Advice for newbie?



sgcyclistsg

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Apr 9, 2016
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Hi, I mainly cycle in parks or on roads to commute to work or recreational riding, new to mountain bike trails. After reading pointers on the internet, decided to just go ahead and try it today. The bike park I went to had 3 levels of difficulty - "blue square", "black diamond" and "double black diamond". Below vid is my first attempt at the easiest blue square trail.

Did the blue trail 3 times, and starting to get better at it. But the black trail is totally out of my skill/fitness level, gave up after 5 minutes. Any tips on how to get better? The jump from blue to black in terms of difficulty is really big, not sure if I'll ever be able to do it.


Also, does 27.5" or 29" make a significant difference? The bike in the video is a 27.5" I rented.

Oh, and for the forum safety police, yes I was wearing a helmet :D
 

jimmy484

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Dec 17, 2015
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Nice video!

What is it about the advanced trail rides that you find difficult? Increased torque demands? Hills? Riding skills on tricky terrain? Depending on which aspect you find challenging will define what remedial action you need to take.
 
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Corzhens

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May 26, 2015
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I have been reading about trails - using bikes or motorbikes. It looks like this is the trend now, riding in trails. As a friend biker said, you only ride in trails when you are prepared to get dirty. They particularly like trails when it is muddy because, they swear, sliding, slipping and crashing in a muddy trail is lots of fun. But anyway, I think your riding is a different trail because you use it for training. Sorry if I cannot contribute for now.
 

sgcyclistsg

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Apr 9, 2016
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Nice video!

What is it about the advanced trail rides that you find difficult? Increased torque demands? Hills? Riding skills on tricky terrain? Depending on which aspect you find challenging will define what remedial action you need to take.

Thanks! In order of difficulty:

1) Steep climbs that lead on from very sharp corners. Very hard to carry any momentum into the climb due to the sharp turn.
2) Very steep inclines. I try to climb out of saddle and then my front wheel goes up, and I lose momentum. Would it help to climb seated?
3) Deep and long rocky drop-offs. Due to rocks immediately below, can't go down gently, I think I need to build up speed to clear what's below... I guess more of a confidence/scare factor. Below is pic of start of the trail, but not so easy to tell actual depth from the photo:

GOPR0052-0001_zpsvsswzjx2.jpg


^That was just in the first 5-10 minutes of what I encountered, I'm sure it gets tougher haha.

Roots seem manageable, just power through them, but I guess jumping would help. Been trying to practice bunny hop, but haven't been able to get it yet.
 
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eduguy

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Apr 18, 2016
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I'd recommend checking out MTBTips. He has a YouTube channel and a website that provides valuable advice on how to bike better.

This book (https://www.amazon.ca/Mastering-Mountain-Bike-Skills-Edition/dp/0736083715) is amazing for learning how to mountain bike. I think it's generally regarded as the best book. I got it from my local library and read it through so many times.

I haven't mountain biked in awhile, but I remember absorbing roots with arms and legs helped you roll a lot smoother.


I hope this helped you out!
 
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sharkantropo

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Apr 11, 2016
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Neat video.Pretty smooth ride across that blue square trail. Regarding black trail you have to be very careful with speed so you can keep your equilibrium every rock step. You certainly can't go gently, maybe you need to buildup a more moderated momentum perhaps?
 
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jimmy484

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Dec 17, 2015
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Thanks! In order of difficulty:

1) Steep climbs that lead on from very sharp corners. Very hard to carry any momentum into the climb due to the sharp turn.
2) Very steep inclines. I try to climb out of saddle and then my front wheel goes up, and I lose momentum. Would it help to climb seated?
3) Deep and long rocky drop-offs. Due to rocks immediately below, can't go down gently, I think I need to build up speed to clear what's below... I guess more of a confidence/scare factor.

Ah! I'm guessing just more practice with the MB is what you need. From your photo and description it sounds like a fun and interesting ride. I actually wish we had something like that near me.

Just keep at it and you should become more resilient to the climbs. The "fear factor" is something else altogether though.....
 

sgcyclistsg

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Apr 9, 2016
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I'd recommend checking out MTBTips. He has a YouTube channel and a website that provides valuable advice on how to bike better.
mtbtips looks good!

Neat video.Pretty smooth ride across that blue square trail. Regarding black trail you have to be very careful with speed so you can keep your equilibrium every rock step. You certainly can't go gently, maybe you need to buildup a more moderated momentum perhaps?
Thanks! I think I'm going too slowly hence lack of momentum to go up the steep climbs... but when the trail is so scary the natural instinct is to brakebrakebrake haha.
 

pwarbi

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Mar 18, 2015
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It's all about knowing your limits at the beginning, and at first you're going to be apprehensive, especially if it's a trail that your unfamiliar with.

Get more used to the bike and the trail, and you'll get more confident and be able to build your speed up.
 

sharkantropo

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Apr 11, 2016
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Indeed. Steep rock climbs are very intimidating, and not for unfounded reasons. The slightest mistake could lead to a disastrous accident. So yeah, there are relatively high risk chances compared to safer tracks. Luckily, with enough experience and self confidence you can conquer steep climbs. Just make sure your bicycle is in top notch condition, everytime you are setting in order to undertake these kind of challenges.

Keep up the good riding!.
 

pwarbi

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Mar 18, 2015
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The condition and the maintenance of the bike is essential if you're riding trails like this, and that's another thing you'll learn as you'll go along as a newbie.

It's tempting to just ride, but I know some who probably spend as much time maintaining and cleaning their bikes after and before a ride, as what they do actually riding it.
 

sgcyclistsg

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Apr 9, 2016
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Just make sure your bicycle is in top notch condition, everytime you are setting in order to undertake these kind of challenges.

The condition and the maintenance of the bike is essential if you're riding trails like this, and that's another thing you'll learn as you'll go along as a newbie.

Right now I'm just renting bikes. Considering I'll only use the MTB on weekends, space and $ wise it makes sense to just keep renting for now. BUT, the reliability factor is a bigger unknown with rented bikes and they tend to under-inflate their tyres serverely. One shop refused to pump the tyre more in fear that I'd burst/explode the tyre. Sooo tempted to buy this... must resist.
 

OursIsTheFury

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Apr 21, 2016
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You can't have Olympic level endurance the first day. You have to work on it gradually. Set goals that you can confidently accomplish, and work from there. Make sure to push yourself more and more, but like I said, gradually. Good luck, hope you get it right!
 

pwarbi

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Mar 18, 2015
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Right now I'm just renting bikes. Considering I'll only use the MTB on weekends, space and $ wise it makes sense to just keep renting for now. BUT, the reliability factor is a bigger unknown with rented bikes and they tend to under-inflate their tyres serverely. One shop refused to pump the tyre more in fear that I'd burst/explode the tyre. Sooo tempted to buy this... must resist.

You mentioned about renting a bike, and while I know it's popular, and you might think because you only use it every now and again it makes sense, if you enjoy cycling then I'd definitely save up and go out and buy your own bike.

Even if you hardly ever use it, you know it's there as and when you want it, and you also know that its well maintained. There's a lot of rented bikes that aren't even checked over never mind fixed if needed.
 

oportosanto

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Oct 28, 2015
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Great video, thanks for sharing. This is one of the beauties of cycling, we can ride in great places like this and when our skill improves we can give the next step. :)
 

pwarbi

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Mar 18, 2015
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Cycling is something that we can always learn from, and if we ride the same trail everyday then we can still learn new things, and you can't do that with a lot of other hobbies.

People who don't cycle just think it's about getting on a bike, learning to balance and away you go, but there's a lot more to it than that.
 

cyclintom

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Jan 15, 2011
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SG - One of the things you do is ride the blue trails until you are confident enough to try the black diamond. There is nothing wrong with getting off and walking through sections that you don't feel confident about. As you grow used to those trails you will know what you can get away with.

OK, now the problem is that you are used to those trails and want to go somewhere new. On these new trails you're back to zero and you have to find similar features from the trails you know and then you only have a few new details to learn.

Eventually you get enough confidence to ride most black diamond trails. Double or triple black diamond trails are for idiots that don't understand that they are human and can get really hurt. If you were going to be a pro you have to learn to handle those sorts of things but if you're someone that has to show up for work on Monday don't go on those trails.

I had more than enough of trying to complete electronic designs with broken ribs and less skin than a 4 month old and with more bandages than skin.
 

sgcyclistsg

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Apr 9, 2016
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If you were going to be a pro you have to learn to handle those sorts of things but if you're someone that has to show up for work on Monday don't go on those trails.

I had more than enough of trying to complete electronic designs with broken ribs and less skin than a 4 month old and with more bandages than skin.
Haha! Good advice, will definitely give the double black diamond trails a miss.
 

ZXD22

Active Member
Mar 21, 2015
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Take it slow, preferably start in a more controlled environment like the cranberry bogs or a small dirt course instead of those hard and large courses. Once you get the basic fundamentals, then step it up and move to more harder and difficult courses and settings.
 
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flaviocsanches

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Like you, @sgcyclistsg, I also commute everyday to faculty and latter on to the supermarket to buy things for home. My doubt is if I can put some basket in a mountain bike without losing the agility it provides. What do you think?