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  1. #1
    Trail Ninja
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    Bad riding/bike habits

    For those that are past the stage of denial, what habits do you admit that you have and maybe would like to work on?

    Personally, I need to work on my bad braking habits. I brake late and tend to drag my rear brake if I don't feel confident going through something challenging. There's also a few sections I "lock" my front brake on, which keeps me from even following a gentle curve in the trail, when I know just letting go would be far better. I learned far better braking habits once I got a dropper post and utilized it, but some habits stuck.

    I also need to stop avoiding the heat in the middle of the day, and putting off riding until later.

    A recent habit I broke out almost completely was hosing down my bike when it really didn't need it. It carried over from when I biked on the east coast, and now that I'm in SoCal, it's only dust and sweat really, which I find I can just wipe off.

    Has anyone else gone through similar challenges? What kind of tips/tricks did you use to overcome them? Share your bad habits and experiences with them.
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  2. #2
    Ugly As F*ck
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    My worst habit is that I keep riding even though I suck. You would think I'd take a hint, you know?

    But on a more serious note, I brake too often and probably at incorrect times.

    Also, as a somewhat beginner rider, I've had the habit of watching "where I am" as opposed to "where I'm going", i.e. not keeping my line of sight down the trail instead of right in front of me. Something I've gotten better at, but I still find myself reverting to that old habit at times for some reason.

  3. #3
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    I'm really trying to break the habit of trying to go around rather than over or through puddles/mud.

    Also constantly trying to brake before rather than during cornering.

    I'm currently really working on pointing with my laser during cornering.
    ​mountain biking is fun.

  4. #4
    I Tried Them ALL... Moderator
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    PAST = Not enough confidence
    PRESENT = Too much confidence
    "The ONLY person who needs to race.....is the entrant"

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by Zachariah View Post
    PAST = Not enough confidence
    PRESENT = Too much confidence
    Past = too much confidence, present = not enough confidence. I'll trade you! The only really bad habit is making excuses to NOT go biking.

  6. #6
    El Gato Malo
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    Quote Originally Posted by Varaxis View Post
    I also need to stop avoiding the heat in the middle of the day, and putting off riding until later.
    Avoiding mid-day heat isn't a bad habit, it's just being smart.

  7. #7
    Trail Ninja
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    I don't consider it bad. You just need to plan for it. Choose a trail with shade, especially one that doesn't have long climbs that's fully exposed to the sun, or maybe choose a trail around the lake since there's usually a cool breeze. Plenty on topics on managing heat, to help with that preparation.
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  8. #8
    Like a BOSS
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    When riding with my wife, I have a very bad habit of looking back over my shoulder to be sure she cleared that section, and didn't take a spill. Unfortunately I realized this after a bad crash that I just had surgery from yesterday. Lesson learned the hard way I guess.
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  9. #9
    TeXaS BoY
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    breaking
    Don't live in fear. Be ready.

    I love my bike like a fat kid loves cake.

  10. #10
    El Gato Malo
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    breaking frames, wheels, bones....?

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by YOUR HONOR View Post
    breaking
    Wind?
    Use it, use it, use it while you still have it.

  12. #12
    Ugly As F*ck
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    Breaking brakes most likely. If you brake too hard you can break your brakes. Or at least you could break your brake levers.

    Brake is a funny word. So is break.

  13. #13
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    ...if you have a "bike habit", there's no such thing as "bad-riding".
    "...emptybe_er's just a nice-guy."

  14. #14
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    ^ 13th post noticed it.

    Anyway, my bad bike riding habit would be

    I tend to follow the bad habits of my co-riders when I'm on a group ride. I should find the courage to say "No, crossing an intersection on a red light or going against the traffic direction or chatting three riders abreast is wrong."

  15. #15
    Hi There!
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    Quote Originally Posted by docter_zab View Post
    I

    Also constantly trying to brake before rather than during cornering.
    Are you braking before the corner or during? I can't figure it out but I think you should be braking before the corner, not during?
    NTFTC

  16. #16
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    Bad riding/bike habits

    Cool topic. Mine is definitely braking too much coming into corners. My riding has improved vastly in all other areas, but for some reason I still can't get myself to take a corner at speed, mostly because washing out here in AZ means a not-so-fun run in with cactus usually

  17. #17
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    Re: Bad riding/bike habits

    Bike neglect (still covered in 3 week old mud), forgetting to look up in the rocks but my worst habit has got to be forgetting to air down at the trailhead, understeering wildly and winding up in a bush/ditch/sewer (melbourne has some sketchy trails).

    Today I realised I also have a propensity to try dumb **** with no speed while im supposed to be cruising with the gf. Wallride attempt to tree gone right

  18. #18
    MTB B'dos
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    Everyone's got a few and despite learning and knowing better, we all happen to revert back on occasion

    My biggest bad habit was switching to clipless too soon after starting to MTB and not learning properly on flats, so don't keep good weight/contact with the pedals. Learned this last week after having a nice fall and doing my knee in fairly good and possibly tweaked from unclipping, so switched to some flats for a couple weeks while I let it heal - Hit a jump and feet floated off the pedals, not a nice feeling. Did learn though that I like the freedom of clipless and that you get much more "easy" movement than with flats - I find on flats you have to unweight your foot and reposition it, for clipless you can just pivot and use the float in the pedal to change foot placement and weight distribution - learned this riding the flats on off camber trail, wasn't nearly as confident or fast on those off camber corners as I couldn't move about on the pedals like I'm accustomed to.

    Biggest bad habit I broke was the always dragging the brakes instead of modulating them on and off on steep and/or long descents, also to use them like if you do in a race car, pick your spot to brake and lay down full on brakes and then let off and ride, rinse and repeat, feather on occasion when you need to scrub a little speed, easiest thing to stop overheating your brakes and brake fade and hand pump.
    One day your life will flash before your eyes, will it be worth watching??
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  19. #19
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    Braking for me as well. I tend to come into corners a bit hot. Rather than scrub a bit of speed early and commit to carving i feather the rear brake while cornering.

    Past denial, i know this is an incorrect technique and i am working on it. When i lay off the brakes while cornering i can actually feel the bike pop out with momentum. When i do it wrong i have to mash a few times to get back up to speed.

  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by donthucktoflat View Post
    Bike neglect (still covered in 3 week old mud), forgetting to look up in the rocks but my worst habit has got to be forgetting to air down at the trailhead, understeering wildly and winding up in a bush/ditch/sewer (melbourne has some sketchy trails).

    Today I realised I also have a propensity to try dumb **** with no speed while im supposed to be cruising with the gf. Wallride attempt to tree gone right
    Sounds like we have the same bad habits, although I don't know what you mean by, "forgetting to air down at the trail head". Do you mean catching your breath or something like that?

  21. #21
    Team Fearless Descender
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    I'll "fess up" to two, one of witch I've corrected. They are both things that I should know better after over 25 years riding the dirt.

    1) The most dangerous(?), but the one I've corrected is, riding too often, both up and downhill with my thumbs on top of the bar, not hooked under (fingers on top, thumb under). I shoot a lot of photos, and from time to time video of rides. Someone, here on MTBR was watching one of my video posts and commented, "how many times have you gone over the bars with your grip like that?" I commented back that I didn't even notice, but "thank you!". So that one was fixed on the next ride, and has been ever since. Where, when, or how I ever got into that bad habit I'll never know.

    2) The other is one that MhzMonster posted here, too often looking back to make sure others (my wife) have cleared a section. Thankfully doing that has never gotten me into anything I could correct out of, but I know if I keep doing it my "number will be up" sometime.

    Good thread going on here.
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  22. #22
    orthonormal
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    I tend to mash big gears too much of the time. It's an old single speeding habit that doesn't serve me well when I'm riding my 6" travel FS bike.

    I've been riding clipless pedals since 1994 and somewhere along the way lost the ability to bunny hop without them. It took quite a bit of practice and attention to proper technique but I managed to relearn the skill, and can now clear a 12" obstacle with flats. It serves me well on the trail regardless of what type of pedals I'm using at the time.
    The glass is twice as large as it needs to be

  23. #23
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    I read this thread before I hit the trails this am,after reading all the braking stuff I decided I'd try and keep my speed up a little more in corners today. I did fine until a short gentle curve with a tree on my left and didnt use body english around it and down I went. This was after seeing my bike was really low on air in the rear with no spare tube and Target not having a 29er tube.So back home I go to get my back up ride and that one has low pressure in the front, maybe I should have just skipped riding today but that statement seems ridiculous. I dont think I'm going to read this thread anymore before a trail ride in the future.
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  24. #24
    Trail Ninja
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    I had a bad habit not pacing myself on what are supposed to be long rides, doing the whole show up to blow up thing. Not so friendly on the bike parts either, leading to some mechanicals. I've learned the bikes can go surprisingly fast with a much lighter finessing touch, when compared to reckless man handling. Trying for a balance between the two.
    Last edited by Varaxis; 08-12-2013 at 09:10 AM.
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  25. #25
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    Not getting my butt off the seat enough!

  26. #26
    orthonormal
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    Quote Originally Posted by mcrn12 View Post
    Not getting my butt off the seat enough!
    First thing I taught my daughters was weight on your feet, not on your seat.
    The glass is twice as large as it needs to be

  27. #27
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    Quote Originally Posted by Varaxis View Post
    Has anyone else gone through similar challenges? What kind of tips/tricks did you use to overcome them? Share your bad habits and experiences with them.
    One habit that I have found difficult to break is assuming that if the rider in front of me walks an obstacle then I should do the same. Usually I am riding with someone of similar ability and figure that if they can't handle a section of trail then I probably can't either. But that is not always the case- sometimes they are just having an "off" day or are playing it safe.

    I always scold myself when I am walking my bike down something and can see a good line that I should have ridden. Sometimes I will go back and give it a try, other times I just let it go...
    I drank the 29er koolaid- turns out it was POWERade

  28. #28
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    My biggest problem is I climb to fast on trails I'm new to
    and blow up. Also my technical skills suck.

  29. #29
    Trail Ninja
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    Quote Originally Posted by mcrn12 View Post
    Not getting my butt off the seat enough!
    I found it extremely hard to break this habit, just due to exhaustion. Every time I'm on an off camber straight with a few small rocks in the way, I am reminded that I need to get out the saddle. It's so awkward to have your front go around an obstacle, yet have the rear clip, then you find your rear end sliding down the sloped side of the trail with your whole lower body twisted towards the trail to no avail. I always tell myself after the fact that I need to gtfo out of the saddle... there's this section like that right after a steep sandy climb on my trails too. On my FS I'm usually fine, but on my HT... oh man, if you get lazy and rest your ass in the saddle on a rough uphill you will go even slower than a FS and maybe get even more tired.
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  30. #30
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    Quote Originally Posted by El Salt View Post

    1) The most dangerous(?), but the one I've corrected is, riding too often, both up and downhill with my thumbs on top of the bar, not hooked under (fingers on top, thumb under). I shoot a lot of photos, and from time to time video of rides. Someone, here on MTBR was watching one of my video posts and commented, "how many times have you gone over the bars with your grip like that?" I commented back that I didn't even notice, but "thank you!". So that one was fixed on the next ride, and has been ever since. Where, when, or how I ever got into that bad habit I'll never know.
    I still do that same thing time to time, and was super bad when I first started riding. I attributed it to being a gymnast growing up, and thumbs over the bar is how you swing on the uneven bars, so I think it was just a physiologically natural thing for me to do.

    My biggest bad habits are all regarding descending and cornering at speed and being really "brake happy." My boyfriend says my biggest bad habit is "monster trucking" technical stuff instead of choosing clean lines. I like monster trucking personally, LOL.

  31. #31
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    burning a bowl half way through a ride.

  32. #32
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    Not having enough balls to get much beyond being a seasoned beginner.

  33. #33
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    Re: Bad riding/bike habits

    Quote Originally Posted by Geohound View Post
    Sounds like we have the same bad habits, although I don't know what you mean by, "forgetting to air down at the trail head". Do you mean catching your breath or something like that?
    I pretty much only ride to the trails so I pump up my tyres to roll a little faster. Get to the trail, forget to let air out cos im excited, go hard at first corner and lowside into a bush.

  34. #34
    clown question, bro
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    I still clip out of my pedals when there's some sketchy stuff coming up. I know I'm more likely to crash in doing so, but I think it's the comfort factor of being able to easily bail if necessary.
    Quote Originally Posted by Ilikebmx999 View Post
    Are we just ignoring balls? Lol

  35. #35
    undercover brother
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    I need to warm up and stretch more before going full throttle. I have gotten disabling cramps in the middle of my last ride, so much so that I had to walk out, with both legs barely being able to bend. I believe that I may have strained my quads this time as I have been sore for days.

  36. #36
    Dirt Junkie
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    On slow uphills and flat sections I tend to only look 5-15 feet in from of me. It gets worse the more tired I get.
    How can anyone who's been riding as long as I have, be so slow???

  37. #37
    TeXaS BoY
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    Quote Originally Posted by YOUR HONOR View Post
    breaking
    breaking? hell, I meant braking! Some days I brake a little more often than others. A few years ago I peeled back the inner forearm skin from the right wrist to near the elbow in an odd bike accident. Wasn't fun.
    Don't live in fear. Be ready.

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  38. #38
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    Quote Originally Posted by alphajaguars View Post
    Not having enough balls to get much beyond being a seasoned beginner.
    Hey...that's a STRENGTH, not weakness.....unless you have unlimited free health care and pleasant ER waiting rooms that serve coffee and donuts and such.
    I've been a seasoned beginner for going on 25 years now.

  39. #39
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    I run too much air pressure.

    Most of my rides include some pavement to get to the trails where I ride, so I don't notice it until I lose traction out on the trail.

    I'm doing better lately (running F:26, R:28), but since I recently got a new bike (and new tires) I'm still trying to figure my ideal pressure.
    I just wanna ride...

  40. #40
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    My cornering, I have always leaned over with the bike without doing the whole hips out over the bike, its hard to correct after so many years of it, Id say 80% of corners are fine with my technique but those other 20% is where ill lose a race.

    Also I tend to rely too heavily on the rear brake rather than the front like I should.

  41. #41
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    Quote Originally Posted by uglyguy2 View Post
    Breaking brakes most likely. If you brake too hard you can break your brakes. Or at least you could break your brake levers. Brake is a funny word. So is break.
    Ah, my bad habit is Braking Bad -- somebody had to say it.
    Anyway, I'm working going to one-fingered braking from two-fingered braking. Two-fingered braking is a hard habit to break.

  42. #42
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    Quote Originally Posted by June Bug View Post
    Ah, my bad habit is Braking Bad -- somebody had to say it.
    Anyway, I'm working going to one-fingered braking from two-fingered braking. Two-fingered braking is a hard habit to break.
    Upgrading to hydro's from my BB7's made that transition easy.

    That, and I swapped the shifters and brake levers so I can only reach them with one finger.

  43. #43
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    Quote Originally Posted by alphajaguars View Post
    Upgrading to hydro's from my BB7's made that transition easy.

    That, and I swapped the shifters and brake levers so I can only reach them with one finger.
    I just swapped the shifter and brakes too but I had to get used to what finger pressure yielded what stopping power. That is where the real "adjustment" takes place especially on those minute brake adjustments as I try to just scrub off enough speed but still maintain good momentum.

  44. #44
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    Bad habits for me are;

    1. Mashing big gears
    2. Not working on technical skills i.e. bunny hop

  45. #45
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    Quote Originally Posted by alphajaguars View Post
    Not having enough balls to get much beyond being a seasoned beginner.
    You just defined my life.
    Slightly faster than a speeding snail.

  46. #46
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    Quote Originally Posted by alphajaguars View Post
    ....to get much beyond being a seasoned beginner.
    There is something so very Zen about being a seasoned beginner. I like it!

  47. #47
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    Duplicate post removed.

    Warren.

  48. #48
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    Particularly bad habits? ... I've one bad habit in particular.

    I camp where ever I like ... and if challenged (which doesn't happen that often, but has mostly happened from interested fellow campers), I cite a common law, described in (all several charters of) the Magna Carta ... that long-distance travellers have the right to camp on unused or vacant Crown land. That's any land owned by the Crown. In the US you don't have a Monarchy hey? ... well bad luck, we do in Oz.

    Camp anywhere ... even blatantly. State your common law right, in the Magna Carta, and the cops will just walk away.



    In Ozzi passports this is written, something which enhances my bad camping habit ... lawfully of course.




    I hope that this helps when you visit Oz.

    Warren.

  49. #49
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    Braking in corners.

    Body positioning when leaning the bike.

    Not riding enough technical stuff.

  50. #50
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    I'm still trying to get in the habit of shifting down at stops... I have some hard take offs once in a while LOL

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