It’s not unusual for Road riders to want to venture into Mountain biking, after all, it is just another form of riding to explore. However, mountain bike riding is very different and does require quite a different approach to road riding.
Mountain biking is a very friendly, relaxed recreational sport. It’s not about racing or being first across the finish line, it is about smelling the roses in a non competative environment, spending time with your friends and family, or just getting out in the bush for some fresh air, searching for that ideal single track.
There are some beautiful trails and single tracks in and around Melbourne to explore and practice your “switch”. Not too far from the city is Lysterfield Park – the perfect place to get on your bike. There are varying levels of tracks from fire trails and basic green tracks all the way up to black and double black tracks used when they held the Commonwealth games there in 2006.
So here are my 6 basic tips for crossing the line to the dark side and once you’ve tried it you may never go back!
Relax your approach
- MTB riders are a friendly social group.
- Take your time to enjoy the scenery and take some selfies
- Everyone waits for each other, its not always race
- Learn and perfect your attack position
- Think level pedals, elbows out, eyes up
- Use this position as your default for obstacles, corners and everything else
Start with the basics, everyone needs to get their foundations right
- Go and do a basic skills course
- Hang out with others that ride regularly and follow their lines
- Practice, practice, practice
Pick trails that are to your ability
- To get better, you need to be confident
- You also need to be able to commit to certain obstacles and skills, if you don’t you will fail
- Gradually build your skills, master one, then move onto another
Pedal all the way
- Whatever you do, don’t stop pedaling
- When you go over obstacles, up hills and inclines you need to have traction – no traction and you come to a stop
- By pedaling, you get stronger
Look where you want to go
- MTB riding is all about vision
- Sight the corner or obstacle and then look beyond it, if you continue to focus on it, that is where you will go.
- Keep your vision up and scanning all the time
Mountain biking can be so much fun. The more you do, the more you will want to do, so get yourself kitted up in a good pair of baggies and a comfortable jersey to head out onto the trails for a ride to remember!
By Wendy Snowball, Personal Trainer @spincyclewarrandyte
Wendy Snowball is a She Science Ambassador, Personal Trainer, Mountain Biker, Warrandyte MTB Club Secretary and also coaches MTB skills. She races with her daughter Courtney – who is also a She Science Ambassador. You can follow the ladies @spincyclewarrandyte, @courtney_snowball and at spincyclewarrandyte.