6 Ways To Improve Your Mountain Bike Skills
New to mountain biking? Reached a plateau in your skill level? Focus on these few tips on how to improve:
- Ride on Different Terrain
Improving your mountain biking skills will happen when you diversify the types of riding you are doing. Rather than continuously riding that one trail that you could probably do with your eyes closed, try heading somewhere new. Real skills will improve once you start testing yourself on new trails and varying terrain. If you’re used the manufactured trails of Ballyhoura, try heading to Cratloe woods for some rocky roots trails (check Strava for routes). Riding on different terrain will test your bike handling skills, balance and ability to adapt.
- Ride With More Advanced Riders
Although this could be initially daunting, joining a group of riders that will make you push your limits and challenge yourself will be one of the fastest ways to improve. Join a local club or group, go with them on their beginner or intermediate rides (depending on your level) and gradually push yourself to go on more advanced rides. This is all learning experience, so don’t beat yourself up if you’re the last in the pack. We all start somewhere!
- Trust Yourself
If you want to improve your skills, now you need to trust yourself. Start testing your limits by facing new obstacles. Trust yourself, follow through, and don’t hesitate coming up to the rocks and roots. Use your own judgement, watch a fellow mountain biker clear the obstacle, and ask for advice.
- Practice, Practice, Practice
Find a trail that is challenging that can be part of a small loop, or somewhere that you can go back over and over. Do this until you are comfortably clearing that section, then move to the next. Even just finding a quiet car park and practicing bunny hops, tight turns, wheelie drops, will all help with your handling skills on the trail.
- Hit The Gym, or Workout at Home
Becoming a better mountain biker doesn’t just happen on the trails. Focus on improving your fitness level and skill level at the same time. Concentrate on strength and conditioning, and cardio exercises, this is especially useful in the off season when the trails are really muddy, snowy and wet and you don’t fancy hitting the trails. Doing a whole body workout will ensure that you’re still fit and ready to ride once spring hits!
- Learn About Bike Maintenance
It is important to know basic bike maintenance. Take some time to learn about your bike, about the mechanics of it and how everything works. Learn how to do a safety inspection, how to check if there is something wrong. It’s hard to improve your skills if you’re bike isn’t working as it should! I regularly run maintenance classes for LCFE and The Crescent Comp, I also run private lessons, get in touch to learn more.
I run beginners mountain bike skills courses, so if you want some proper hands on learning get in touch and we can arrange a date and time that suits you.