Jump to content

Recommended Posts

I've been riding for a few weeks and have started hitting most every feature that comes my way. Yesterday I hit a jump and my landing was super squirrely.... I was on a narrow trail without much room to correct but was able to slam the breaks and center myself before crashing into anything.

It made me realize that I don't know what to be afraid of yet... 

 

Are there common noob mistakes that result in serious crashes that I should be aware of?

If you guys have any advice on scenarios where I should be exercising extra caution please let me know.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Posted (edited)

I think a lot of it starts with bike setup. if your bike puts your hands, feet, butt, or fingers are in a sub-optimal position, the bike will fight you for control. if your tires are too hard or to soft, or your suspension is not tuned right for your body, it will be hard to ride. I see a lot of new riders out on the trails with setups that are clearly not right, but until someone asks for help, I don't want to give unsolicited advice. so I'm glad you asked.

on my first mountain bike ride, after many years of riding BMX with 20" tires at 90+ psi, I pumped my 26x2.3" tires to 65 and worried that would be too low. I got jackhammered for the first half mile until someone pointed out that my tires were absurdly over-filled. fortunately, I learned that right away.

if you watch videos of mtb crashes on jumps, most of them are from riders leaning back and putting too much weight over the rear tire as they take off. the result is that the front end drops and the rear gets tossed up and forward, sending the riding into a nosedive.

Edited by mack_turtle

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Invest in mountain bike skills classes. You will learn proper techniques for riding and how to practice the right way which will make you a better and safer rider. Gene Hamilton provides classes locally thru his company Better Ride. He travels all over the country doing classes. I have taken his skills clinics multiple times here in Austin. It's the best investment you can make in improving your biking skills ability and riding more safely. 

The usual advice given to novice riders is to follow someone faster than you and do what they do. Not only is this idea ill advised, it can lead to serious injuries when someone tries to ride beyond their abilities. I don't know of any sport you can become good at without learning skills and proper techniques and practicing them correctly frequently. The advice I hear constantly is "ride more." Like you will just figure it out and ride successfully (once you've done all the wrong things and crashed a lot). 

 

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
16 minutes ago, live2ride4ever said:

Invest in mountain bike skills classes.

^^^^ Very much this ^^^^

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, live2ride4ever said:

The usual advice given to novice riders is to follow someone faster than you and do what they do. Not only is this idea ill advised, it can lead to serious injuries when someone tries to ride beyond their abilities. I don't know of any sport you can become good at without learning skills and proper techniques and practicing them correctly frequently. The advice I hear constantly is "ride more." Like you will just figure it out and ride successfully (once you've done all the wrong things and crashed a lot). 

I'm not going to say "you're wrong", but I'd wager to say that 99% of us have used the "usual advice" to good success. 

1. Ride with better riders. Yes, of course. See what they are doing. Notice where they are being cautious and where they are taking risks. Not saying you should try to follow a pro DH rider down the hill, but having someone push you slightly above your limits is beneficial. Just be aware that they are better than you and there is never any shame in walking an obstacle. 

2. Ride more. Practice, practice, practice. I can't see how that is bad advice.

The best riding tips I've gotten:

Steer with your belly button. (aka "point with your pecker") Don't turn the bar or your head to steer. The bike will follow your hips. This works on all turn. It works on fast downhill sections, but it works especially well (and its impossible to over do it) on slow uphill switchbacks.

Learn to feel and hear when your tires start to slide. There is a moment in between full traction and washing out. It sounds like scratching. You can feel the scratch too. 

mack_turtle makes an excellent point about tire pressure. It makes a big difference. 

Braking is really only effective when you are not skidding. Skidding is lack of control. Plus it tears up the the trail. Use both brakes. Most beginners won't use their front brakes enough. 

Bring post ride beers.

  • Like 3

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

If/when you find yourself considering a feature that pushes what you’re comfortable with, decide whether you’re going to go for it, then do it or don’t do it- avoid heading into something feeling hesitant, then trying to back out when it’s too late to turn back your decision. Those crashes tend to hurt.

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I really enjoy solo rides were I "session" a challenging spot. Hardtail Party on YouTube has a lot of videos where he does this. go on a normal ride and when you find a spot where you don't ride it clean or have to walk, go back and ride that "feature" again and again until you clear it cleanly or are too exhausted to do it again.

sometimes this works when riding in a group if the other riders are down for charging at the same spot again and again for a while, but usually the group wants to move on. set up a ride with one or two other riders who want to try this and go into the ride knowing that your mileage is going to be shorter than a typical ride because you're going to repeat some segments. if you ride with others, you can swap techniques and critique one another's approaches. the feeling of cleaning something difficult is amazing, even more so when you have witnesses to cheer you on.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Lots of good advice above, but I'd also add that there are tons of good tutorial videos on YouTube. I'm not saying that watching a video is a replacement for physically attempting to do something, but sometimes it's good to watch somebody who really knows what they are doing break down a particular skill or technique. I particularly like the way Kyle Warner explains things and he has a YouTube channel where he works with his girlfriend (a relative noob to mountain biking) on lots of essential skills. Of course, you have to be aware that there are also videos out there that may give questionable advice so don't take everything you see/hear on YouTube as gospel.

https://www.youtube.com/c/KyleAprilRideMtb/featured

I also like this guy a lot:

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCucbPdaUiex4Atyl2XCP18Q

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
19 hours ago, live2ride4ever said:

Like you will just figure it out and ride successfully (once you've done all the wrong things and crashed a lot). 

Haha this is the method I used - school of hard knocks and near death. Totally agree with @Charlie193 that if you're second guessing yourself on something, save it for another day. I learned that the hard way. Progression is definitely the key to staying safe and there is no shame in getting off your bike to avoid doing something outside your comfort zone. 

To the OP's point though about not knowing what to be afraid of, my advice would be to 1) keep your wheels on the ground until you're able to carefully progress on drops / jumps, 2) keep your speed within the limits of your balance / control of the bike, avoiding scenarios where you're unable to control your speed, such as steep, gnarly descents, and 3) avoid going up steep, technical obstacles that could leave you and your bike tipping over backwards. Also know that being seated in the saddle leaves you very vulnerable in many situations you'll encounter on the trail. The quicker you get comfortable being out of the saddle and balanced between your pedals and handlebars, the less likely you are to get hurt.         

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
19 minutes ago, throet said:

The quicker you get comfortable being out of the saddle and balanced between your pedals and handlebars, the less likely you are to get hurt.         

This is gold. I was thinking the same thing. When I observe new riders, a lot of the hangups occurr when they keep their butts planted in situations where more body English was needed. That takes time and some degree of conscious effort, as well as getting stronger. Some excerise off the bike would help here, especially if you spend most days sitting at a desk. Core, glutes, hamstrings, etc.

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Lots of great info here, much thanks!!

 

55 minutes ago, throet said:

Also know that being seated in the saddle leaves you very vulnerable in many situations you'll encounter on the trail. The quicker you get comfortable being out of the saddle and balanced between your pedals and handlebars, the less likely you are to get hurt.         

This is something I've been wondering... I see a lot of people sitting when riding around Walnut Creek, but I rarely sit when on a trail. My first couple of weeks I was sitting a ton and using my legs to power over everything. Once I had more endurance and started standing I realized that I could go faster and smoother by 'sucking up' the bumps and compressing down the dips. Now I'm way faster with much less effort. It feels great to ride with the terrain instead of power against it.

 

My biggest takeaway from everyone's feedback is that I need to start riding with people before I take on harder terrain. I feel like I'm progressing fairly quickly, but Its probably smart to get some hands on advice before pushing it too far solo.

 

 

  • Like 3

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 minute ago, Lacch said:

This is something I've been wondering... I see a lot of people sitting when riding around Walnut Creek, but I rarely sit when on a trail. My first couple of weeks I was sitting a ton and using my legs to power over everything. Once I had more endurance and started standing I realized that I could go faster and smoother by 'sucking up' the bumps and compressing down the dips. Now I'm way faster with much less effort. It feels great to ride with the terrain instead of power against it.

Sounds like you're progressing quickly and that things may come more naturally for you than they do for others. Beyond just staying balanced on the pedals and sucking up the bumps, you'll also discover how to use your body as both a lever and a hammer, to wrangle through the toughest of obstacles, especially at slower speeds, where you can't just let the bike do the work for you. Happy biking, and if you ever want to get out for an exploratory ride at Brushy Creek, PM me.  

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
45 minutes ago, Bart said:

Go ride Thumper several times a week.

Is this a serious comment? (sorry, I'm honestly not sure)

I ask because I've only been riding Walnut Creek (its riding distance from my house). Mostly inner/outer log loop, powerhill flow and ski hill flow (I suck on ski hill flow.. still figuring it out)

Those trails feel good for my level, but if there are others in the area that I should add to my list, pls let me know!!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I still have not ridden Thumper but I get the impression that it's extremely difficult. you will probably get injured or just really frustrated.

 

Walnut is a great place to start. if you get bored with that, ask around for the relatively easy routes in Brushy Creek, and come down south to ride SATN (stuff south of Ben White, much of which is along Slaughter Creek.)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

If you want to get better, ride with people that are better than you.  Watch how they attack lines.  Watch when they stand up and when they hammer.  You'll get faster and more confident as you ride more.  

 

Thumper is not any more difficult than any other trail but it takes commitment.  There are so many other trails within 30 minutes of your place (close to Walnut) that will test your skills.  Go ride Brushy Creek and explore all the different terrain there.  If you're having trouble with ledges and technical stuff, go out to City Park (Emma Long Motorcyle Park) and ride that (not alone).  Just take your time, always have fun, and keep riding.  

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
7 hours ago, Lacch said:

Is this a serious comment? (sorry, I'm honestly not sure)

IMO, not a great idea for a new rider. Walnut, Brushy, and the greenbelt are the best places to hone your skills, 

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Posted (edited)
7 hours ago, Tree Magnet said:

If you want to get better, ride with people that are better than you.  Watch how they attack lines.  Watch when they stand up and when they hammer.  You'll get faster and more confident as you ride more.  

 

There are so many other trails within 30 minutes of your place (close to Walnut) that will test your skills.  Go ride Brushy Creek and explore all the different terrain there.  If you're having trouble with ledges and technical stuff, go out to City Park (Emma Long Motorcyle Park) and ride that (not alone).  Just take your time, always have fun, and keep riding.  

This

 

isn't riding a bike supposed to be fun? Thumper is the fun removal machine.

 

Edited by ATXZJ

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
7 hours ago, Tree Magnet said:

Thumper is not any more difficult than any other trail but it takes commitment.  There are so many other trails within 30 minutes of your place (close to Walnut) that will test your skills.  Go ride Brushy Creek and explore all the different terrain there.  If you're having trouble with ledges and technical stuff, go out to City Park (Emma Long Motorcyle Park) and ride that (not alone).  Just take your time, always have fun, and keep riding.  

In fairness, Thumper is probably in poor condition after the snowpocalypse and other weather events. It usually gets cleared once a year, in preparedness for a certain fall endurance ride.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 5/13/2021 at 12:24 PM, notyal said:

Ride with better riders.

Yes, don't ride with faster riders, ride with better riders. Don't be afraid to ask questions.

And for god's sake, keep up. Not everything is a race, but if you are the newb that is keeping up with the pack, you'll learn. If you are the newb that dawdles and makes them all wait for you to catch up a.) you will be too far back to learn anything and b.) you will never be asked to ride with them again.

So work on keeping up, put your energy there, follow close enough to see the lines but not too close that you run into someone that stops.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 5/13/2021 at 12:37 PM, mack_turtle said:

I really enjoy solo rides were I "session" a challenging spot. Hardtail Party on YouTube has a lot of videos where he does this. go on a normal ride and when you find a spot where you don't ride it clean or have to walk, go back and ride that "feature" again and again until you clear it cleanly or are too exhausted to do it again.

 

Sessioning is good.  However, I've heard this: Session something three to five times. If you do not succeed, move on and try it again later.  Why?  You could be training your muscles to fail that feature.  I don't know if this is true, but I've done it before on a few features I was struggling with and succeeded on the next visit or the one after that.

  • Like 3

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Here were my noob mistakes:

1. Eating a meal before a ride, even an easy ride. It made me a little sluggish and I tended to clip trees with my bars. 

2. Ignoring upper body training. You can muscle your way out of a lot of danger.

3. Not going to a full suspension sooner.

  • Like 2
  • Thanks 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
15 hours ago, ATXZJ said:

This

 

isn't riding a bike supposed to be fun? Thumper is the fun removal machine.

 

I've never tried it. Is that because it's narrow and loose so you can't really get much speed? The videos I see don't make it look too technically challenging.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.


  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.

×
×
  • Create New...