So you’re eyeing the rush and excitement of mountain biking? Excellent choice! Mountain biking provides a phenomenal full-body workout along with the chance to get out and explore stunning landscapes – especially if you’re in the same neck of the woods as us in Phoenix, Arizona. But there’s a lot more to mountain biking than purchasing a bike and hitting the trail!
Let’s take a look at our top tidbits of advice on how to mountain bike so your adventure is as epic and painless as possible.
Steer With Your Eyes
Ask any veteran mountain biker about how best to navigate the trail, and the answer is almost always the same: look where you want to go!
You will naturally steer towards wherever you’re looking. So if you’re eyeing that scary looking tree as you approach a turn, chances are you’ll end up flying into it. Therefore, tune out the scenery and obstacles, and instead focus on exactly where you want your front wheel to go – be it the center of a bridge or a smooth curve at the turn.
More often than not, avoidable crashes are caused by heavy-handed braking. Yes, we need to control our speed, but don’t go crazy. Maintaining adequate momentum will help carry you through and over tricky terrain, whereas early braking can cause you to snag on a feature or lose your balance. So practice, find your zen, and cruise through the trail!
If you do need to brake suddenly, don’t squeeze the front brake! This will send you over the handlebars. Instead, use the rear brakes for quick deceleration.
Know Your Bike
Mountain bikes are much more complicated than your standard puttering-around-town bike. So take the time to understand how it works.
Can you adjust the suspension? Can you fine-tune the seat and brakes? Do you know how to repair it if something breaks? Can you replace the tire? Do your homework beforehand, and you’ll thank yourself when making quick on-the-fly adjustments on the trail!
Speaking of knowing how to repair your bike, make sure you carry the tools you need to do so. These include a patch kit, tools to repair a broken chain (consider a handy multi-tool), a spare tube, and a pump.
Additionally, ALWAYS bring plenty of water and food for your day out. You’ll burn through your supplies quickly, and you often spend more time on the trail than you anticipate. Make sure you can fuel your engine! This is especially true for mountain biking in Phoneix, where you’ll need to hydrate regularly.
Find Your Crew
The best way to learn how to mountain bike is to go with friends who know the technique and trail. Local bike shops will often have leads on nearby group rides or folks looking for biking partners.
Alternatively, consider joining mountain bike tours. Our fat bike tours in Phoneix, Arizona can introduce you to mountain biking and perhaps some future biking buddies!
Know Your Trail
You need to find a trail to start mountain biking! For you Phoenix-based riders, we highly recommend the Brown’s Ranch Perimeter Trail in the McDowell Sonoran Preserve northeast of Phoenix. Stunning desert landscapes, easier trails, and no leg-crushing climbs.
No matter where you are, your local bike shops should always be able to point you towards fantastic trails.
Now let’s narrow our focus down to the specific trail. It’s crucial to know the terrain after any intense features before you try them so you know what to expect. Additionally, never be afraid to get off and walk through a technical spot if you’re unsure about it. We want to ride tomorrow, not get hurt on the trail today!