Everyone wants to be able to stick to the hills like glue, because walking your mountain bike to the top just plain and simple sucks.
Commit these four tips to your memory and go ride a hill!
1. Think Positive
At least you’re not at home on the couch feeding your face. You’re giving it a go and that’s a good thing. So don’t get disillusioned. Be patient with yourself and expect that getting better takes a little time. Enjoy what you’re learning and be happy that you are getting better.
2. Relax Your Grip On The Handlebar
Gripping the handlebar too tightly can influence your steering in ways you don’t want it to. It can unbalance you on the bike and make your front end wander and shake.
To keep better control of your bike:
- tell yourself to relax
- keep a firm but relaxed hold
- relax your arms and shoulders
This will loosen up your strangle-hold on the bar and help you flow with the bike. The only place tension should be is in your core (stomach muscles) and in your leg muscles driving those pedals around.
And speaking of pedaling…
3. Select The Gear Before You Need It
Shift to the gear you want to use, before you need to use it. And as you shift, momentarily reduce the pressure on your pedals. Backing off the pedals slightly will lessen the chain tension and allow the chain to swap position more easily.
For the climb select a gear that allows you to
- spin the pedals a bit faster than normal
- settle into a smooth pedaling rhythm that you can sustain to the top
- apply bursts of pedal power to overcome tricky sections
Shifting to the easier gear just before you need it means
- smoother gear changes and less shifting mishaps
- less loss of momentum and speed particularly on hills
- less risk of chain suck or snap
It might feel weird at first but keep at it. With good practice choosing the appropriate gear will become intuitive and you’ll cruise to the top. And to help you cruise to the top you’ll need to…
4. Look Forward
Your bike will follow your eyes. By looking at every stick and stone directly in front of your wheel you’ll end up zigzagging all the way up the hill!
You don’t want that.
Lift your gaze and look only where you want to go. You’ll ride a straighter line, you’ll ride more efficiently, and you’ll be more prepared for upcoming obstacles.
Don’t underestimate the power of these four simple mountain biking tips. When done well they work like pure magic!
More Climbing Tips To Get You To the Top Faster: