Tag Archives: riding trails

Tips Every Beginner Should Know About Mountain Biking

Mountain Biking Beginners

Mountain biking is a fun and rewarding sport, and a lot of that fun comes from the challenges it can face you with. For a beginner, there’s a lot of stupid mistakes someone can make that could get you hurt, or at the very least ruin your weekend. You can make sure your first biking experience is a good one if you follow these tips that every beginner should know about mountain biking.

1. Come Dressed Correctly

Dressing correctly and wearing the proper protection is the first step towards having a good mountain biking experience. It seems straight forward enough, but there’s a lot of mistakes people commonly make here that can totally ruin the experience.

Naturally you don’t want to skimp on things like the appropriate helmets and safety gear. Sunglasses are highly advisable both for sun protection and for keeping branches out of your eyes. Spandex bike shorts can be great for riding in too, but don’t make the mistake of putting on underwear under them. It may also be wise to invest in some decent socks to prevent chafing. 

2. Learn How to Brake

This one is huge, and failing to learn this could get you hurt. A lot of people get scared and want to hold onto the brakes when they’re new to mountain biking, but this is practically the one of the most dangerous things you could do. One bump or flinch on the front wheel’s brake and instead of learning to bike, you’ll be learning to fly.

Regulate your speed with a passive touch on your brakes, and keep your fingers on the handle bars, not the brakes. When you need to slow down faster, use the right brake (rear wheel) instead of the left as this will be less likely to tip you over.

3. Get Some Anti-Chafe Cream 

Biking can get pretty tough on your legs, and that friction of your thighs sliding back and forth for hours is going to cause chaffing for sure. Don’t ignore the products they make for this very purpose, and put on some anti-chafe cream. These are cheap and common to bike shops but also sometimes sold at less specialized stores like pharmacies.

4. Get the Hang of Using Your Gears 

This one can take some real learning, but the key to having the right amount of momentum for tackling hills, crossing rocks and making tight corners is mastering the usage of your gears. Pay attention to the terrain ahead of you and set your gear appropriately so you can trek that terrain with more speed and momentum.

5. Check Your Suspension

Almost all modern mountain bikes on the market now will feature a suspension fork or a shock absorber in the rear wheel. Many new bikers will fail to properly use these as their active position has to be manually adjusted by the rider. If you take a few moments to set this correctly or read a guide on doing so, a lot of the harsh bumps and rocks you’ll cross won’t feel like so much.

6. Learn Where to Look

When riding on a trail, keep your eyes forward, look where you want to go and keep your chin level with the ground. Another huge and dangerous mistake that a new biker could make is looking down at nearby obstacles. Instead, you should always be looking ahead to see where you’re going. Only use your peripheral vision to anticipate small obstacles. Look at where you want to go instead of what you want to go around to prevent target fixation.

7. Go at Your Own Pace 

After all is said and done, what’s the most important thing? Having fun and taking your time learning the sport. Everyone starts as beginner and no one starts perfect, so learn how to bike the right way and don’t focus on keeping the pace with veteran enthusiasts who have way more experience than you do. 

Hitting the Trails in California

Hitting the Trails in California

Mountain biking is crazy popular throughout California and being such a big state with a wide variety of terrain there are some amazing trails to be found here.  Whether you live in northern or southern California you have equally great opportunities for hitting the trails.  There are also a bunch of different biking clubs all over the state.  Hitting the trails in California is perfect for beginners and experts alike.

Southern California

In the southern part of the state in both Los Angeles and San Diego Counties there are tons of bike trails for you to try out.  The climate here is nearly perfect and you can find trails that go through the woods or you can ride along the beach.  If ocean views are your thing then head over to Huntington Beach there is a trail there almost 10 miles long.  If you want to go really off road then there are the Azusa Mountains in Los Angeles, it is a rough trail not for the faint of heart.

Eastern California

If you really want an adrenaline rush then you want to go to the eastern side of the Sierra Mountains along the border with Nevada.  First you are going to need to have a good solid bike this is rough terrain with lots of obstacles to get around.  There are trails available for different skill sets, but if you are not an experienced rider you are not going to be allowed on the more difficult trails. That doesn’t meant that each trail isn’t a great ride, you will have fun no matter what level you are at.

Northern California

Not to be left out, northern California also has miles and miles of great trail riding.  Redding, Shasta Lake and Weaverville all have amazing trails with stunning views.  If you live in San Francisco then you should try out Mount Diablo it is the tallest peak in the area and the view has to be experienced.  Sacramento also has miles of trails that are worth checking out.

These are just a handful of trails that you can find throughout the state.  The popularity of mountain biking combined with the natural terrain that is available throughout the state makes for some incredible rides.  If you’re not lucky enough to call California home then you should plan your next trip out here and take some time to check out the scenery.  You won’t regret it.