There’s plenty to learn when you first start mountain biking, and just like any sport, it’s easy to pick up bad habits. But fear not, as we’ve compiled a list of five classic beginner mistakes and how to remedy them.
1. Toes on the end of the pedals
Try moving your forefoot forward and positioning the ball of your foot just in front of (but not drastically so) the pedal axle. This will help recruit the right muscles for a stronger and more stable position, especially when it comes to gravity riding.
2. Pedalling through technical sections
When you're first starting out and speeds are slow, you may need to pedal through technical sections like rocky gardens or narrow rooty trails. This obviously increases the chance of a pedal strike, and whilst sometimes it can’t be avoided, you can mitigate the risk by choosing the right gear.
3. Not looking far enough down the trail
Anticipation is the name of the game in mountain biking, however it’s easy for beginners to get into the habit of staring down at the trail just ahead of the front wheel. Next time, look further ahead to adjust your line choice/speed accordingly.
4. Sitting down too much
Your legs help you soak up all those lumps and bumps, they’ll also allow you to separate your body from your bike. This makes it easier to lean and shift your weight around, making you a faster, more confident mountain biker.
5. Death grip – being too tense on the bike
It might feel more secure to grip those bars with a vice-like hold, but all it will do is tense you up and make it harder to move dynamically on the bike. Loosening/relaxing your grip a little should help reduce upper body soreness and increase your overall control on technical features.