After seeing the huge uptake in cycling this year it got me thinking back to when I first started mountain biking. After many pondering thoughts I jotted down some things that I wish I’d known before I started and also some useful things that I did know which I would like to share.
Firstly, I think it’s important to remember that we were all beginners once. There is no need to feel self-conscious if you want to walk up that hill or stop at that drop to check it out. We have all been there and we remember how you feel. There is no judgement from the advanced rider but rather encouragement as we watch our sport grow and see more people share the same passion. It’s always helpful to remember to have fun and to just enjoy the process.
Check out Liv's article on 6 things new mountain bikers wonder but never ask.
I remember feeling intimidated arriving at a group spin knowing that I was the inexperienced one. However, looking back now I am so glad that I joined a local club from the beginning and rode with people who were more experienced than me. Riding with people who are quicker than you will inevitably make you faster. It is also so helpful to learn from others by observation - whether it be body positioning, cornering, braking, line choice, etc. It’s important to start with the basics and slowly build up your skillset (believe it or not there is more to mountain biking than just letting off the brakes! Liv has put together lots of helpful articles on mountain bike skills which you can find here.
Bike set-up can make the world of difference, be it as simple as tyre pressure or suspension sag. It’s really helpful to play around with those and find some base pressures/settings that you are comfortable with. It’s also important to check your tyre pressure before every ride as it’s quite common for them to lose air especially if they are tubeless. Notably, bike maintenance matters, even if it is as simple as making a routine of washing your bike after each ride, then drying the chain with a dirty rag, lube the chain and do regular bolt checks. These simple steps will save you a lot of money in the long run!
Read Liv Racing's mechanic's top 5 bike maintenance tips here.
Finally - it gets better! As time goes on and your skillset and fitness levels grow, you will begin to experience a whole new level of enjoyment. Prepare to become an adrenaline junkie!