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.
mtn. biking 101
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 20 of 20
  1. #1
    I hate sugar sand.
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    I have no idea what I'm doing

    I've been a little bored with the sport lately and have barely ridden over the past 15 months. And when I do ride, it's on completely flat, slow, super easy trails. That being said, I was completely out of my element when faced with elevation changes, quick transitions, any kind of drop, big hits, any speed over 4 mph...anything you'd find on a fun trail.

    I finally went out to Alafia this weekend and hit an intermediate trail with a dude I contacted on another forum. He led the way aaaaaand I immediately ate it. Got back up, 45 seconds later, eat it again and harder this time. Nearly die a few more times, I'm bruised, bleeding, confidence is shot and I'm exhausted after maybe 10 minutes. Unbelievable.

    It was a learning experience though: I barely have any seat time, my skill level is 0 and my endurance is minimal. It made me realize I don't have any clue what I'm doing out there.

    My goal now is to ride more in general, ride more difficult trails than I'm used to and work on my endurance. Getting my ass handed to me was not fun.

  2. #2
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    Good for you.. Keep at it.. I started Mt biking 30 years ago but had not done any serious riding in years due too illness. This past summer I went on a group ride that was suppose to be for beginners. It started with a very long grueling climb. I found very quickly how out of shape I was. I was being passed by people in their 60's. In a group of about 25 I was fighting to stay in 2nd to last place. When it leveled out I was pushing to regain ground. I went over a log and someone had kicked another limb out to a foot from the base. I hit it and end overed onto my head.. Scraped up I got on and kept riding. I made up my mind right then that I was going to push myself to regain what I've lost. I'm not there yet but I keep riding and have improved greatly. You will too, I would suggest finding someone to ride with who either shares your pace or doesn't mind hanging back to help you along. Good luck and God bless
    When you've seen someone rupture their scrotum on a bike you won't take the standards for top tube clearance lightly!

  3. #3
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    It's amazing when you look back and remember what you couldn't do months before, and find yourself doing with ease at some point in the future. It'll make you proud.

  4. #4
    I hate sugar sand.
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    Hopefully by the summer I'll be able to tackle an intermediate trail without bloodshed.

  5. #5
    Trying not to kill myself
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    There's definitely something to be said for just getting seat time and gaining endurance, even if it's on gravel roads, streets, and greenways. It's tough to handle technical features of a trail when you are fighting deficiencies in your cardiovascular and muscular strength. After a long layoff I often find myself struggling on familiar trails that I can handle with ease when I am in better riding condition. Once you can easily handle getting on the bike for an hour or two and keeping up a good pace, a lot of those roots and rocks won't seem like such obstacles.

  6. #6
    Unpredictable
    Reputation: Ridnparadise's Avatar
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    The good thing about MTB is that you can keep learning and improving pretty much for ever. I am going to guess that there are 2 simple things you can do to improve your ride and reduce the pain. The first is force yourself to look farther ahead. The second is to go faster. It is almost impossible to manage rocks, roots etc going really slowly. Speed gives you the momentum to plough through and high speed creates an amazing amount of rotational momentum that prevents the wheels being deflected off line.

    Perhaps if you can find an open park or field and work on the speed part, plus consider riding a bit of street. Learning to go over gutters and around obstructions on pavement will give you more confidence in the bush because you will be comfortable getting off the saddle and letting the bike move around under you. Keep your eyes ahead to where you want to go, not just on what is in front of your wheel and don't grip the bars too hard.

    And have fun

  7. #7
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    When you fall what is happening? Are you going OTB in a decline? OTB on an obstacle? Is your front tire washing out in corners? Your rear tire washing out? Falling backwards on uphills? etc....

    Not to assume anything here.... Does your bike fit you propperly? Were you fitted to the bike at a shop or just pick a size that "should" work for you? Is it in general the proper type of bike for the trails you are trying to ride? Like, you aren't trying to take a hybrid bike AM riding?

    If you are a bit more specific you can probably get some pointers to work on for your next ride.

  8. #8
    Fat-tired Roadie
    Reputation: AndrwSwitch's Avatar
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    Go back there on your own and take things at your own speed.

    The slowest rider in a group gets hosed coming and going. You work harder than the other guy, so your handling gets sloppy and you have to work even harder to keep up. But you probably still get dropped. Sooner or later, he notices he's dropped you, stops, and gets a nice recovery while you catch up. Then he does it again, and you get no recovery. Not on purpose, people just don't empathize as well as we like to think.

    Just remember when the shoe is on the other foot, and try to ride at a more measured pace and give the other guy a little time to recover. Because if you keep at it, sooner or later you will be the stronger guy in a group. We all take turns in each role.
    "Don't buy upgrades; ride up grades." -Eddy Merckx

  9. #9
    I hate sugar sand.
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    Quote Originally Posted by DECIM8 View Post
    When you fall what is happening? Are you going OTB in a decline? OTB on an obstacle? Is your front tire washing out in corners? Your rear tire washing out? Falling backwards on uphills? etc....
    Navigating obstacles on a decline is what really throws me for a loop, that's where I lose it. The angle and the speed makes me get all squirrely.

    I'm 5'9" and I've got a 2012 Trek Marlin in medium. After fitting a slightly shorter stem and wider handlebars, I think I've got the cockpit dialed in how I want it. I'm honestly not tackling anything too gnarly; the bike feels up to the task, the rider is not.

    I rode some trails on Saturday that were a step up from the tame baby trails I normally ride. There was more variation in the terrain and I even found an area where I could practice dropping into declines over and over. I feel like I made some good progress.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by DoinkMobb View Post
    I finally went out to Alafia this weekend..
    Alafia is one of the top 5 best trails in the state.. but what is your home trail that you usually ride?
    Put a mountain biker in a room with 2 bowling balls and we'll break one and lose the other - GelatiCruiser

  11. #11
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    My first ride:

    60 minutes in, endo on a boulder. Pop both tires. Pull tubes out, realize one is the wrong valve. Walk 2 hours out.

    Somehow I'm still riding..
    You'll look back and laugh someday. For now just get out and ride as much as possible!
    I collect the best mountain biking deals and write about how to save you money!

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  12. #12
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    Going out on a limb and suggesting you might try dropping your seat post a bit for downhill sections. This will allow you to get back farther on the bike and lower. When on an incline or decline you still want your weight equally distributed on each wheel of the bike while also having some suspension to your arms and legs. On a decline his means getting your weight back (and down to lower your center of gravity). Think of it as almost trying to touch your butt to your rear tire (I have done just that on steep declines where I have had to grab some brakes). If your seat is in a proper spinning position it probably won't allow you to get very far back or low and you will probably have too much weight forward. This can give the front tire too much traction and make it grab at every bit of terrain as well as make you feel like you could go over your bars at any moment. If you have the front and back equally weighted with some suspension to your limbs you should feel more like you are floating over the terrain. If your terrain is a bit of a roller coaster and you are committed to the sport, a dropper might be a good investment to keep from having to stop and raise or lower your seat all the time. Anyway, just a suggestion of what might be causing your downhill woes. Keep riding and gaining experience, it takes time.

  13. #13
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    Man I can sure feel your pain! I just got a nice fancy new f29 and took it out the first time yesterday! About 2 min in ate it ,ate it ,ate it again! This happened about 6 times in 1.5 hrs! It was to muddy but I couldn't resist! I may have walked almost as much as I rode! Its all Good though, I had a ball! I was alone. May keep it that way for a while though! I don't have a clue either!LOL
    Good luck!

  14. #14
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    Mud sucks, in fact it sucks so bad that I have developed an obsessive compulsive reaction that whenever I see it I become catatonic for 12 hours or so and awake in a sea of empty beer bottles with no idea as to how they got there.
    Just to let you know / friendly hint; riding trails in really muddy conditions trashes them, big time, you will not be very popular with your local trail builders or other trail users if you continue and may find yourself riding alone for quite a while.
    Love the enthusiasm keep it up.....

  15. #15
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    I thought the same thing when I started to do trials, this **** is impossible I will never be able to hop on my rear tire, guess what? I can now, not great but I can get up and hop on the back tire. Its all just time on the bike no matter what type of bike. Some say saddle time well my trials bike has no saddle LOL
    Keep at it, I am sure you will conquer it and have a blast doing so, remember chicks dig scars and that feeling you get clearing a section you thought was next to impossible lasts a life time. I have been MTBing 20 some odd years and I can still remember every hard section I made after multiple failed attempts, Hell 3 weeks ago I bought my first fatbike, went out a trial I have ridden for a very long time, its allot different when covered in snow and ice, getting used to the new bike and tires I went down at least 6 times if not more, mind you the landing was soft. Fast forward 3 weeks and new tires and I am allot more stable and have not kissed the ground in a week
    Giant XTC 2 29er
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  16. #16
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    I think trying to practice as much as you can..it will come to you...watching some basic skills videos always help.

    Essential Mountain Biking Skills - YouTube

    Mountain Bike Technique - Step Downs Part 1 - YouTube

    Mountain Bike Technique - Get a Grip Part 1 - YouTube

    Cornering with Fabien Barel - YouTube

    Climb better on a mountain bike in 90 seconds - YouTube

    How to climb roots on a mountain bike in 3 easy steps - YouTube

    How to ride a Log Rollover in 2 minutes - YouTube


    just keep at it....everyone had to start somewhere...Jim Carrey used to be homeless...Bethany Hamilton had her arm bitten off by a shark...Thomas Edison failed 1,000 times before creating the lightbulb....Michael Jordan was actually cut from his high school basketball team...sometimes failure is just a part of it..don't let it get ya down and keep at it..the rewards are great....Ive been biking for a long time and Im still learning new things...and it has actually made my life better in a lot of ways.

    also if something looks like its out of your realm..walking it is fine...eventually getting up the courage to try things..pick a line and go for it.

    also riding a road bike will help with stamina...I started riding in the tail end of the summer and fall on the road...and it really helped riding off road..I could ride longer distances and had more power going up hills.
    Last edited by Dresdenlock; 02-04-2014 at 02:04 PM.
    We Can't Stop Here...This Is Bat Country.
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  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by AndrwSwitch View Post
    Go back there on your own and take things at your own speed.
    This is great advice. Riding with people is fun IF you already know the trail and have developed a good set of skills. For learning and developing, I've found it better to work on things on my own and take things one step at a time.

  18. #18
    I hate sugar sand.
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    Quote Originally Posted by SandSpur View Post
    Alafia is one of the top 5 best trails in the state.. but what is your home trail that you usually ride?
    The Wilderness Park trails are closest to me. I was riding the Flatwoods trails for the longest time, but just went back to Morris Bridge.

    Quote Originally Posted by DECIM8 View Post
    Going out on a limb and suggesting you might try dropping your seat post a bit for downhill sections.If your terrain is a bit of a roller coaster and you are committed to the sport, a dropper might be a good investment to keep from having to stop and raise or lower your seat all the time. Anyway, just a suggestion of what might be causing your downhill woes. Keep riding and gaining experience, it takes time.
    I have slightly lowered and moved my seat rearward recently, and I like the results. Any downhill around these parts will be more of the rollercoaster type.

    I honestly would rather bike alone, at least until I know that I'm not holding somebody up. It's not fun being left in the dust and it's not fun for the other dude(s) waiting for me to pick my bloody carcass up off the trail every 150 ft.

  19. #19
    squish, squish in da fish
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    a good rainy day read, there's a few good pointers in here. Scribd

  20. #20
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    With almost no riding for 15 months and very little seat time (your words), trying to tackle trails, drops, elevation changes, roots, rocks etc... is going challenge you tremendously. The first thing that pops out is the lack of conditioning. To ride effectively and in-control, you need stamina; both in muscle strength and cardiovascular fitness. To get where you need to be, you have to put in the time on the bike, and push yourself. There's no short changing the work required, and it's going to hurt.

    This doesn't mean assaulting the trails until you bleed, find easy places to ride where you can learn to ride faster and climb longer. Even riding on the street or long gravel roads. Ride within your ability while you gain fitness to challenge more difficult terrain.

    I'm no elite athlete, just an older biker trying to get back into the sport. After a long layoff, I had zero stamina. Instead of tackling the hills, I started riding the roads to gain speed and endurance. Now I'm splitting time between both road and MTB and the work is starting to pay off. Still a lot of work to do, but I can see some progress.

    Best of luck....

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