For beginners, getting it right might be a bit hard for the first time. With time, skills get acquired and the ride gets easier. Yet, there are things that cannot wait, like safety. You will be surprised not much is required. For example, an act as simple as purchasing the best helmet for mountain biking goes a long way in protecting riders.
What should Riders Wear?
When considering clothing choice, comfortability is a key factor. Go for padded shorts, get a suitable helmet, knee pads, a good jersey, and some gloves. Alternatively, you can get the biking kit that comes equipped with all that you would need.
What to Carry when Riding
During the ride, you need to keep energy levels at par. Hence, a small bag stuffed with snacks and some water is a good start. In there, put some spare tube, a pump, and other equipment to aid in minor fixes. If available, a waterproof bag brings an added advantage as weather out there could change abruptly.
For those just starting out, it would be a bad idea to go straight up riding. Your body needs to acclimatize to the new challenge. Thus, short rides of up to 2hrs should form the beginner’s routine. That will hardly wear you down nor hurt leg muscles. Later on, switch things a notch higher by taking long rides on moderate speed. Short rides featuring steep climbs also serve well towards building endurance. The good thing being the full body workout offered by mountain bike riding earns even gains. Nonetheless, rest is essential and it is always wise to take an easy setup for the first minutes of a ride.
Flat setups: for flat stretches, you can either sit or ride standing. Maintain a steady pace on the pedals, and keep them levelled on uneven grounds. That helps prevent hitting tree stumps, rocks, and other obstacles. Train your eyes ahead at all times, it helps greatly in determining abrupt actions. You get to see obstacles before getting there and change tact accordingly depending on whether you are going up or down.
Descending setup: when tackling a descent, stand on your bike pedals. Legs and arms should stay flexed so as to absorb as much shock as possible. Bend your knees and elbows to keep your body low. Moving hips to the back of the saddle helps achieve the same body lowering effect.
Ascending setup: the best tip in tackling climbs is noticing them in advance. You get to engage a soft gear beforehand. You might have seen people that stand and pedal hard on climbs. Well, that wears out a rider fast as opposed to sitting as you pedal easy and consistently. Proper traction and steering techniques require weight on the back wheel and front wheel respectively. To achieve that, sit close to the nose of the saddle, dropping your shoulders low as you pull on the bars down and back during pedaling. Resting thumbs on the handlebar tops in comparison to underneath prevents lifting of the front wheel.
Negotiating corners: the easiest way to get around corners is through breaking in advance to negotiate at reasonable speeds. Better traction can be achieved by standing and setting knees in a flexed, open position. In that position, leaning in the corner’s direction is quite easy.
Mountain bikes come equipped with good suspension and wide tires to absorb shock and go easily over obstacles. However, it is in the best interest of newbies to first practice at trails. They provide for varying difficulty levels and are better compared to the open where obstacles can be quite harsh.