In the first part of this three part series, we looked at the essential equipment for MTB riding. In the second part, we looked at useful tips to help you get started with MTB riding. In this third and final part, we will explore useful tips to help you ride uphill and downhill with ease. While trail riding, you are bound to encounter an uphill or downhill slope or both. If your goal is to become an expert MTB rider, you have to learn to tackle these slopes with confidence.
Keep in mind that these techniques may take quite a while to master. Do not get frustrated and give up if you donÛªt learn them immediately. Make sure you wear the necessary safety gear before starting to ride.
The Importance of Braking, Weight Balance and Gear Shifting
By now, if you had followed the tips in the previous article, you must be familiar with your BicycleÛªs brakes. In MTB riding, learning the proper braking technique is crucial as it affects your safety. You should never apply brakes fully. Doing so increases the risk of toppling over. Instead, you have to learn to shift your weight around to increase the braking effect on your bike without pulling the brake lever fully. This will result in a gradual but controlled decrease in speed. You should also learn to shift gears properly as proper shifting will not only save crucial energy but will also allow you to enjoy the ride safely.
Downhill MTB riding
While riding downhill, first let go of the pedals and allow the bikeÛªs momentum to guide you. While braking, stand up and try to shift your weight towards the rear of the cycle, while applying the front brakes more and rear brakes less. You must never fully apply the front brake suddenly as it may cause you to flip over. åÊToo much use of the rear brake will cause you to skid. Thus, the most important thing to do when you approach a drop is to remain calm. Otherwise, you might panic and slam the brakes.
Only repeated practice will help you find the right balance. Practice only on familiar terrain so that you donÛªt panic and slam the brakes whenever you encounter a steep downhill or a narrow channel.
Uphill MTB riding
While riding uphill, concentrate on shifting your weight towards the front of the cycle. You can do this by slowly leaning forward. Never try to stand and pedal while going uphill on a dirt trail. Sit on your saddle firmly, downshift before you hit the hill and go easy on the pedal.
Your body is constantly working during MTB riding. It helps you brake, go uphill, go downhill, break your fall, increase your lift, increase your speed etc. Mastering your riding posture allows you to approach each obstacle properly, thereby allowing you complete the trail quickly and efficiently. MTB riding is all about going uphill and downhill.
These pointers will help you develop your MTB riding skills. Please practice on predictable, familiar trails while wearing proper safety gear. Remember, it takes years to become a master of trail riding. Perseverance is crucial if you want to achieve high levels of proficiency. Enjoy the ride.åÊ