When they say,“practice makes perfect”, the phrase is completely true. As we all know, mountain biking is a serious sport requiring a lot of skill from its rider to tackle obstacles correctly. Now, instead of jumping into action and figuring it out as you go, it is best if you practice the skills first. When you have a good idea of how much you have mastered mountain biking, you will be able to measure yourself on the trail and further ensure your safety. In this article, we have gathered 7 MTB skills you can explore as a beginner–or even professional–to upgrade your ride on the trail. Let’s learn it one by one!
1. Front Wheel Lift
Front-wheel lifting may seem to be an easy one most will skip on practicing, but actually this is a very necessary skill that will increase your convenience on the trail. Instead of riding over some roots and rocks, you can easily jump over them. Lifting your front wheel requires your body to be in a neutral stance, with a little body weight put forward, press onto the fork, and then lift up the front wheel.
2. Rear Wheel Lift
After you get the hang of the front wheel lift, it is time to learn the rear wheel lift. The rear wheel lift will come in handy when riding on a technical climb. When you are facing a slippery rock, you can lift your rear wheel instead of pedaling through it. To practice this skill, you must get in your neutral position, drop your heels, and then hop on the rear wheel, just like you do on the front wheel. Additionally, if you are using a flat pedal, do not forget to scoop to prevent yourself from just jumping up and down on the platform.
Wheelie might be the most popular MTB skill everyone wants to master. It does look cool, but it is actually very practical when you are out on the trail. When you are facing a rather big obstacle, you can just do a wheelie, making sure the front wheel is up and over the obstacle instead of pedaling upwards through it. To practice a wheelie, make sure you are on the easy setting of your gear (but not too easy!), do a front wheel lift to initiate the movement, and steady it by keeping your arms extended in front of you as well as your chest open. Another tip is to also have your rear brake on to help with controlling how far back and forward your angle is also to stop it when it feels like you are about to roll backward.
Skinnies is another practical skill for you to master as you will be riding through skinny and elevated pathways on the trail. You can practice this by riding on a bumper or a speed bump. In reality, you will be riding through logs and rocks aligning. To do skinnies, all you have to do is drop your seatpost a little bit to let yourself have more room to move around. Keep your heads up and practice on that balance!
5. Track Stands
Track stand is a skill where you can stand on your bike perfectly balanced without actually pedaling it. This skill comes in handy when you are on the trail to perfect your balance. Also, when facing specific terrains that require you to stop, such as a big rock roll. You will want to stop and pause first, check out the pathway line you choose, and then continue riding. To make a track stand, keep your brakes on (both or either one) to have the bike in one stable position, then maneuver yourself to keep the bike still and steady.
Stoppies are when you brake your bike into a complete stop, lift the rear wheel, and then reposition your bike when putting the rear wheel down so your mountain bike is facing a different way. On the trail, there might be very sharp and short turns that you can not just ride around. There is no other option than to do a stoppie and reposition your bike to face the correct way. It is a continuity of the rear wheel lift, where in this case, you have to practice bringing the rear wheel around before coming down on it.
To practice cornering, you can always do it on a road with some plastic cones or even branches you can find around you. Place it on the ground as far or close as you want, then practice on those maneuvering and balancing skills, going around the obstacles. An important tip to note is to keep your outer foot pressing down and your inner foot lifting to avoid bumping into an obstacle.
So that wraps up the 7 mountain biking skills you can explore! You can easily practice all of these at a parking lot or cycling areas around you. Remember to wear your safety gear such as helmets to protect yourself from impact when you crash.
Read More: Mountain Biking Mistakes To Avoid!
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