Riding a rocky trail is a challenge that many cyclists find appealing. While riding on a rough mountain path can be great exercise and let you take in beautiful natural scenes, it also comes with risks and a level of difficulty that may intimidate you. This article will give you ten tips and tricks to make sure your next mountain ride is safe and rewarding.
Use Eye Protection
Of course, whenever you are mountain biking, being sure you are wearing the right safety equipment is paramount. Especially important is protecting your eyes. You may want to invest in a pair of mountain bike goggles to keep any loose small rocks from injuring you or impairing your vision.
Use Fatter Tires
When it comes to riding on rocks, fatter tires are ideal. They can take a bit more of a beating without puncturing and will help with shock absorption, which your joints will thank you for. Look for tires between 2.1 inches and 2.4 inches.
Find the Right Tire Pressure
When deciding on your tire pressure, there are trade-offs. Lower tire pressure will give you more traction but will make it easier to get a flat tire or take other damage to your wheel. Some charts can help you find a good range of pressure for your tires, depending on their type and width.
Keep Your Body Centered
You want to keep your body upright, and centered on your bike, but relaxed enough to be able to maneuver and keep balance on the uneven terrain. Try to use your arms and legs as a natural suspension system, letting the bike move up and down beneath you. You also want to keep the front wheel agile, but under your control, so you can navigate over obstacles.
Stay On the Smoothest Path
Try to avoid any sharp turns and keep your bike on the straightest path you can while avoiding large obstacles. Sudden turns could make the bike slip out from under you or cause the front wheel to dig in and throw you from the bike. Any turns you make should be as soft and gradual as you can manage.
Keep Your Eyes on the Path
When riding over difficult terrain, many cyclists have the tendency to look down at their front wheel or the ground, but this can lead to obstacles catching you by surprise and could result in a crash. The most common types of injuries when mountain biking is fractures, so make sure you are staying alert and aware of your surroundings to avoid accidents.
Commit to a Gear Speed
Changing gears mid-route can be difficult on rough terrain, so it’s better to choose a higher gear and stick to it. A lower gear could spin at a higher speed, which would cause you to lose much-needed momentum. A higher gear will also encourage you to keep off the saddle of your bike, which helps you be more agile while navigating.
Although it may seem counterintuitive, when approaching an obstacle, you want to speed up. Most people’s instinct is to slow down, but this will only make it more likely that you will not make it over. Accelerating increases your bike’s inertia to let you glide over a large bump.
Stay Calm and Confident
One of the most important tools you have is your attitude. Letting yourself tense up will only hinder your ability to maneuver the bike effectively. By having the confidence that you know what you’re doing, you can let yourself relax and roll with anything unexpected that comes along.
Keep Getting Experience
The only way to improve your mountain biking skill is to get out and do it. By directly experiencing different trails, you will gain valuable muscle memory and be able to feel what to do. Soon you will feel even more confident and assured in your riding and reach new heights in your cycling journey.