Tips to be a better Mountain Biker
Whether you’re a veteran mountain biker or you’re still a bit green around the handlebars, it’s important to remember that there’s always room for improvement. The most obvious improvements start on the trail – but there’s plenty of other ways to ramp up your mountain bike game.
Most riders will focus entirely on their technical skills and neglect anything else – but you’re looking for that extra something to elevate you above all others, right?
Well, look no further! Below is a list of seven extra something’s to get you on the path of mountain bike mastery.
7 Tips to be a Better Mountain Biker
#1 Your Bike is your Temple
No bike, no riding. You don’t need us to tell you that – but to get the most from your bike, you need to take good care of it. Treat it like it’s an extension of your body – an extra, mechanical limb which requires constant maintenance and tender care.
Get into the habit of going over your bike from back to front, checking every part to make sure nothing needs tightening, fixing or replacing.
Doing so will not only give you the peace of mind that your equipment is performing at its best, but it will also mean you can catch any small problem before it becomes a bigger, more expensive one.
Plus, it reduces any chance of an unfortunate trip to the emergency room. Always a bonus!
#2 Adapt your workouts
The fitter you are, the harder you can go, the faster you’ll improve, and the less likely you are to injure yourself. Overall cardiovascular fitness will take you far (literally), but a good diet and focusing on specific kinds of exercises will be a huge bonus.
Squats, push-ups, pull-ups, deadlifts and lunges will do the trick. Whilst lower-body conditioning is key, be sure not to neglect your upper-body too. And, of course, regular sessions on the exercise bike will specifically target the muscles you’ll be using on the trail.
#3 Keep up with the culture
The beautiful thing about the time we live in is that there’s a community for everything.
Throwing yourself into the mountain biking culture will give you the opportunity to meet like-minded people, learn new things, share your views and keep up-to-date on the latest news.
Being part of a community means you can discuss all things cycling and not get strange looks. For example, you might discuss the latest edgy handlebars if you’re a fixie rider or optimal cadence speed if you’re a roadie.
Stuff that would surely send any normal person well on their way to sleep!
Getting involved in the riding culture will also help you to keep your passion for the sport alive and strengthen your ambitions to improve. Join forums, subscribe to magazines, start a blog, tag along to local meetups. Just get involved!
#4 Get into filmmaking
Here’s where we get creative. The simplest way to do this is to pick yourself up a sports action camera, fit it to your helmet or handlebars, and get going (bonus tip: remember to hit record).
This is an excellent way to see how you improve your mountain biking over time and perhaps inspire a few of your mates to start mountain biking with you.
When you’ve gotten the hang of filming, consider starting up a YouTube or Vimeo channel and start posting ride-throughs of existing trails or trails you’ve found yourself.
If you find you’re enjoying your new filmmaking hobby, you can step it up to the next level. Set up a fixed camera, get a friend to shoot some footage of you riding, or even invest in a drone which can track your journeys from the sky.
This will require you to spend a little time learning basic video editing – but once you’ve got it down, you’ll be churning out Spielberg-level biking films in no time.
#5 Get in the zone
It’s often said that any activity which requires complete concentration can be considered a form of meditation, and mountain biking is no exception to this. When you’re shredding a particularly difficult trail, or faced with some unforeseen obstacle, you’ll need 110% focus on the path before you.
To help you slip into this zen state, learn some meditation techniques and get into the habit of settling your mind and body for at least ten minutes before every ride. Also, make sure you get plenty of rest before a day of biking and, as always, stay hydrated.
#6 Ride well, ride often
This one’s simple: use your bike as much as you can. Whether you’re heading to the store, commuting to work, or just feeling restless and needing some fresh air, regular riding will condition your body and mind to become a better athlete.
They say it takes 10,000 hours to master a craft, so you can scratch off a good chunk of that time both on and off the trail.
#7 Humble yourself
It will help you a lot to ride with people who are better than you – in fact, the wider the skill gap between you and those you ride with, the better.
Watch them like a hawk with wheels, study how they react to different situations, how their muscle memory kicks in when the declines get intense and the jumps get crazy.
Sit down with them and pick their brains on mountain biking and ask them how they got better. Monkey see, monkey do, monkey ride.
Bio: Hi I’m Mike, and I’m currently cycling around Vietnam. When I’m not weaving through traffic I’m running my bike blog – Pinch-Flat. The very kind Alexa has let me guest post for you today. I hope you like it!
Cover photo of Rachel Atherton by Red Bull. Other images courtesy of Unsplash.com.
Other great articles on being a better mountain biker:
Got any tips on how to become a better mountain biker? We’d love to hear them in the comments below.