Tips for the Trail

| April 14, 2015

Turn your ride up a notch with these mountain biking tips for New River Gorge terrain.

1. Keep your head up. Look as far ahead as you can. Look where you want to go. Don’t look at things you don’t want to hit.

2. Focus on being smooth. Look for transitions on and off obstacles. Avoid things that force you to brake or slow you down. Smooth is fast.

3. Momentum is your friend. It will carry you over most things.

4. Keep your arms and legs loose. Float above the bike. Your body is by far better than the finest suspension on the market. Relax and let the bike float over the terrain.

5. Try and hit roots, downed trees, and other somewhat rounded objects as close to perpendicular as possible. Right angles allow you to roll right over them.

6. Brake before turns and accelerate out of them. Braking requires traction. Turning requires traction. Slow down early and use your traction for the turn.

7. Let some air out of your tires. It’s amazing what a softer tire will do. Let it out slowly and get used to it. Soft tires pinch easier so be careful. An accurate digital gauge helps.

8. Learn to pump speed from trail obstacles. It’s amazing how much free speed you can gain from the trail. Plus, it’s really fun. The new Arrowhead Trails are an excellent place to learn this wonderful skill. It’s a lot like swinging on a swing set: pull up as you go up the obstacle and push down as you go over. This one takes some practice getting used to. Check out pump track videos on YouTube for examples.

9. Don’t avoid mud, sand, or other soft areas. Maintain your momentum and go through them. A little speed goes along way. It’s also much better for the trail.

10. If something is a challenge try it anyway. You will get a little better each time and eventually clean it.

11. Ride new lines on your home trails. The main line is usually the easy one. Look for challenges as you improve. You can find new lines on trails you have been riding for years. This helps when you go somewhere new and don’t know the trails.

12. Learn to bunny hop. It’s a great skill and you can practice it anywhere.

Andrew Forron has been mountain biking for 24 years. He owns and runs New River Bikes (304-574-2453) on Court Street in Fayetteville, which sells and rents bikes and offers mountain bike tours.

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Category: New River Gorge Mountain Biking

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