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Beginners guide to Off Road and Trail Cycling

Mountain biking or Off-Roading is fun and exciting, yet nerve-wracking and terrifying all at the same time. It gets easier and more fun with time. But there are a few tips and tricks every one of us wishes someone had shared when we were just starting out as a beginner. Here are some important beginner mountain biking/off-roading tips you should know when you are first getting ready to venture into trail riding.


You will be tempted at some point as a beginner at off-road riding to grab both brakes and pull them tightly. Resist this temptation; MTB brakes are powerful enough that you need just one, maybe two fingers to modulate your speed.

Adjust your speed before the tricky stuff, like corners and then maintain your speed through them. If you do find yourself going into a turn too fast, stay off the front brake. Stopping your front tire will send your front tire into a slide, which is likely to throw you over. Hit the rear brake instead, you might skid but you are more likely to stay upright.

Beginners guide to Off Road and Trail Cycling - 1
Beginners guide to Off Road and Trail Cycling - 2


Mountain Bike trail profiles tend to look like they cover unpredictable terrain that has routes going up and down often. Anticipate changes in terrain by shifting before you need to. It’ll help you keep your momentum and more importantly save energy.


Your bicycle’s job is to roll over technical terrain. Your job as a beginner off-road cyclist is to let your MTB do its job. That means keeping your body loose, so it can move beneath you. Keep your butt slightly off the saddle when riding over obstacles like roots and rocks. The more technical the terrain, the more room your bicycle needs to move. When flying down a descent, make sure you stretch out your elbows and knees so your body lets the bicycle flow rather than slowing it down.


Most Mountain Bicycles today have at least a front suspension fork, and full suspension models have a shock absorber at the rear as well. These are magical inventions that make big bumps nearly disappear as you roll over them. But they only work if you have them set and maintained properly.

As a beginner, you can take a little time learning the finer nuances of setting how much travel you use. But take a moment to know how to lock out and/or open up your suspension, so you do not accidentally roll out onto a big bumpy on the trail with a fully rigid Bicycle.

Beginners guide to Off Road and Trail Cycling - 3

Every beginner Mountain Cyclist remembers their first time: You are on a Bicycle, which makes sense, but when you are riding over rocks, across mud and rubble and over all types of different terrain which at least the first time feels like a difficult path to ride over. We hope this article has some important points for a beginner to keep in mind and follow so as to ensure a fun and safe trail riding experience.


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