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  1. #1
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    How to be a better rider

    When I first started mountain biking, I felt like I was constantly chasing the faster mountain bikers around, not understanding how they could be so smooth. I kept making the same mistakes over and over again...going into curves too fast and then braking hard while in the turn... bashing into logs instead of wheelie-ing to get over them smoothly. I realized that I needed a different learning environment so I signed up for a Better Ride clinic with Gene Hamilton. I wanted practice, repetition, and someone to watch me and correct my form. I totally got what I wanted by taking this course. I recently started a blog about my biking exploits and wrote a post about Gene Hamilton's clinic. Check it out!

    The Bike Nazi: How to be a Better Rider

    Has anyone taken a similar skills clinic? Does anyone feel that simply riding with fast friends and striving to keep up with them is good enough? I'd be interested in knowing what people think.
    Angie
    Check out my website!

  2. #2
    no excuses
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    I think getting some good instruction is a good way to learn. To me one of the best ways to get faster to go out and try new things. When I am on a group ride I will wheelie things, try new lines, watch others to see what they do and take it all in. If you don't experiment you won't learn IMO.
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  3. #3
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    I'm a newb to mountain bike riding but I come from dirt bike racing. I never took lessons but I found that having a good assortment of buddies (faster AND slower than me) to ride with seems to make me faster. The faster guys seem to make me push my limits and get faster. The slower guys allowed me time to try new things like txf5 was saying. It gives me time to turn around and try different lines a few times while they catch up. And then the friends that are around my same pace keep me motivated to keep up with their learning curve.

  4. #4
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    riding with faster riders that are willing to help others is good, faster riders are not all going to be good teachers.
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    Allison Mann

  5. #5
    Just Ride
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    Quote Originally Posted by whybotherme View Post
    riding with faster riders that are willing to help others is good, faster riders are not all going to be good teachers.
    My future brother in law is a much faster biker. In fact the one responsible for me getting into it in the first place, but he's a horrible teacher. He tells me the other day after my 3rd time or so riding with him, that I need to lay off the brakes in the fast sections an trust in my equipment. Just carve the turns. That's all fine and dandy but I know I'm not there with my skill level yet, and I can't trust my current bike as it's a P.O.S. big box bike. I can trust the bike he lets me borrow, but I'm not used to it since I don't ride it often enough and I fell it's to small for me.

    So when I get a new bike come spring, that's one thing to work on is my turns. Guess I'll be learning on my own and with the help of videos and links I find here and in my own browsings.
    SS ==> Nut up or Shut up!

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by Cormac View Post
    My future brother in law is a much faster biker. In fact the one responsible for me getting into it in the first place, but he's a horrible teacher. He tells me the other day after my 3rd time or so riding with him, that I need to lay off the brakes in the fast sections an trust in my equipment. Just carve the turns. That's all fine and dandy but I know I'm not there with my skill level yet, and I can't trust my current bike as it's a P.O.S. big box bike. I can trust the bike he lets me borrow, but I'm not used to it since I don't ride it often enough and I fell it's to small for me.

    So when I get a new bike come spring, that's one thing to work on is my turns. Guess I'll be learning on my own and with the help of videos and links I find here and in my own browsings.
    Just because he says to 'let off the brakes' does not mean to not touch them at all... Try instead "use your brakes less"

    Not saying he is the best teacher, but we can learn something from anybody. Good or bad. Most of the time it is both!

  7. #7
    Just Ride
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    Quote Originally Posted by pyrotyro View Post
    Just because he says to 'let off the brakes' does not mean to not touch them at all... Try instead "use your brakes less"

    Not saying he is the best teacher, but we can learn something from anybody. Good or bad. Most of the time it is both!
    maybe thats what he meant. But then he followed it up with "brakes are for emergencies (life or death) situations. lol, so who knows what exactly he meant. I'll stick with using them less.
    SS ==> Nut up or Shut up!

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by Cormac View Post
    maybe thats what he meant. But then he followed it up with "brakes are for emergencies (life or death) situations. lol, so who knows what exactly he meant. I'll stick with using them less.
    bahaha i take it back, dont listen to him

  9. #9
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    I learn a lot from other people when it comes to following the best lines through a rocky section or going over an obstacle that's challenging. One thing I have trouble learning from others is how to be smooth on the bike. What I need to do is retry something when I realize that I just did it sloppily. Often, I don't get that chance if I'm riding with others. A course allows you to drill something into your head so you start learning how to do it right the first time. I often find myself reverting back to the sloppy way though. It's amazing how long it takes to unlearn a bad habit.
    Angie
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  10. #10
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    Everything Ive ever done, the best way to learn is to do it with people better than you. Riding with people that are faster than you on a regular basis will make you a better rider by default because you will have to adapt and push yourself to keep up with them. Courses are great for learning correct techniques, but nothing will teach you better than experience.
    2010 Giant Yukon FX
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  11. #11
    SSOD
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    In my experience if you try to learn something you usually never do and if your forced to learn something you pick it up pretty quickly and don't think about it so much. A lot of people disagree with this but if you look at other sports there is a correlation. At some point you have to allow your body's natural ability to take over and stop thinking.

    On most technical stuff where skills and technique are important, momentum and speed will make it easier but increases the penalty of failure. I see a lot of beginners trying to learn to go through advanced technical sections really slow and they always crash because they have no momentum or balance and they ride their brakes, causing them to have difficulty with their center of gravity staying back.

    I agree it's not cool to send a beginner into an advanced tech section and tell him to not use the brakes and carry as much speed as possible, but too often people are so timid they end up fighting gravity and the bike's natural momentum to take the "correct" line or "right" way of doing it. To stay smooth you have to pick a line and allow the bike to flow down the hill or through the corner. If you come out of the line or off the path just ride it out and follow your new line. Once you get the hang of it and become more confident, you can begin to change/ correct a line or speed while in a tech section as you get better balance.

    Following others does help with building confidence and showing you a good visual of completing a difficult feature but in the end it's better to pick your own lines and go your own speed.

  12. #12
    mnoutain bkie rdier
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    It is great to ride with people better than you simply because you see what is actually possible on at mt. bike.

    You see people clear sections that you may have had no idea were possible, for example.

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by rydbyk View Post
    It is great to ride with people better than you simply because you see what is actually possible on at mt. bike.

    You see people clear sections that you may have had no idea were possible, for example.
    Like this?


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