Boost Your Biking Skills by Avoiding a Few Mistakes

If you are keen to learn mountain biking, then remember, there are plenty of things to learn about its technique, similar to any other sport. Often, people may develop certain bad habits if they are not taking training from a professional trainer.

Niall O'Riordan UBS

Mountain biker Niall O’Riordan is quite passionate about his craft. He has a great deal of knowledge and experience, which has allowed him to acquire excellent bike-handling skills.

The following are a few mistakes that you must avoid while you are learning this new sport.

1. Keep your toes on the pedal’s end 

Optimal foot placement on the pedals is crucial for improved riding performance. Instead of balancing on your toes or having the ball of your foot directly over the pedal axle, try positioning your forefoot slightly forward, just ahead of the axle.

This adjustment engages the correct muscles for enhanced stability and strength, which is particularly beneficial for gravity riding.

2. Pedaling through technical sections

When riding through technical sections at slower speed, there is a higher risk of pedal strikes on rocks or roots. To minimize this risk, consider shifting into a slightly harder gear than usual before entering the technical terrain.

This adjustment, although more demanding on muscles, reduces your rhythm and decreases the likelihood of pedal strikes, enhancing control and maneuverability.

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3. Not keeping your sight far enough down the trail

Anticipating the trail ahead is crucial in mountain biking to avoid surprises and crashes. Instead of staring down at the immediate trail, train yourself to look further ahead by using a mantra as a reminder.

This practice allows you to anticipate obstacles earlier, enabling you to adjust your line choice and speed proactively for a smoother and safer ride.

4. Sitting down too much

When mountain riding, there are many benefits to using your legs as shock absorbers rather than only the saddle for comfort. You improve your bike control and agility by using your legs to absorb bumps and uneven terrain.

Pro riders often stand to maneuver effectively, showcasing the importance of this skill for speed and confidence on challenging trails.

5. Being too tense on the bike during death grip

Experiencing soreness in the hands, arms, and shoulders while mountain biking is often attributed to gripping the handlebars too tightly, known as the ‘death grip.’

Practicing encourages a relaxed grip, enhancing control and reducing upper body strain. Find the balance between a secure hold and a relaxed grip to improve comfort and maneuverability on technical terrain.

6. Choosing an inappropriate bike

Choosing the right mountain bike, with wide tires, suspension, optimized geometry, disc brakes, and suitable gearing, is essential for singletrack trails.

Additionally, ensuring proper sizing and fit by getting professionally measured and adjusted at a local bike store is crucial for comfort and performance.

7. Riding outside your skill level

Riding within your skill level is essential in mountain biking to ensure safety and enjoyment. Gradually build your skills and confidence before attempting more challenging trails.

Joining a club and riding with experienced riders can provide valuable support and guidance. Starting with a slower group allows for a comfortable pace and opportunities to learn from others.

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