As Yoda from Star Wars would say: ‘To mountain bike better and faster, flow as one you must’.
What Yoda means is that to get better bike control, better feel for the bike, better speed, the highest efficiency and least amount of wasted energy, you and your bike must flow as one. You and your bike must operate as one harmonious unit flowing along the trails.
Sounds poetic. But how can you make it happen? Here’s one way that works fast and delivers improvements TODAY…
Kill the Strangler
Many beginner mountain bikers have a habit of strangling the handlebar with a grip that is far too tight. If you’re one of them, that unnecessary nervous tension and energy you are using is not just strangling the handlebar, it’s also strangling your mind, your speed and control.
Your Next Ride
On your next ride perform this simple 3 step process every minute, or as often as you can remember, to help you relax and engage as one with your bike. You’ll be amazed at how often you find yourself strangling the bar.
step 1. In your mind think thumbs, then release your thumbs slightly to have a more relaxed, but still firm bar grip
step 2. In your mind think shoulders, then relax your arms and shoulders to get rid of the shrug
step 3. In your mind think about helping and encouraging your bike where to go, rather then telling it where to go.
Remember: you and your bike should be friends so stop strangling and fighting with it!
Relax to Mountain Bike Better
If you can relax your mind and stop worrying about all that could go wrong, you’ll naturally have more space in your head to process what’s coming next along the trail. That clearer forward focus will help you adapt faster to the trail to mountain bike better.
If Your Head is Stressed and Full of Mess then:
If you can’t relax your mind you just need to do things in reverse. Make yourself relax your body first, just like the 3 steps do, and that in turn will relax your mind.
Go try it now. It’s great for advanced right through to beginner mountain bikers. I often run the three steps through my head before extreme up and down trail just to check that my shoulders and grip is relaxed. If I’ve had a bad day, I say a little ‘thumbs and shoulders’ chant in my head during the early parts of the ride to help me get into the groove to mountain bike better.