As a beginner you will be raring to get on your bike and take it for a spin which is fair enough however you might want to learn a few skills that will be able to teach you how to ride it properly. Riding a mountain bike is different to riding a normal bike in various ways, it’s like martial arts, different styles have similar techniques but some things have to be done differently to make sure that they help you properly. So even though you may be able to ride a bike there are skills you’ll need to change for when you convert to a mountain bike.
Where can I practice?
Anywhere you can find space, whether it be your garden, a park or if there is one nearby maybe even a hill to make it slightly more realistic for yourself for when it comes down to mountain biking.
So what skills will you have to learn and master to make sure you are ready for mountain biking?
Understanding the pedals
You may find that your mountain bike pedals are different to what you have on your bike. Some of you may have clipping pedals to make sure your foot doesn’t slip off when you’re travelling at high speeds up and down hills. You’re going to want to make sure that you get a feel for the pedals if this is a change. Practice taking your feet in and out and pedalling as this is going to help you learn understand them.
With normal biking when you coast you usually sit down on the seat and enjoy it, however when it comes down to mountain biking the art of coasting requires you to stay standing on your pedals and not sitting down as this will give you more control of your bike. When coasting you need to make sure that you keep your body relaxed and that your arms and knees are slightly bent so that they can absorb any shock that you may encounter on your trail.
You need to make sure that you understand how the gears work and which ones that you will have preference to. In biking the lower the gear the easier it is for you to pedal and this is normally used for when you are going up hills as it makes it easier for you to make quick pedals to push you up. The higher the gear you will find is slightly harder but you will gain more speed from less energy, this range of gears is used when going down hill so it this is something you are going to be doing make sure that you can use them properly.
Standing up and pedalling
We all used to stand up while pedalling on bikes but for some this might feel weird after having rode sitting down for a while. As mentioned above if you are standing up you have a lot more control of your bike especially for mountain biking so practice standing up and riding up and down hill.
Ride it around
The best way to practice is to just go around riding your bike and getting a feel for everything, if you have the chance practice on raised ground such as bridges and hills as you are going to have to get used to the incline and decline of the terrain.
As long as you learn a few skills before and get an understanding for your bike you will find yourself more than prepared to start going on trails to put what you have learned into play.