Learning how to ride ruts is all about giving up some control and letting your mountain bike and you flow like water. Much like riding through sand.
The challenge of riding relaxed, yet controlled can make for a lot of fun, and can also help you develop awesome mountain bike skills.
How To Ride Ruts on a Mountain Bike – the 5 Rules
On approach to a rut that you can’t avoid, use these tips to give it a quick scan, then slip into the rut and
1. Relax. Once in the rut, tell yourself you’ll make it through as long as you relax. Think ‘thumbs’ and release some tension from your hands to allow a bit more loose-ness in your steering
2. Look Ahead. The Golden Rule of Mountain Biking: look ahead at where you want to go, not at what you want to miss. Ignore minor trail features and think of flowing like Water along the path of least resistance.
3. Crank It. Ride with level cranks but be ready to crank the pedals to avoid pedal strike or for short bursts of forward power
4. Weight your Feet, Not your Hands. Ride off the saddle in attack position, with your weight on the pedals rather than on the handlebar. The rougher or more downhill the rut, the further back you should shift your hips. With less weight on your front wheel and a looser grip on the bar you’ll help the front roll over rough bottom and follow the sides and flow of the rut more easily.
5. Float and Wiggle. Let yourself float over the bike just like in the video below while it moves freely beneath you. Use your arms and legs as suspension and get ready to wiggle your knees, twist your hips and upper body to keep balance-
Weight your Feet, Relax and Lose Control!
It can be a challenge finding the confidence to relax your grip and loosen the steering. Just remember to put your weight through your feet, and keep your eyes looking ahead along the rut. Practice on smaller ruts to grow your confidence and skill for larger ruts.
How to Ride Ruts on a Mountain Bike: the video