Learning How to Mountain Bike Safely
Well, now the bike seems to be set up properly and a friend says " I'll teach you, just follow me on this great trail". So. Ok you think "how much more could there be to it then just riding a bike?" STOP! This is a serious misconception and just knowing how to ride a bike on pavement doesn't equate to being able to do real mountain biking. A dangerous possible consequence and definitely a very poor way to start would be to follow a friend on a trail or more commonly know as a single line or singletrack. Even more absurd and dangerous would be to go to a ski area, purchase a lift ticket, and come flying down the hill.
Mountain biking is almost akin to learning principals of horseback riding then it is to the basics of road riding. Another key concept is mountain biking is supposed to occur in hilly terrain. After all isn't this why a mountain bike is called a mountain bike. This is where the departure from road riding begins. Granted, road rides can go over hilly areas, however due to the hard paved smooth surface, and extremely narrow tires, loss of speed and momentum is kept to a minimum. With mountain biking though, the loss of momentum and the effects of gravity on a trail climb or descent, coupled with large wide tires, and all of the extra visual stimuli /obstacles: bumps, sticks, trees, and rocks will have a severe effect on your forward motion. What often worked while road biking doesn't for mountain biking and is often quite the opposite.
Mountain Biking...Much More Is Going On Then Meets The Eye
Many of us fall into the category of "this looks like a fun and challenging sport, I guess I'll just follow behind or in front of my friend and listen to their advice and eventually I'll figure out how to do it". This initial experience, although exiting, can be frustrating and often very painful. And some will gladly throw in the towel before going out again to be bashed up.
Mountain biking is one of those sports that will require a lesson or two, and then lots of practice. It's definitely in the category of downhill skiing and you certainly wouldn't strap on a pair of skis for your first ever run, go to a black diamond slope, and expect to make it down with all smiles. We're all aware that ski mountains offer ski lessons and there are proven techniques that when practiced, work. Believe it or not but the same is true for mountain biking. So where do you go for the lessons? Bike shops sell the bikes, but how many of them provide a lesson to go with the bike? Although many of our dedicated riding friends may have good intentions and want to sincerely help, quite often they're unable to clearly explain and almost unconscious of what their body is now doing rapidly as if on auto pilot.
So you've been wondering about getting a mountain bike and thinking what it might be like to try some "real "mountain biking.
First up to consider is your body size and its' relation to the bikes fit and it's setup for you.
Bike Fitting & Setup for Safe, Efficient, And Fun Mountain Biking.
Please keep in mind that there will be a number of similarities in bike sizing and setup that may be applicable to just riding a regular road bike, hybrid, etc. There are however enough differences to seriously consider mountain biking as its own very separate sport.
There's a lot of small factors to consider for your first x-country mountain bike and ride- frame sizing, three seat adjustments, footwear/pedals, handle bars/stem angle. brake levers