Six simple ways to get better

Want to know how to get better at mountain biking, but you’re just not sure where to start?

Too many ‘do this, do thats’ bouncing around in your head?  Well, the best thing to do as a beginner is to just get out and ride.  Keep your thoughts simple and relax.  Don’t concern yourself with trying to do everything right all at once.

Just pedal around and have the best fun that you can.  Too much worrying and thinking will actually restrict your thoughts on the bike and deaden your chances of improvement.

Follow these six simple beginner mountain biking tips to get better at mountain biking:

1. Good Company

Good camaraderie raises your confidence and that helps you advance your beginner mountain biking skills.  So ride with fellow riders who encourage you to do better and who don’t mind waiting while you have second or third attempts at tricky parts of the trail.

2. The Right Tires

Choose mountain bike tires suited to your level of skill and the terrain you ride.  They might only be hoops of rubber, but the right mountain bike tires can make a huge difference.

Race tires are built for speed and they generally offer less grip for the beginner style of riding.  And, as a beginner, you’ll probably need all the grip you can get, so purchase some tires that have good all-round grip suited for the type of terrain and conditions you’ll be riding.

The Maxxis ADvantage and Kenda Nevegal are two examples of tires with good all-round performance and excellent grip in most conditions.

To succeed, first you must arrive

Sure, grippy tires don’t roll as quick as race and low profile tires.  But, as a beginner, your focus should be on grip and control first and speed second.  You need as much grip and control as possible to boost your confidence in the rough and enhance what bike skills you do have.  Check out ‘How to choose the right tires’ under the beginner tips list.

3. Pressure Play

Lower tire pressures offer higher levels of grip.  Thirty p.s.i. will give you more grip than fifty p.s.i.  And that extra grip you gain from lower pressures can help you climb a little further up the hill.

Anything that helps you walk less is good!  Just don’t set your pressures too low for your weight and risk punctures or wheel damage!

Besides helping you climb further, lower pressures can teach you

  • what better traction feels like, and
  • what grippy ground looks like

and this will increase your knowledge of the different types of terrain and how to ride them.  And as always, experiment with what works best for you and your trails.  Just remember, higher pressures don’t necessary mean you will ride better or faster.

Super Tip: Tubeless Wheel-sets.  Tubeless tire and wheel sets are great for the Pressure Play because you can ride with lower pressures without increasing your risk of pinch flats.

4. Listen To Your Body

Tired Beginners Crash.  Once you start to get tired, your balance and concentration will slip.  When this happens the smart rider backs off and heads for home.  It’s not quitting.  It’s knowing when to stop.

5. Happy Feet

Loosen your pedals.  If you ride clipless pedals, adjust them so that you can release your shoes quickly and easily.  Yes, it’s another confidence booster.  And it works because you’ll be able to concentrate more on the trail and less on getting stuck in your pedals half-way up a hill and falling over as a result.  Just remember to firm up the pedal clamping tension as your skill improves.

6. Home Maintenance

Fix it before your next ride. Perform any necessary mountain bike maintenance, repairs or adjustments before your next ride.  Leave it for the trail and you will risk your popularity.

Above all…

Keep it fun.  As a beginner mountain biker it’s easy to feel overwhelmed by all the things you think you need to learn.  Just relax.  Relax on the bike, learn the basics of mountain biking well, and enjoy what you’re doing.  Do that and world of mountain biking will open up to you.