Elizabeth RogersEd McCannEthan Loughrey
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7 Bits of Advice for New Mountain Bikers

Posted on August 7, 2020 @ 1:00 PM in Mountainbiking

Northern Ireland's Mountain Bike Trails have seen a drastic increase in numbers during lockdown as more and more people turn to nature to get their exercise groove on. With that in mind, we asked our followers for advice they would give to new mountain bikers that are maybe just starting out. Enjoy!


1) "Talk to other bikers"

Mountain biking is a profoundly social sport at heart. New mountain bikers, as they're getting to grips with how to handle rock drops and lean into corners, will probably be out with friends. When you bump into other riders, maybe just before descending Run Ragley Run at Davagh Forest MTB Trails, don't be afraid to say hi. Mountain bikers love to talk shop on trails, bikes or even just the weather. We're a friendly bunch really.

2) "BUY A HELMET" / "Trees don't move out of the way"

Two pieces of advice for the price of one! Buy a helmet. Use it. Why? Because trees don't move out of the way, as you'll quickly come to realise. Helmets are literal life savers and every mountain biker you ever meet, from the pros at the top to the weekend warriors ripping up the local trails will tell you that you NEED a helmet. 


3) "It's about having fun"

Strava times and insane jumps are great, but all mountain biking should be about fun. Portraying it as a a 100% high flying, gravity defying ultra sport actually prevents more people from getting into the sport (and possibly, eventually joining in the extreme stuff). Do it your way and don't get too hung up on the super skills that some people are able to show off as they blitz past you on the trails at Blessingbourne Estate.


4) "Consider your budget"

Buying a bike for the first time is 9 parts exciting, 1 part scary. Don't let the scary bit put you off. If you're unsure of what bike suits you best (are you a 27.5 rider or a 29er? E-bike or hard tail? How about a full sus?)then talk to somebody. The team at Chain Reaction Cycles are experts at helping people choose their first mountain bike - just give them an idea of your budget and they'll throw plenty of different options your way. A word of warning, as you fall in love with the sport, you may find yourself eyeing that second bike. And then third...

5) "Ride at your own pace on trails within your skill level, but still challenge yourself from time to time"

Similar to 'It's about having fun' but with an extra emphasis on the features. Features, if you're not familiar with the term, are the obstructions or varients in the trails which you'll encounter along the way. It's important when you're starting out to not let yourself get caught up in what you think you should be able to do. When you come to tackle your first rock drop (like the one below at Barnett Demesne MTB Trails), decide if you're happy to give it a go. If not, keep practising on the smaller ones until you feel you've got the hang of it. Then, when that day comes, go for it and enjoy the buzz!

6) "Look where you want to go, not at the stuff you want to avoid"

A straight forward piece of MTBing advice as old and true as time. Your hands have a tendency to follow your eyes, so don't lock on that tree that's up ahead. Instead, track the trail with your eyes as you move and you'll find that all those rocks actually pass much easier than you would have expected. An ideal place to practise this is the boardwalk at Rostrevor MTB Trails.


7) "When you get older, after falling off a mountain bike for 30 years, all those injuries are gonna come to haunt you, so give them time to heal!"

When the day comes that you fall off your bike for the first time (and it will come) then get up, pat yourself down and examine the damage. As this commenter put it, those smacks start to add up so if you feel you've done any damage, call it a day and allow yourself time to fix up.

Looking for some more advice? Pro rider Dan Wolfe made a video of great tips for new mountain bikers at Davagh Forest Mountain Bike Trails which you can see here.

Ethan Loughrey
Ethan Loughrey  Mountain Bike Officer

Hardest thing about Mountain Biking? Definitely the trees.

1 comment has been posted in reply to this article

Posted by Arun on August 13, 2020 @ 9:16 AM

It is nice to know about these tips, and I feel it will help all adventure sports enthusiasts. I am a biker, and I also love being a stunt pilot. I got trained from a camp arranged by https://www.americanbarnstormerstour.com/. They have all things covered regarding barnstorming. I am planning to take part in the next event.

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