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Mountain Biking for Beginners – 5 Tips to Get Started

Before you tackle any singletrack, or just a dirt path for that matter, planning a solid first mountain bike ride will help get you out there with confidence. From making sure your bike is in order, to figuring out which trail you’re going to hit – there’s a lot to remember!

But before you start stressing about how to land your first drop or worrying about how fast you’ll tackle the big climb, check out these mountain bike tips to get you out there with confidence.

5 Tips to get you out on the mountain bike trail: 

  1. Start with local trails
  2. Pack the essentials
  3. Bring your friends
  4. Pick your line
  5. Explore somewhere new

1. Start with local trails

Setting out on a full-day ride, tackling a 4,000-footer, and chasing golden hour to get back to the trailhead before dark are best left for riders with a bit of experience. It is best to master your local trail network before booking a flight to Moab or the North Shore. So locate a singletrack close to home and first to master those first!

Finding a local trail where you can hone your skills is key to perfecting the basics and mastering the sport. Also, by staying close to home you can easily connect with fellow riders who know the best spots to hit (and maybe a secret trail or two!).

2. Pack the essentials

Even if you’re just heading out for an hour, there’s nothing worse than being stranded out in the woods without a patch kit or multitool. So, grabbing a handy hip pack or hydration pack is the best bet for storing a few essentials for your bike, as well as water, nutrition, and your mobile phone.

Decide how big your pack should be and how much water its bladder should hold by figuring out how long you plan to ride. Other factors to consider when choosing a pack include tool storage or potential poor weather.

After finding the right pack, you are primed to tackle your local lunch ride with confidence or venture out a little further, knowing you have all the right gear packed.

3. Bring your friends

Tackling the big climbs, bombing the descents, or just ripping through your favorite flow trail can be a blast, but inviting a buddy or wrangling the whole crew makes for more fun. Riding with friends can be a great way to share the rush, but more importantly, learn from your peers. They can teach you how to tackle tricky obstacles or how to best power up a technical climb.

Avoiding a solo ride is also a safe way to make sure you’re not left on your own if you happen to fall or suffer a malfunction that you’re not sure how to fix.

4. Pick your line

Getting confident on knobby tires is not easy, but once you master the basics of carrying your momentum over obstacles and descending without fear, dialing up the speed and getting into the flow will start to happen on its own.

Beginning to shift your focus a little further down the trail is key to developing as a rider, so don’t be afraid to pick your head up a bit and start to envision where your front tire will be. Once you start to focus on your line choice 4 to 6 feet in front of you, your bike will follow, speed will increase, and your confidence will begin to shine.

5. Explore somewhere new

As a beginner, every ride on your local trails will be exciting, challenging, and fun. But as you begin to improve your bike handling skills and memorizing what is around every switchback, take the leap and find a destination spot.

Loading your bike onto your rack and driving up the road to the trailhead is fun, but why not hop onto the highway to check out a trail network somewhere new? Sure, your local trails are fun, but exploring some new descents, navigating your way through an unfamiliar area, and snapping a pic of the view from a peak you’ve never climbed before is one of the best parts of mountain biking.

Thankfully, a solid bike rack can handle much more than a five-minute drive to your local spot and loading up three of your buddies for a weekend in the mountains is just as easy. And if you’ve already explored your area, why not push yourself even further and book a flight for a bucket list trip?

Just because your dream spot is in another country or on another coast doesn’t mean it is out of reach! And boarding a plane with your bike is easy, thanks to a slew of innovative and durable bike cases and travel bags.

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