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Newbie here wanting to learn the techniques and even maintanance of a mtb. Are there videos showing how? Books? Got a dvd from Randy last week about mountain biking in Oregon. Thanks Randy!!!! Great dvd and saw rider's with techniques.
 

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roar
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Hi. I just got into riding in May, and was in the same boat. I didn't really have the confidence to ride with other people, so I just started riding solo 2-3 hrs a day, every day. I stuck to moderately technical trails which were moderately used so if I wrecked myself, someone could help me. My body was bashed and bruised, but after about one month, I connected with some local ridiers through an outdoors group I found in yahoo groups, and was surprised that not only could I keep up, I was a decent rider! Mtbikers are generally really great, helpful people, so it was not hard to make friends and learn the basics from them... about riding and basic wrenching. Also, I have found the majority of my mtbiking friends to be excited to teach me how to ride better and show me new trails. Where are you from? I would post in your local forum, and learn where people meet for no drop rides.
RRB
 

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adult onset ADHD
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LOK said:
Newbie here wanting to learn the techniques and even maintanance of a mtb. Are there videos showing how? Books? Got a dvd from Randy last week about mountain biking in Oregon. Thanks Randy!!!! Great dvd and saw rider's with techniques.
Look for the local club, and ride with other people. Don't be intimidated, there will likely be other beginners that will want to ride at your level, not everyone is fast or wants to ride the steeps... just yet.
 

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For maitaining your bike, get the Blue Book to bicycle repair and maintanence (or something like that). The best way to learn how to ride is to practice.
 

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local trails rider
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Get out and ride.

Going alone it is probably best to stick to stuff that you know you can handle. Walking the bike is sometimes the smart thing.

You can learn a lot by riding behind an experienced rider. If you go with a big group, try not be the last in a long line. It is actually a very hard place because then you have to be catching up all the time.
 

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Glad to Be Alive
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get in riding groups....ride with people better than you

don't worry about being suckie...everyone starts this way and older riders will love your enthusiasm you will bring....
 

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I just got "Mastering Mountain Bike Skills" by Lee McCormick and Brian Lopes for Christmas. It's freakin awesome and will give you the knowledge to keep from killing yourself when you go riding with people better than you.
 

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It's about showing up.
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Ride road and easy trails

This is never a very popular suggestion but it will save you many of the bumps and bruises posters describe above. It is much like holding a Painting Party; no one wants to do the prep work, they just want to start throwing paint around and drink beer.
I don't know where you are but this time of year the trails can be pretty messy. Riding in such conditions is hard on your bike and increases the need for cleaning and maintenance, all of which takes away from your riding time.
Your preliminary off road conditioning and training will do wonders to develope your ability to manage and respond to the dynamic changes in grade, surface, and power needed for MTB.Work on shifting early and often and practice braking techiniques such as feathering and emphisizing front and reart braking. Get your but out of the sadddle and practice moving your weight around and behind the saddle.
Or you can flail and crash a bunch.
 

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Faller - Expert Class
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Riding and reading...

Best way to get better is just by experience. Getting out there and riding is your best bet.

For the times you can't get out and ride, but have time to read, the Ned Overend book "Mountain Bike Like A Champion" is a great read.

Later!

:cool:
 

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Bike to the Bone...
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I think that if you could find a mtb clinic it would also boost your riding. I don't know how expensive that may be, but having an instructor watch you and give you tips and advice helps a lot.

Reading books also helps. 'Mastering Mountain Bike Skills' by Lee McCormak/Brian Lopes and "Mountain Bike like a Champion" by Ned Overend are great books for riding.

As most people say, riding a lot and sometimes with riders better than yourself is one of the main activities you may do to improve yourself.

Above all others, have fun!
 

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Ditto the reply from mondaycurse re Park's Big Blue Book of Bicycle Repair - it's a sensational book that is not too technical and is beautifully written and photographed.

I too am a beginner and this book has proved invaluable as I live in a remote location (Mid North Coast, NSW, Australia) and my local bike shop dude is useless so I have to to maintenance and basic repairs myself - I sourced the book from Amazon. I also purchased the Barnett's Analysis & Procedures manual but it is a little overwhelming but still very useful as it describes in great detail how to pull apart and service every part on your bike along with pitfalls to avoid on the way and I got it cheap from Amazon.

Park Tools website is also very handy as it has a maintenance section that anybody can look up.
 

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He be a moose too.
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Just go!

I'm not so sure about books and videos for training. I'm not badmouthing them, I just don't know either way. I was the first person with a mountain bike in my area, so I had to learn on my own. Few things off the of the top my head:

When you ride with others, ride with others who are somewhat better than you. Not neccesarily experts, but still decent riders.

Ride as many different types of trails as you can, but also choose one trail and keep riding it until you have it wired. This way you can hone a certain skillset in a way that you can't on trails that are always new.

If you have trouble with one trail section or type of trail, turn around and ride it ten times. I was an expert class racer and said, "I have trouble with that section." My riding friends, said, "Well, let's turn around and practice it." It was so simple, but I didn't do that...D'uh!

Think about what you are doing. Some might say you have to feel the trail, yes, of course you do. That's come from experience but if a tricky section is coming up, think what you did before that worked (or didn't work). Talk out loud to yourself (as long as your alone :). There was a section of trail that had changed when a tree down, I would approach that section and say out loud, 'Around the rock to the left then cut sharply to the right to avoid the end of the log, then..."

Always, always, always look where you want to go and don't look at where you don't want to go. It's called "object fixation". Snowmobilers will hit a tree in the middle of an empty field, why? Because they were looking at the tree. I'm a hang glider pilot, but was out of it for a few years. This summer I started it up again and my instructor would say to me before takeoff, "Why are you looking at the house if you want to go towards the tree?" He would always look where I was looking before I took off. After the lessons, I would go out on the trails, on which I have years of experience, but still, when I would focus on the tree off the side of the trail, I would veer towards it. This is something that we should all focus on (or not focus on...depends on what the object is :).

Keep safety in mind and know your limits and that of your equipment. In many sports, mtb'ing and hang gliding included, the person most at risk is the one who is starting to approach the intermediate level. They are developing skills and losing their caution, but not neccesarily at the inverse level.

Feel the trail!

Enjoy....

Penguin
 

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Bike to the Bone...
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pinguwin said:
I'm not so sure about books and videos for training. I'm not badmouthing them, I just don't know either way. I was the first person with a mountain bike in my area, so I had to learn on my own. Few things off the of the top my head:
.......
Keep safety in mind and know your limits and that of your equipment. In many sports, mtb'ing and hang gliding included, the person most at risk is the one who is starting to approach the intermediate level. They are developing skills and losing their caution, but not neccesarily at the inverse level.
Feel the trail!

Enjoy....

Penguin
I liked this two phrases... Well, I think that books and videos are a good method if you understand that they're just for pointers, and can't really teach you all there is. They can't substitute real riding on your trails (nothing can). What you can get from books/videos are nice tips and advice on things that you can then PRACTICE on the trail. If you don't practice what you read, it doesn't matter if you read the whole mtb literature or the whole Harry Potter series.

Also, when you're getting better you're most at risk of falling (but you really never out of that risk). I think of it like when you're a baby and crawl, you can't fall much. When you're learning to walk... that's another story. So take it easy and don't be afraid to walk some sections.

Ride with people better than you, but not that much better. If there's a big gap in riders levels, some riders feel slowed down and the other rushed and may do something crazy to try to shorten the gap. End result, no one enjoys the ride. When the gap is not so large, you can learn a lot watching them, and they can give you on-site pointers and coaching :)

What I can give on advice is, try not to try too many things each ride. concentrate on something on each ride, so it's easier, not overwhelming and you can actually enjoy the ride.
 

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I'm on fire.
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If you're not comfortable yet with riding with the local groups, the best thing you can do is give yourself confidence by getting into really good shape. If you can maintain a high endurance level, that's usually the key to riding with a group (you don't want to be the last one in line...) The skills and technical stuff will come to you better once you're in shape and don't poop out too quick. But I agree with just about everyone else, the best way to improve you riding is to ride with a group.
 

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pedal pusher
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LOK said:
Newbie here wanting to learn the techniques and even maintanance of a mtb. Are there videos showing how? Books? Got a dvd from Randy last week about mountain biking in Oregon. Thanks Randy!!!! Great dvd and saw rider's with techniques.
The best way, ride with people that are better than you. Watch and ask questions. Ride the lines they do. Mastering MTB skills mentioned by Scarpa is also a very good book. Keep reading over and over as you try and master the desired skill. But most of all, ride, ride and ride more. Time on the bike is most important.

Sean
 

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ride hard take risks
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smw said:
The best way, ride with people that are better than you. Watch and ask questions. Ride the lines they do. Mastering MTB skills mentioned by Scarpa is also a very good book. Keep reading over and over as you try and master the desired skill. But most of all, ride, ride and ride more. Time on the bike is most important.Sean
Took the words write out of my mind, i would have said the same thing! Wanna Ride :D
 

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dogonfr said:
Took the words write out of my mind, i would have said the same thing! Wanna Ride :D
I always want to ride, just a matter of mother nature co-operating a bit. Im sure I can learn by trying to follow you down a mountian. Ive only been riding since may, and I learn more in a day riding with someone whose a good rider than I can in 10 rides by myself. Im in San Jose area, where in California are you at?

Sean
 

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born to chill
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LOK said:
Newbie here wanting to learn the techniques and even maintanance of a mtb. Are there videos showing how? Books? Got a dvd from Randy last week about mountain biking in Oregon. Thanks Randy!!!! Great dvd and saw rider's with techniques.
LOK,

The best way to learn is to just get out there and ride brother :)

My opinion differs from most in that I personally think riding alone is a better way to start off as a beginner. When riding alone you not only don't have to worry about being self concious about your ability, but you can ride at entirely your own pace on whatever trail you want anytime you want.

Start out on paved trails to build up your balance and basic bike handling abilities such as steering and shifting, then move onto fireroads and eventually to singletrack trails. Know your limits and your own abilities and you will be fine. I also think it is a good idea to start out on your own and not read advice from anyone else on how to ride until you have difficulty with a specific area you can't handle on your own, say cornering on loose gravel for example; then hit the books and ask on forums how to best deal with that. I say to learn on your own because that is how you develop your own unique style of riding. Many people that have watched me think my bike is setup all wrong and I ride funny, but it works for me and I can rail with the best of them.

So I say techniquewise, just get out and ride, develop your skills on your own and when you have trouble figuring things out, then look for answers.

Anyway all that said about learning on your own, here's two things to keep in mind as they are very common beginner mistakes 1) Try to avoid looking down all the time, keep your head up and looking down the trail to where you are going, 2) relax on the bike, you don't need a death grip, just hang on, look where you want to go and the bike will follow. Maybe these things won't work for you, they should, but hey that's why you should learn as much as you can on your own first.

When you start to develop your skillset to where you feel pretty comfortable riding on your own, seek out a local riding partner either online or through friends. Go on a few rides together to get used to riding with another person and eventually work your way into a group ride and if clubs are your thing find one of those. They can be fun from time to time, but I stick to the solo stuff mostly. When riding with groups, ask questions and find someone with a style you like, watch them ride and take when you can from it. CLUBMTB is a great resource for finding local clubs and riders http://www.clubmtb.com/club/

As far as bike repair and maintenance start with something free like the Park tool site: http://www.parktool.com/repair/ They make excellent products and they have great advice covering almost every aspect of bike repair, they cover it all and it is free.

Good luck, you've found a great hobby that is filled with great people.
-flow
 

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Shaman
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Perfect practice

Hearing "just go out and ride" drives me nuts. Going out and riding without knowing what to practice makes you worse not better. You will see a brief improvement while you "master" some bad habits but then you will plateau because bad habits are limiting. I know people you have been riding for years and don't have the most basic skills mastered. I learned what I feel to be core skills of riding in my 9th, 10th and 11th season as a pro downhill racer, don't follow my example 11 years is a long to wait to learn the core skills. Just go out and play golf everyday and you will be the next Tiger Woods! Just go out and ski hard everyday and you will beat Bodie Miller! Just go out ride hard everyday and you will be the next Ricky Carmichael! Practice makes permanent, not perfect. Perfect practice makes perfect. Did you know that the quality of your attempt at a skill (such as a bunny hop) starts to diminish after you third attempt?

As a snowboard coach I learned that to win at the world cup level and for
even a recreational rider to improve the rider must master the fundamentals
of the sport to continue to improve.

What this means is, athletic ability can only take an athlete so far and
if an athlete doesn't have the basics wired they will stop progressing well
before they reach their potential. In ski and snowboard racing the competencies (drills that show whether you have a specific skill mastered or not)
are so important that the US SKI and Snowboard development team chooses
their athletes purely on their mastery of the competencies, not their racing
results. I know many athletes who can ski, snowboard and/or mountain bike
and get down the mountain quickly but, they have bad habits and are surviving
on athletic ability and daring.

Dan Milkman (World Champion Gymnast, coach and author of "The Inner athlete",
"Body Mind Mastery" and The "Peaceful Warrior Series") states, "Athletes'
problems with learning or improving their skills are tied to weak fundamentals.
To raise athletes' potential you need to rebuild their foundation for success".

The people above who recommended Lee McCormack's book and/or taking a lesson/clinic are correct, that is how to improve. The fastest way to improve is to take a lesson from a good coach. Research their coaching background, ask good questions and find a coach. The second fastest way is to read a book and practice (with quality not quantity) the skills taught in the book.
 
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