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.
Results 1 to 19 of 19
  1. #1
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    Developing Skills riding alone...tips ?

    So Im having a difficult time getting my buds to ride with me. Even though I fully enjoy riding alone the serenity and fun may be limiting any improvements I was looking to make.
    Ive crashed twice and realized both times "man...if I got hurt theres not a soul around". So Im way more cautious and ride much slower than I would knowing people are around to A. Help me if I hurt myself or B. Good rider to follow and watch to learn.

    Im already exploring meeting up with common interest people on this board and elsewhere. But does anyone have any tips or maybe highlight some skills I can work on that I may be overlooking ??
    Or am I approaching this whole thing the wrong way. I want to learn proper technique earlier when my mileage is low rather than later when bad habits have formed.


    FWIW Things Ive improved on
    Cutting down on death grip.
    Petal position on logs/bumps/rocks
    Not locking elbows or holding breath

    Things I cant even begin to get right because I dont want to try them alone.
    Manuals/Wheelies/Bunny hops
    Cornering at any kind of speed
    Proper feathering of brakes on fast descents. (Im always a hair away from OTB because I lock up the front)

  2. #2
    Workin for the weekend!
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    Learn how to fall down. It's gonna happen, so you might as well not fear it....

    Once you know how to bail, your fear of pushing your limits will subside. Just like anything in life, you gotta get out of your comfort zone if you want to grow your abilities.

  3. #3
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    Re: Developing Skills riding alone...tips ?

    Quote Originally Posted by -Todd- View Post
    Learn how to fall down. It's gonna happen, so you might as well not fear it....

    Once you know how to bail, your fear of pushing your limits will subside. Just like anything in life, you gotta get out of your comfort zone if you want to grow your abilities.
    Outside of jiu jitsu and tumbling not sure how one learns to fall down.

    On a side note there really should be an app that let's you text your loved one "I've fallen and I can't get up + GPS coordinates" with a touch of a button.

  4. #4
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    There is an iPhone app, "Find Friends" that tracks your location. I've started using it if I ride alone. Always let someone know generally where you are riding.

    When you test your limits, do so on trails where a crash won't cause you to fall too far down the mountain.

  5. #5
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    Developing Skills riding alone...tips ?

    I watched a few YouTube vids about technique.

    I try to practice those basics.

    When I meet with friends and we ride I try to execute what I "learned".

    Good luck.

    Joel
    2013 Trek Fuel EX 7
    IMBA Member

  6. #6
    Now, THAT'S gonna hurt!
    Reputation: Oh My Sack!'s Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by manmythlegend View Post
    Outside of jiu jitsu and tumbling not sure how one learns to fall down.

    On a side note there really should be an app that let's you text your loved one "I've fallen and I can't get up + GPS coordinates" with a touch of a button.

    There is...at least for the Android. It's called CRADAR and it's free for Android users. Allows you to enter the contacts you want notified by text or email. It uses the phone GPS and accelerometer. You set the sensitivity as to how hard of a stop you want to activate it. You also set how long the alarm chimes giving you time to deactivate the sending of a message if you have a false alarm or don't need assistance.


    To the OP. I'm pretty green to riding, too. I have really benefited from this guys site and videos on youtube....

    Home - mtbtips.com

  7. #7
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    Re: Developing Skills riding alone...tips ?

    Quote Originally Posted by Oh My Sack! View Post
    There is...at least for the Android. It's called CRADAR and it's free for Android users. Allows you to enter the contacts you want notified by text or email. It uses the phone GPS and accelerometer. You set the sensitivity as to how hard of a stop you want to activate it. You also set how long the alarm chimes giving you time to deactivate the sending of a message if you have a false alarm or don't need assistance.


    To the OP. I'm pretty green to riding, too. I have really benefited from this guys site and videos on youtube....

    Home - mtbtips.com


    Good call on both.
    Gonna try that app for sure.
    The mtb tips guy is awesome.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by manmythlegend View Post
    So Im having a difficult time getting my buds to ride with me. Even though I fully enjoy riding alone the serenity and fun may be limiting any improvements I was looking to make.
    Ive crashed twice and realized both times "man...if I got hurt theres not a soul around". So Im way more cautious and ride much slower than I would knowing people are around to A. Help me if I hurt myself or B. Good rider to follow and watch to learn.

    Im already exploring meeting up with common interest people on this board and elsewhere. But does anyone have any tips or maybe highlight some skills I can work on that I may be overlooking ??
    Or am I approaching this whole thing the wrong way. I want to learn proper technique earlier when my mileage is low rather than later when bad habits have formed.


    FWIW Things Ive improved on
    Cutting down on death grip.
    Petal position on logs/bumps/rocks
    Not locking elbows or holding breath

    Things I cant even begin to get right because I dont want to try them alone.
    Manuals/Wheelies/Bunny hops
    Cornering at any kind of speed
    Proper feathering of brakes on fast descents. (Im always a hair away from OTB because I lock up the front)

    As car as wheelies and bunny hops go, when I was a kid and learning to ride, I would try new things in the street in front of my house to get used to them before I tried them on the trail. Wheelies and bunny hops specifically. If you fall down you're close to home and it's easy to practice the same thing over and over. You can use cracks in the road as objects you want to wheelie or bunny hop over. Once you get really comfortable, take it to the trail. Enjoy,

  9. #9
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    I ride alone 99% of the time. (cue the "forever alone" face)
    I find solo much better exercise because I'm not slowing/speeding up or changing my route to accommodate someone else, and also I can rest, quit or go full retard in the bush whenever I want. I have a ton more fun exploring whatever I want.

    Just keep in mind that you are alone and there's nobody to send to the car for help or spare parts so pack accordingly.

    Always bring a phone and keep it dry.

    Always keep more than enough water incase you get lost, take a longer route or are injured and need to spend time in one spot.

    Keep in mind that wherever you are you might have to walk back from. You can minimize catastrophic failures with tools such as spare tubes, multi tool, pump, knife and my "never ride without" large vice grips. (I know I know, the "never ever use on anything" tool)
    Vice grips are great for bending bent parts that are otherwise unfixable in order to get you rolling again or at least limp your bike out and for holding broken parts in place. I once used them to clamp my rear derailleur on after it snapped off on a very long ride. Saved me a ton of walking.

    Also it's a good idea to tell someone where you're going and when you'll be back. Don't forget to call them if you decide to hit your buddies for a case of beer on the way home.

  10. #10
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    I ride alone as well, and am a bit older (56). I try to find routes that can challenge me physically for the workout, but have a few sections where I need to extend my skills - if I want too. I always let my spouse know that I am going riding, where and for how long, and if i don't cll her in x hours, to start worrying.... I went OTB one w/e and that was scary. I did my best to protect myself, but managed a bad sprained wrist and a scraped up face. Thankfully it was on dirt, not rocks!

    i ride a trail slowly to get to know it, and return often. helps get confidence.

  11. #11
    Workin for the weekend!
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    Quote Originally Posted by manmythlegend View Post
    Outside of jiu jitsu and tumbling not sure how one learns to fall down.

    On a side note there really should be an app that let's you text your loved one "I've fallen and I can't get up + GPS coordinates" with a touch of a button.
    There's falling down and getting hurt, and there's falling down and getting up. I'll suggest that you learn how to recognize the feeling of going down and learning to hang on as opposed to flailing and resisting the tumble. Most people get hurt the most be trying to stop the fall, where tucking arms in an hanging on will minimize injury.

    At least that's been my experience, after 1 broken clavicle, I've got enough wherewithal to know how to fall and not sustain aggrevated injury and a lot of it comes from being loose and not trying to resist the inevitable.

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by manmythlegend View Post
    Outside of jiu jitsu and tumbling not sure how one learns to fall down.

    On a side note there really should be an app that let's you text your loved one "I've fallen and I can't get up + GPS coordinates" with a touch of a button.


    for this exact reason, i signed up for the runkeeper pro subscription. I tell my wife where i'll be riding. If i'm not home by X o'clock, look at runkeeper to see where the hell i am.

  13. #13
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    If you're looking for riding partners, try meetup.com. Punch in your zip code and interest (mountain bikes), and it will show you any groups in your area. That's how I met all my riding peeps here. Have fun!
    Quote Originally Posted by Fuglio View Post
    You guys suck im all bummed now

  14. #14
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    Get the book MASTERING MOUNTAIN BIKE SKILLS by Lee McCormack. Good for getting ideas on what you should be working on.
    Practice manuals at the local park on the grass - it's softer when you mess up. I put cones down on the baseball diamond and practice cornering and leaning the bike. It's a predictable loose surface.

  15. #15
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    I'm in a similar situation, except all of my biking buddies have even less riding experience/skills then I do. I end up riding alone mostly because my schedule is more flexible than theirs to go riding and generally I think I'm more addicted to it than they are. I've only tried once to meetup with more experienced riders but it was a very bad experience so I've been sticking with 'looking at videos on youtube and practicing them on the trail' approach.
    One thing that bothers me about riding alone is that I can't gauge if my skills are growing or not. I think I am since I pick up more speed after each time I ride and can now do some technical stuff I used to walk though, but I don't know if I'm really developing good solid skills or just merely inproperly imitating what I'm seeing on youtube.

  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by matadorCE View Post
    I'm in a similar situation, except all of my biking buddies have even less riding experience/skills then I do. I end up riding alone mostly because my schedule is more flexible than theirs to go riding and generally I think I'm more addicted to it than they are. I've only tried once to meetup with more experienced riders but it was a very bad experience so I've been sticking with 'looking at videos on youtube and practicing them on the trail' approach.
    One thing that bothers me about riding alone is that I can't gauge if my skills are growing or not. I think I am since I pick up more speed after each time I ride and can now do some technical stuff I used to walk though, but I don't know if I'm really developing good solid skills or just merely inproperly imitating what I'm seeing on youtube.
    Remember, what we consider to be the proper execution of skills is just the accumulated experience of MTB riders over the years. At one time all MTB learning was the result of trial and error. If it worked, keep doing it. If not, try something different. There is no single right way of doing anything. Thus, if you are getting the job done, you are learning, it may not be as rapid as if you took a skills class, but you are learning.

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by matadorCE View Post
    , but I don't know if I'm really developing good solid skills or just merely inproperly imitating what I'm seeing on youtube.
    lol same here.

    Great advice on here not enough thanks to give out in a day.
    I may try a few things solo and put those orange mini cones I bought a decade ago to some use.

  18. #18
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    Good thought, hadn't thought about it that way. I still inted to find another group of folks to hopefully ride with but I'm being real cautious about it. Don't want to get way over my head and get hurt trying to keep up with other people.

  19. #19
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    You can follow this link here, it should get you start in the right direction, but definitely you should get the bike "bible" by Lee.
    http://forums.mtbr.com/groups/t-w-o-...1/#gmessage741

    As for the immediate skills needed to start enjoying the trails not surviving it I'd rank them as

    Braking-Learning how to brake properly, master the threshold braking. If you know how to slow down(quickly) you can get out of many messes. Plus, if you ever want to ride faster you really gotta know how to brake. Check out leelikebikes.com and do the search on braking.

    Trackstand-It's a must have skills, you can practice it anywhere including your living room If you are comfortable with very slow speed balance you can pretty much stay on the bike for a few extra seconds without getting off the bike while you figure out what you are going to do. I practice on the steep(ish) driveway or slop in both directions, after I feel comfortable enough on the flats. I practice on the trail while we wait for the regroup, before the ride and after ride, next thing I knew I didn't practice anymore, I was doing it on the trails.

    Manuals- Not the type that you ride out on the rear wheel into the sunset, but the brief front wheel loft. It teaches you how to manipulate your body mass to weight or unweight the bike, it's not pulling up motion. Actually it's a pushing out motion. Joe Lawwill is a King of wheelie and manuals, you can find his instruction at the top of my bike skills link. If you can just get your front wheel up and place it on or over the obstacles you can keep rippin' without loosing momentum or get off the bike and push everytime you see a small ledge.

    As for cornering, it's a tough skills to teach as they are not all the same. The best way to learn is to practice, exaggerate a lot, I found that the more I exaggerate during practice the more I relax on the real situation. Keep the outside pedals down and weighted as well as the inside grip. Learn to enter slow and exit fast(er), not the other way around.

    Have fun.

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