5 Common Mistakes To Avoid While Mountain Biking

In every facet of life, people will make mistakes. Whether it be at work, driving, etc., mistakes happen and some are either avoidable while others are simple slips of the brain. This also applies to mountain biking, and with around 40 million people in the United States alone, there are millions of mistakes made on the trails each year.

Some of these mistakes can be pretty rare and shouldn’t really be seen as anything more than a one-off situation, but there are also some incredibly common mistakes that can be easily avoided. Let’s take a look at some of the most common mistakes that people make while mountain biking, and how you can prevent them from happening to you.

Riding Dirty

There’s no way around the fact that your mountain bike is going to get dirty. After all, some of the more memorable experiences you’ll have on your bike come from when you’re shredding up some of the muddiest terrains around. When The ride is over, though, many bikers can get very tired and forget to perform the proper cleaning. This can lead to a lot of problems, so you’ll want to make sure that you’re always deep cleaning your bike after a dirty ride.

Some of the most important parts of your bike can get clogged up with dirt and mud, causing them to deteriorate faster. Many make the mistake of simply spraying off their bikes so that it looks clean on the surface, but don’t bother getting into the nooks and crannies to get the clumps of mud out of their gears and pedals. There are plenty of great deep-cleaning products for mountain bikes available that will make things much more efficient and getting a concentrated spray on the dirtier spots will ensure cleanliness. 

Pedal Problems

Many of the people who ride mountain bikes for the first time assume that they can ride it like the regular bicycles that they’re used to. Because of this, some of the most common problems come from pedaling as many think that all bikes are pedaled the same way. They’re quick to learn that this isn’t the case as their feet slip once they try to pedal with their toes instead of having the ball of their feet slightly in front of the pedal’s axle.

A lot of new riders also tend to overpedal instead of allowing themselves to ride through the trail. There are certain sections of trails in which you won’t need to pedal at all, and it’s more important to glide along while keeping the pedals as far from the ground as possible. Overpedaling leads to fatigue and an increased likelihood of hitting the pedals on mounds of dirt which can send you over the handlebars.

Body Positioning

One of the biggest reasons that all mountain biking experts tell anyone that’s new to the hobby to stick to the easiest trails at first is because they need to learn the basics, and body positioning is the one that you can only really learn with time. As we mentioned with pedaling, there are a lot of new riders who get into mountain biking for the first time thinking that they can ride like they’re sitting in an office chair.

It’s important to have your weight shift throughout the ride and never keep your limbs straight. Getting up hills and making sure you aren’t going too fast down slopes will be completely dependent on your body positioning. While regular bicycling might be a leisurely and relaxing activity, mountain biking doesn’t allow you to sit comfortably, so don’t get used to your rear being on the seat very often.

Losing Focus

There are certain aspects of life in which you need different amounts of focus. When you’re driving, you want to make sure that you’re focusing about 1/8th of a mile ahead of you. When you’re casually walking down the sidewalk, you really don’t need to focus on anything more than a couple of feet ahead of you as you don’t want to trip on a rock or uneven concrete. Think of mountain biking as more like driving than walking.

A lot of new riders tend to focus directly on what’s ahead of their front wheel instead of the trail ahead. This can lead to dangerous speeds going into a sharp turn or completely missing an obstacle that may have made its way onto the trail like a rock or tree branch. Keeping your eyes about 15 feet ahead of you on the trail can save you from a lot of wipeouts while allowing you to maintain proper speeds.

Not Coming Equipped

There are plenty of other common mistakes that aren’t really ones that pertain to beginners like not having the right tire pressure or air pressure in the suspension for a particular trail, but one that’s far more common for rookies is coming unprepared.

Mountain bikers should be bringing plenty of food and water to make sure that they’re properly hydrated with good nutrition while always checking their safety gear. Whether it’s helmets, shoes, socks, gloves, eyewear, etc., too many riders show up to the trail with only their mountain bikes thinking that’s all it takes.

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