5 Confidence-Enriching Tips for Mountain Bike

Kelsey Begg
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So you’ve just bought your first mountain bike and you’re ready to S H R E D but! you’re still a bit hesitant when you hit the trails so you’re not seeing the progress you want. Confidence doesn’t come overnight and although it’s not spoken about often, mountain biking is a sport that is a serious mental game.

Photo by Alexe Root

Tumbles on the trail can vary from itty bitty scratches to season-ending brakes and fractures that need surgery so it’s understandable that it plays heavily on your mindset and confidence. Lucky for you we’ve slapped together 5 confidence-enriching tips to ensure your mountain bike season is on the up and up so you can start the season strong and finish with all the extra stoke.

1. Stay Within Your Comfort Zone

This one is big. Staying within your comfort zone will be key especially when you’re just starting. You want to be able to build your confidence to set yourself up for success. Whether there is one trail you LOVE or you’ve got a select few that you feel comfortable and confident on, shred the heck out of them! If you want to try something new, whether it be testing new techniques or positioning, these comfort trails are the place to do it.

Photo by Brett Wildeman

It’s always good to have that one (or 2) trail(s) that get you amped up with butterflies reminding you why you love your two-wheeled steed. If you’re ready for a challenge, that’s great but remember not to bite off more than you can chew which leads us to our next tip.

2. Know Your Limits

The main way to improve and progress is to challenge yourself but everyone has their limit. Some days we’re feeling on our game and ready to try new things and other days we’re not. This also goes for knowing when to call it a day once we’re starting to feel tired. You may have days where the line you always ride isn’t feeling right and that’s okay. Listen to your body and don’t second guess yourself.

Photo by Alexe Root

If you’re not feeling it, don’t risk it. There’s no shame in walking a section that you may usually ride. Bringing it back to the fact that mountain biking is an epic mental battle with yourself if you’ve had a crash on a specific section, more often than not, that crash will linger in your head every time you go ride that line.

3. Seek Help from a Professional

Some challenges are better tackled with a professional. If you’ve tried and tried again and are still struggling with some of the basic skills, you’ve got a block OR you’ve got the skills and confidence and you’re ready to take it up a notch, hiring a professional is a safe and smart choice! There are multiple clubs, coaching businesses and even private instructors who are ready to help you succeed on the trail.

Register for a private lesson or gather a group of friends and get a little added on-trail education together while splitting the price. You’ll be stoked with the results and perhaps have some new tips and tricks to test out on your next ride.

4. Sign-Up for a Club

Sometimes we just need a hype homie to pump us up on the trails. Other times we just don’t feel comfortable riding alone. No matter the reason, joining a club is a great way to meet fellow riders to accompany you on your rides.

Photo by Brett Wildeman

5. Set Realistic Goals & Trust the Process

Getting PHAT air and hitting wild drops looks pretty neat but it’s important to understand that these skills take time and practice. Setting realistic goals for yourself is a great way to progress and increase confidence so take it easy, and enjoy your time on the trails. Remind yourself that any progress is great progress.

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Further reading

Knowing how to maintain your mountain bike will help it last longer and save you money. Plus, when you take care of your own bike, you’ll enjoy riding it even more. Basic mountain bike maintenance isn’t only handy knowledge to have, it’s practical and pays you back in less time (and money) spent at the bike shop getting your bike repaired.

Mountain bike sizing can vary significantly among brands, which is the main reason for finding your bike size before you buy. A bike that’s a perfect fit also helps you ride more efficiently, avoid injury, and simply makes riding more fun. Understanding what affects bike sizing will not only help you choose wisely but will give you more control over how to fine tune your fit.