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Mountain Biking Tips

By staff - June 11th, 2003

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Things to remember:

Always wear a helmet. If you think you're too cool for it, five minutes on any of these trails will help you realize that if you're bare-headed, you're in the minority.

Always bring water. Especially in the heat, which is even more wicked when you're exerting yourself. For a whole day out, one or two water bottles are not enough. Either wear a backpack with water bottles inside, or get a fancy Camelbak, an insulated waterbag you wear on your back.

When in doubt, walk. Mountain biking can really be dangerous. If a hill looks too steep or a curve too tricky, get off.

Pick up after yourself! That includes bits of your bike that might get broken off as you speed around trees.

Yield to every non-wheeled creature you pass. The war between hikers and bikers rages on, and the more bikers who slow down as they pass and say something in warning (in the "Excuse me. What a nice afternoon,'' vein as opposed to "Outta my way!''), the better the relationship will be between us.

Don't go off the trails. In addition to messing up the wildlife habitats, you also can hurt yourself. And after a rain, don't go out on closed trails. This erodes the trail and ruins it for everyone else.

Riding Tips

  • Wear the hardest-soled shoes you own.
  • Lower your seat if you're going to be on a bumpy course.
  • Spend most of your time "standing,'' knees slightly bent, keeping your feet parallel with each other (to avoid hitting high- protruding rocks) and your eyes on the ground, a few feet in front of you.
  • You will spend a lot of time shifting gears rapidly, from the lowest to the highest in a matter of seconds, so make sure this part of your bike is in working order and that you understand how it works.
  • When going down a steep hill, keep your weight back. When going up a steep incline, try to keep your weight forward to avoid an "endo'' (tipping backward).
  • When going around blind curves, whistle or make some kind of noise to warn people you're coming. Two bikes colliding at high speeds is not fun.


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