Cycling is a complex sport. It can sometimes be intimidating, especially when you’re new to mountain biking. But given the numerous benefits you can get out of cycling, it’s hard not to be inspired to hop on a bike. With just a few mountain biking tips for beginners, you can start riding like a pro.
If you need some mountain biking tips for beginners, then you came to the right place. In this blog post, we listed down some helpful tips that will ensure a more enjoyable, better, and safer time on your bike.
Here are 6 mountain biking tips for beginners.
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A little preparation goes a long way to a fun, safe, and comfortable ride. Not only should you be prepared physically, you also need to make sure that your bike is in tip top shape. As such, make it a habit to inspect your bike before you leave. The last thing you want is to get stranded on the road or trail due to a flat tire or a broken chain.
Check the tires and make sure that they are inflated according to the specifications. Give each wheel a spin to see that it doesn’t wobble. While you’re at it, move them from side to side to check for looseness. Also, test the brakes to make sure they are functioning properly. This is one of the most important biking tips for beginners. Never skip this step.
Learn how to shift your gears
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Almost every bike has gears. You’ll be using these gears a lot while riding the bike. If you want a fun, fast, and smooth ride, then you need to learn how to shift your gears. This is one of the most important biking tips for beginners who want to power their way up a steep climb or accelerate to wind whistling speed along a flat surface.
Bikes have gears to allow for easy pedalling no matter what terrain you’re riding. Use a harder gear on a flat road or undulating terrain. You want some resistance, but not too much. Shift to an easier gear as you climb a hill. By doing so, you’ll be able to climb slowly and steadily with less effort.
The best way to get grips with this is to experiment. Changing gears can be as intuitive as pedalling with a little practice.
Change position while riding
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Beginner riders often complain about pains, aches, and numbness on the back, neck, arms, and butt. The longer the ride, the more your body is bound to hurt afterwards. Besides bike fitting, proper body position on the mountain bike will save you from nasty pain the next day.
Staying in the same position over a long period of time can cause your arms, hands, and butt to numb. Move your rear end around the saddle. Move your hands around the bars. Try to change your position every now and then to prevent numbness.
If you see yourself doing long distance bike rides from time to time, consider investing on a good pair of cycling or bib shorts. These shorts are padded, so you’ll stay comfortable on the saddle for longer. This is especially beneficial for longer bike rides.
Learn how to use the brakes efficiently
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Most cyclists want to ride fast. The faster they go, the cooler they think they are. But if you want to get faster on the bike, it is important that you learn how to use the brakes efficiently.
The brakes are one of the most important features of a bike. It is a safety feature that allows you to stop at a moment’s notice. The problem is that novice riders are prone to panic braking. Often, they would grab a handful of the front brake; hence, sending them flying over the handlebars. This is one of the most common causes of crashes of novice riders.
Your bike has 2 brakes: front and rear. The brake accounts for about 70% of the stopping power while the rear brake has about 30%. Using just the front brake is a recipe for disaster, especially when you’re riding fast. Use both brakes for maximum stopping power.
Keep your hands on the handlebars while riding. We’ve seen a lot of amateur riders placing their hands on the brake levers. Although this position allows you to brake faster in emergency situations, you are also likely to panic and flinch. You don’t want that.
Learning when and how to use both or either brakes can do wonders for your biking experience. It allows you to go faster without having to worry about crashing. Plus, it gives you more control over your ride; thus, making the ride safer and more enjoyable too.
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With the weather starting to warm up, it is important now more than ever to stay hydrated. Take a few sips during the first hour of riding and continue drinking every 15 to 30 minutes. Do not wait until you’re thirsty to drink. If you do, you’ll finish a long ride dehydrated. The key is to drink little and often right from the start.
Keeping hydrated before your ride is just as important as drinking while riding. Drink 12-16 oz. of water at least 4 hours before your ride. Aim to drink 500 ml of water before hopping onto your bike.
Cycling may be a low impact exercise, but it uses all of the major muscle groups as you pedal. You will definitely burn calories and sweat a lot while cycling. This can significantly affect your ability to ride. If you want to your brain and your muscles to function well throughout the ride, drinking enough water is essential. You’ll be compromising your performance if you’re not keeping hydrated.
Never wear headphones while riding
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Listening to music while exercising isn’t exactly a new concept. It improves one’s mood, increases endurance, increases speed and length or exercise, and can lead to less physical burnout. However, you’re not supposed to listen to music while riding a bike. This is especially true if you’re on the road.
Cyclists typically use both visual and auditory information to ride safely. For your safety, you need to keep your eyes peeled for the white lines, red lights, and stop signs. But you also need to stay alert about what’s going on around you. When you’re wearing a headset and listening to music, you’re attention is distracted. You may not be able to hear other vehicles approaching; thus, jeopardizing your safety.
For your safety, as well as the people around you, make sure that you adhere to these mountain biking tips for beginners. Also, we encourage you to check out our list of some of the most common cycling mistakes most rookie riders make. Use these tips you can stay safe, maintain your fitness, and be more knowledgeable out on the road or trails.