One needs to know that mountain biking is different from regular cycling as you will be riding across streams, over rocks and all types of different terrain – not over smooth roads or pavements. This may seem scary at first but once you get the hang of it, it becomes easier and more fun! Plus, mountain biking does not only give you a full body workout, but it also improves heart health, reduces stress, increases brain power, and can be a great way to make new friends with other mountain bikers along the way.

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Here are our mountain biking basics to get you started:

Be relaxed

If you let your bike do the work and move beneath you by being loose in your stance, amazingly the bike will roll over tricky terrain. If you suspend your butt above your saddle when going over obstacles like rocks, roots or bumps, your bike will flow as you are not fighting against what it will do on its own.

Let the bike roll

It may seem impossible at times, but by keeping up your speed (and even speeding up at times) when the terrain you are riding on gets more challenging, will actually make the trail easier to get through as your bike will have the momentum that it needs to keep moving forward. Shifting your weight forward on inclines and backwards on declines, with your centre of gravity over the rear wheel, will also aid in retaining your momentum.

Gears are there to be used

Due to quick changes in the terrain you are riding on, it is important to anticipate changes in the terrain and shift those gears before you are right on top of the obstacle.

Eyes ahead

Most beginners tend to forget to look ahead onto the ongoing trail and instead get into the habit of staring down at their handlebars and the trail right in front of them. Be aware of your surroundings in order to anticipate any next obstacle on the trail.

Two fingers on the brakes

Mountain bike breaks are very powerful, especially the front brake. Tugging on the front brake will most likely send you over the bars. If you do suddenly need to stop, rather pick the rear brake which is easier to control if you do skid.  Rather use your two fingers to moderately control your speed in and out of corners or over tough terrain.

Understand bike repair basics and be prepared

At the least, you should know how to fix a flat tyre and fix a broken chain. Always carry a multi-tool, a pump/bike bomb, and a spare tube, even if you need to ask for assistance. Pack a little more than just your wallet, as you may not come across a shop. If something does go awry and you are out longer than intended it is always advisable to bring along some snacks, plenty of water and perhaps even a small medical aid kit.

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Velocity Sports Lab Hout Bay and Velocity Sports Lab Hilton are ideally positioned as departure points for the most fantastic mountain biking trails. You may want to look at getting a head start on your bike fitness indoors by joining a spinning class before trying out these mountain biking basics to get you started. We have trainers and members who love the outdoors and are avid mountain bikers. Get introduced to other members and join a group. It is always advisable to bike in groups in case you need assistance, but mostly for your own safety.