1. The most important thing about buying a new bike is to make sure it fits. The only way you'll know if the bike is right for you is to size up the bike and make sure that the bike's geometry matches your body's geometry. Ask questions and do some research.
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2. If possible, try to find a shop that will let you demo the bike on real dirt. Five minutes in a parking lot won't cut it. You wouldn't buy a car without a real world test drive, and a bike should be no different.
3. Don't belive the hype. Just because your favorite rider or best friend rides a certain bike, that doesn't mean that's the best one for you. Have an open mind and be realistic about your needs and ability.
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  1. #1
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    Crashing: is it a rite of passage

    Haven't ridden in almost 20 years. 39 now and awaiting new hardtail 29er with clipless. From what I've read here, crashing seems unavoidable. Can anyone share a good start-up guide/ routine to gain confidence and minimize the injuries. I plan on staying on dirt roads to learn before heading in the woods with he rocks, roots and limbs. Thanks.

  2. #2
    AZ
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    Practice clpping and unclipping in the grass.

  3. #3
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    Thank you.

  4. #4
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    Eh it happens. Moreso in mountain biking I think. I crashed twice today. Once climbing a hill (25% or so grade) and just got stuck on some loose rocks. Didn't hurt, but I got a good laugh over it. The second time was descending some singletrack. Hit a corner weird and bam! I'm on the ground. That one hurt. Some good sized scrapes and sctatches, and I sprained my thumb pretty well. I hadnt crashed in a few weeks so I guess I was due haha. My suggestion is to just take your time, and know your limits. I might invest in knee pads after today as well. Pads are good.

  5. #5
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    Crashing due to the fact that you can't unclip is usually at slow speed. It usually you are not aware that you are clipped in or not used to the sensation yet. It task a few weeks to build up muscle memory.

    I'd practice and practice some more, disengage early and on both side. It won't be long til you get used to this feeling and has no need to disengage early. Don't look at your feet, look forward, so many people get into this bad habit in the beginning.

    If it makes you feel better you can put on elbow and knee pads. Have fun

  6. #6
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    just be confident and ride as you would normally. your reflexes will take care of everything. this issue is way overblown on this site. clipless is no big deal but if you worry like it is and try to go slow and be all careful then you will fall. ride fast and point the bike where you want it to go and you wont fall.

  7. #7
    It's about showing up.
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    I've been training teens to ride and race for 12 years. We focus on fitness, good shifting and braking techniques, and riding within limits I prescribe. They don't crash much, are rarely hurt at all, and are faster and more powerful than most cyclist you know.

    Adults tend to get a mountain bike and go out and learn by trial an error. Scars, broken collar bones, wrists, and xrays showing pins holding bones together are considered obligatory and badges of honor. It leads to phrases like: "no scars no proof," "if you don't crash once in a while you aren't having fun." That faction makes it sound like harm just goes with the territory. Hello?

    Two very different models. This has happened because it is only fairly recently that adults have been charged to educate teen riders and a method for learning has been devised. Teens are in the education mode, accustomed and open to training from authorities. That we heavily emphasize respecting their experience and what they bring to the party doesn't hurt.

    Adults on the other hand don't want to be limited in any way. They don't want to hear that they need to develop their skills and power on the pave; they want to go mountain biking. They want to do what they want to do.

    Given the changes in grades, changes in surfaces, wide-ranging temperatures, rain, poorly understood needs for hydration and nutrition, does it make any sense at all that adults are going to develop shifting and braking skills there without harming themselves? Well, they are of legal age and can do whatever they want.

    So, no you don't have to crash and burn to learn to mountain bike. Absent guidance and training I recommend working up your skills on really easy stuff and don't be goaded into moving forward too fast.

  8. #8
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    Im shopping around, fixing to make the move to some clipless pedals as well.

    I know I'm going to practice a lot, and cruise around the neighborhood slowly stopping and starting, clipping in clipping out.. Over and over untill I am confident that I have MASTERED the routine..

    Then, I will go to the park, hop on my bike, ride 5 feet, stop, and fall over as 20 people look and point and mudder "his feet are still on the pedals"

  9. #9
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    you people are way to fearful about clipless pedals. just chill and ride. harden up.

  10. #10
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    I sometimes go a year or two without a good crash, then I'll have a year like last year where I crash pretty good twice in a day. I think if you're concerned with crashing then you have a huge mental block to overcome. Things that help me overcome the block are pads. If I'm feeling sketched out about a trail, I'll throw on my knee/shin pads or even my full face helmet and neck brace. The best defense for feeling under-confident is to pad up. The more confidence you gain, the more comfortable you'll feel with fewer pads. Riding with good flat pedals (big sharp pins with lots of grip) helps most people get over their worries. The more you ride, the more confident you become so get out there and ride!
    Don't you hate it when a sentence doesn't end the way you think it octopus?

  11. #11
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    I crashed twice because of pedal, but both on flats the trail was too narrow and the wider pedal hit the rock sending me off course all in good fun.

    Using clipless is not very difficult actually it's quite easy once you know it, it's the unknown that gets people uneasy. Most common crash even for some experience riders would be some technical climbs, getting the wrong foot out or lost footing, no big deal. You'd come away with a good story to share

  12. #12
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    In the 3 to 4 weeks I've been back riding I've crashed once. It was nothing major. I was going up this very steep hill (not apart of any trail) and thought I could make it....I was wrong (ha). I was about 80% of my way up where I lost my momentom and it became to steep for me to pedal in the gear I was in. I went to plant my foot on the ground and slipped. I then went for a short ride backwards and ended up butt first into some old dried up bushes. I laughed it off as I got back up.
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  13. #13
    DynoDon
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    If you have tension settings, start with them loose, keep your cleats clean, I like to use chain wax on mine, some knee pads or shin guards may be a good idea.. Happy Trails

  14. #14
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    Unclip near a tree. Then you can lean on it.

  15. #15
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    While in to use these battles it's important that you be very purposeful and focused on clipping in and out. It is a different motion then what one would do on a flat-panel. On a flat-panel you might just pick your foot up, or slide it sideways, or slighted backwards or just about anything. Period

    Where the classic SPD fall occurs is generally early in the learning curve when you take your pedals for granted, approaching a stop, usually in front of a lot of people and try and lift your foot off that at all like it was a flat. The it is always funny and people always feel foolish because they haven't anticipated the stop and anticipated the release.

    Having said that, when you are careening hell-bent-for-leather, get sideways or go OTB, your feet will fly out of the pedals.

  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by Berkeley Mike

    Having said that, when you are careening hell-bent-for-leather, get sideways or go OTB, your feet will fly out of the pedals.

    exactly. just ride fast.

  17. #17
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    Just pretend your in that movie SPEED, and yell at people as such "CANT SLOW DOWN, IT WILL EXPLODE!!!"

  18. #18
    I Tried Them ALL... Moderator
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    Mimi is right...it's gonna take about 150 or so successful clip-outs, before muscle memory takes over. Practice unclipping at ALL phases of each leg's pedal stroke. Aim the inside(towards bike) of the cleat slightly back towards the heel of the shoe, so the slightest twist will disengage your foot immediately.

    Crashing is indeed a rite of MTB passage. Having more confidence to clear sections of trail, also helps immensely. Don't just ditch the bike, when you sense danger...your bike and your body will thank you. Instead, make every effort to remain on the bike...and you'll be surprised one of these days WHY you did not crash instead!
    "The mind will quit....well before the body does"

  19. #19
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    Elbow pads is your friend.
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  20. #20
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    Some words of advice. Get the right protective gear before you crash. You will feel so much more confident in everything that you do. Just start wearing elbow and knee protection from the beginning.

    I recommend buying POC VPD elbow and knee guards. So comfortable. They are the best.

    Leave your clips in the closet unless you are racing. Use flat pedals to train in.

    Finding your limits is part of riding. You can't find your limits unless you comfortable pushing past them.

    Don't tippy toe around the trail. Attack it and be prepared. It's a great feeling after you go down and don't get a scratch. You just found out what couldn't be done.

  21. #21
    Shoobie
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    safety equipment is F T W. I love my lizard skin shin guards (non-clipless). Gloves, and even if it is hot, wearing a long sleeve will save you from the little annoying stuff. and the more you fall the more you learn HOW to fall. Your reaction time to catching yourself and/or avoiding rocks curbs tree's will get much better. People refer to me as a ninja when I ski because no matter how crazy I look as I am about to fall I always just slide out or pop ride back up. this "spider-sense" comes from many falls unfort.

    -B

  22. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by annamagpie
    Unclip near a tree. Then you can lean on it.
    unless the part of the tree your are leaning against is rotten then you fall to the ground holding a rotten chunk of tree...yeah not fun, a solid 5-6 minutes of shuffling to untangle myself from the bike so that i could unclipped my foot that was under neath the bike.

    honestly the first time i rode clipless i put the pedals on and my buddy swung by and said get your gear on we are going for a ride. well the only point where the clipless was a problem on that ride was rding back to the door at the dorm, fell over at it couse i couldn't unclip

  23. #23
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    This thread has inspired me to always ride with flat pedals (ha). I don't like the idea of not being able to move my legs at a moment's notice.
    Last edited by Snagged7; 04-03-2011 at 10:26 AM.
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  24. #24
    local trails rider
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    You know, riding with flat pedals will not stop you from falling/crashing/doing face plants.

    My most spectacular crash and my most difficult to untangle fall happened with flat pedals.

    - too fast, wrong line, lost traction --> rolled on the ground and then spent a while finding my stuff that was spread all over the place.
    - fell and got tangled in the branches of a fallen tree. The tricky bit was getting the nose of the saddle from under my belt...

    "it IS possible that you are faster or slower than anybody else who is having at least as much if not more or less fun"

  25. #25
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    Quote Originally Posted by perttime
    You know, riding with flat pedals will not stop you from falling/crashing/doing face plants.

    My most spectacular crash and my most difficult to untangle fall happened with flat pedals.

    - too fast, wrong line, lost traction --> rolled on the ground and then spent a while finding my stuff that was spread all over the place.
    - fell and got tangled in the branches of a fallen tree. The tricky bit was getting the nose of the saddle from under my belt...
    Oh yes, I know that all too well, but crashing like that I'm used to.
    Mid 90's Trek 820
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