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Ms. Monster
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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
In an effort to expunge all bullying type threads...

As we all know, the secret to better riding is simply riding more. Nonetheless, I have had a couple of breakthrough moments that really improved my technical riding (not that I don't still have a long way to go).

- Looking ahead. Really doing it. Harder than it sounds
- Using momentum. As a newb, I used to brake at the bottom of intimidating climbs to give myself time to shift to my granny. Singlespeeding taught me the futility of that approach.
- Cornering properly. It all started with a tip - push down on your inside hand. It progressed with improved bike-body separation and further weighting the outside foot, but playing on pumptracks really made the difference.

I'm sure I'll think of more.

Are there tips or techniques that have elevated YOUR riding?

I started thinking about this when a total newb friend asked for a mountain biking lesson.
 

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LOOK WHERE YOU WANT TO GO!!! To the top of the hill, to the exit of the NEXT corner, past the guy ahead of you.

Heavy feet light hands (Thanks to Lee McCormack) this makes a great attack position

These two things have made my riding way better this summer. Also helped me to explain what other riders are doing to improve there riding.

My girlfriend could never make it up this one hill and I use to encourage her to get in the right gear use as much momentum as she could and push hard when she got going too slow, one day I told her to forget everything and just kept encouraging her to look to the top of the hill not the roots, she got to the top and couldn't figure out why that climb had always been so hard.
 

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max_29
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265 Posts
Great idea, Nerdgirl!

what helps me with cornering (combined with tips from Nerdgirl) - using a belly button as a "third eye" looking in the direction you want to go.

+1 for momentum point. once in a while a take a geared bike for a ride. To avoid all the guesswork which gear to use, i use the same ratio as on my singlespeed. so i have a benefit of a singlespeed and full suspension :thumbsup:

- on a steep descent when moving butt behind a saddle, keep a pressure on a front wheel to prevent a wash-out

- tire pressure - there's no scientific formula how low/high it should be, i'm trying to run it as low as possible for a given trail. it's not fun bouncing around like on a pogo stick on roots and rocks.
 

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Steady Creepin'
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486 Posts
I would suggest that becoming familiar with general trail etiquette should be at the top of a new MTBers to-do list.
 

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Evil Jr.
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6,859 Posts
LuMach said:
I would suggest that becoming familiar with general trail etiquette should be at the top of a new MTBers to-do list.
Do you mean anything beyond the IMBA Rules of the Trail? :confused:

 

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Kidding myself...
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313 Posts
Brakes: Use them very, verrry sparingly. If you ride a little more slowly and use your brakes only when absolutely necessary, your average speed will actually be markedly faster. It's, as Nerdgirl says, all about momentum! Every time you touch your brakes you convert most of your accumulated pedalling effort (ie momentum) into useless heat energy via brake pad friction. Resist all temptation to brake especially when racing longer distances. You will have more energy to finish strong.
 

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Steady Creepin'
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garage monster said:
Do you mean anything beyond the IMBA Rules of the Trail? :confused:
Not really, other than maybe knowing when not to ride (ie. if trails are too muddy). Knowing what to do if you encounter a person on horseback would be good too.

Courtesy of ABC of Mountain Biking:

Equestrians and their Horses
As some horses are scared of bikes, please dismount your Mountain Bike about 50 feet or 15 meters from the horse. Most owners of the horses will thank you for dismounting, and they will appreciate it. You never know whether you are dealing with inexperienced horses or beginners in horseback riding. Thus, be considerate by not startling the animal and/or the person when you pass by.
 

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humber river advocate
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play around with your seat height... lower it for more tech trails or down hills.
 

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Master some basic track-standing skills. That will help you in slow speed scenarios when you hit some technical terrain or get held up for whatever reason, can give you an extra second to think about the line or prevent the dreaded "dab". So many situations where that skill is handy.

Yield to those coming uphill on narrow trails.
 

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Evil Jr.
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Don't wear underwear with cycling shorts. Yes, really. :)
 

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Lemmy Rules!
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Use the brakes like an on-off switch. Look where you want to go. If the front wheel clears an obstacle, the back probably will too. Keep your butt over the seat when standing and climbing. Change out of your bike shorts in the parking lot after the ride, not when you get home. Momentum is your friend. Make circles with your feet. When you pass people, thank them and say "have a good ride".:thumbsup:
 

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Kidding myself...
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garage monster said:
Don't wear underwear with cycling shorts. Yes, really. :)
Some people just refuse to believe that! I'll often counter with, "Do you wear underwear with your bathing suit?" C'est la même chose! :p
 

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Ms. Monster
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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
Unglued said:
Use the brakes like an on-off switch. Look where you want to go. If the front wheel clears an obstacle, the back probably will too. Keep your butt over the seat when standing and climbing. Change out of your bike shorts in the parking lot after the ride, not when you get home. Momentum is your friend. Make circles with your feet. When you pass people, thank them and say "have a good ride".:thumbsup:
Ooh - I actually disagree with the first one. That leads to skidding and endos! Modulation for me. My associated tip is do NOT use your front brake right after clearing a log drop...

Interestingly, when I was getting fitted for my road bike, the guy actually suggested thinking about your pedal stroke in terms of pedaling squares: up, back, down, across.

Oh - and one that actually makes a huge difference is to STAND UP whenever possible. It makes techy stuff, tight singletracks and descents way easier. On my bike, it also makes climbs easier, though I recognise that is not the case for full squish bikes (how DO people climb on those wet noodles???).
 

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Evil Jr.
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Clean (or preferably dishwash) your bottles after every ride.
 

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Her's one that hasn't been mentioned yet...

When riding behind an experienced rider, watch them closely for the lines they choose and techniques they use.
I've found going over an obstacle or through a rock garden is easy when you're following someone that can do it. Try the same obstacle on your own and it looks insurmountable. Confidence is about 75% of the equation once you have some basic skills.
 

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- Your tires like to roll and they can do it best when you stay off the brakes

- Look ahead and where you want to go. Don't fixate on things you want to avoid.

-A bit more intermediate - Lead with the front wheel. It doesn't really matter what happens in the back as long as the front is going where you want it to go...the rest of the bike has to follow!

-Learn basic repair; chainging tube and fixing broken chains are the bare minimum.

-Session things that give you a hard time, unless of course you keep crashing, then move on to something else.
 
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