back brake to skid! It is destructive to the trail, and not as effective at slowing you down.

12. Shifting
You should always pick a gear that allows you to “spin” your pedals at between 60 and 90 rpm. (Note: racers may spin more). Lower gears are “easier” to spin on hills, while higher gears are “harder”. The smallest chain ring (on the crank-set, where the pedals are) is your lowest gear range, while the largest chain-ring is your highest gear range. The largest cog on freewheel (on the back wheel) is your lowest gear, while the smallest cog is your highest gear.
It is the combination of your chain ring (gear range) and cog (gear) that gives you the overall gear ratio you are in. Try shifting to a lower gear before you are in the middle of a steep hill.

13. Mud
Do not ride in mud! It leaves deep groves which water follows, causing erosion. If you hit a small patch of mud on an otherwise dry trail, pull up lightly on the bars and either maintain speed or pedal through. If the mud is deep, walk your bike around it. Do not try to ride around – this causes the trails to get widened beyond what they were originally intended.

14. Sand
Similar to mud, but try a slightly higher gear than you would normally ride in.

15. Rocks, holes, and bumps 
When going over rocks, holes, or bumps that may trap your front wheel, you need to move your weight back so that the wheel can “float” over the  obstacle. Sometimes you will need to pick up the front wheel (called “lofting”)
to get it over the obstacle. Your rear wheel will often just roll through the obstacle.

16. Water and water crossings
Avoid riding through streams where possible; a tire’s passage causes sedimentation of the stream. If you must cross, maintain momentum in a low gear, and use a light touch on the handlebars. Let rocks deflect your tire gently.
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