Beginner Riders: Where to focus your skills
So you’ve picked up your first bike or dusted off your trusted steed and you are excited to get out conquering the trails. We’re going to cover the basics of what skills are the most beneficial to master at the beginner level which are the ones we like to focus on for our courses, workshops, and lessons!
1) Using your brakeBrakes make a world of difference for riding. Get to know your brakes, trust us! Here are some of our tips:
- Try to apply brakes gradually… a little bit at a time, kind of like a dimmer switch. Once the brakes are applied maintain a consistent power to keep the braking smooth and in control — to avoid skidding or going over your handlebar, ouchhh!
- Body position with braking: heels down and lower hips to add traction to the wheels, keep your pedals level!
- Think heavy feet and light hands
- One finger on your brakes!
- Use both brakes! Front stops you, back helps you to slow down.
- Brakes can be your best friend and worst enemy: avoid braking when in a corner, break before and after not during.
2) Stand up
Get comfortable standing on your bike. This position is one to get know and know well as it is a position we use in many styles of riding. Downhill, climbing, sprinting all rely on this position just to name a few. Here are a few key points for this position:
- All joints bent: Elbow out, knees bent wide, hips bent, and flat back.
- Pedals level and one finger on brake.
- The goal we want to reach here is keeping equal weight on both tires. Steeper inclines will land your back more flat and you will be more centered to the bike —chest over handle bar and hips over saddle.
3) Look Ahead
This is so important! Always look where you want to go, not what is directly ahead of you on the trail. This is where riders can often psych themselves out. Always scan the trails but make sure you are focusing on what’s next. Tips for this are:
- If you focus on something close to you that you want to avoid, chances are you will end up hitting it.
- Focus on the line you want to take, not the features you wish to avoid.
- How far ahead you want to focus depends on your speed, slower you can focus closer and faster you need to focus farther down the line.
Overall these three skills allow for you to have a good foundation to build further skills in the Intermediate level of riding including Cornering and Moving with the Terrain. When these skills are well-practiced and you are ready and feeling comfortable,
Stay tune for our “Intermediate Riders: Where to focus your skills” article to see where is best for you to focus on developing next!
What to get better and have a professional instructor help you with building your skills?