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Are You Making These Mistakes With Your Mountain Bike Skills?

Common mistakes mountain bikers make with their skills and how to avoid them.

Mountain biking has many layers and can be a complex sport at times, especially when the consequences involved become much higher. Many riders have gotten to where they are by getting tips from friends and partners, YouTube, the internet and a lot of trial and error, resulting in crashes, injuries and a lot of frustration. Does this sound like you?

Did you know there are plenty of ways to avoid unnecessary headaches, crashes and injuries by working with professionals in the industry? You wouldn't jump right into horseback riding or dirt biking on your own without learning from an experienced individual in that industry, so why skip it with mountain biking?

Here are the top three mistakes we see mountain bikers making with their skills and how you can avoid them.

1. Learning from YouTube or a Non-Qualified Instructor

There are many incredible resources online and through people we know, and while they all mean well, they are not the best learning tools.

YouTube shares content and skills that are far too advanced for most riders and can often make it more complicated than needed. You also need to get feedback on your riding, which is the fuel for learning new skills, and YouTube obviously can't do that.

Our friends and partners also mean well, but without the proper training, they don't know how to articulate what they're actually doing on the bike in a way that someone else can implement.

The fix: Book as many clinics and lessons as possible with professionally certified mountain bike instructors. Check their certifications are from reputable training organizations, such as The Professional Mountain Bike Instructors Association (PMBIA). This will ensure that you are taught the proper skills appropriate for your skill level. You'll also get immediate feedback on your riding. You'll walk away feeling more confident in your riding by knowing what you need to do, how, and why.

2. Not focusing on the fundamentals.

We're all guilty of watching jaw-dropping videos from RedBull, YouTube and social media of someone doing an epic jump, drop or bunnyhopping insane heights and thinking that is what we must do next.

The fix: This is like comparing your chapter one to someone else's chapter ten. You need to realize that the riders in those videos are professionals and have spent hundreds of hours and years practicing their fundamental riding skills to get to that point. So do you!! Now get practicing!

3. Progressing too quickly.

Many riders want to avoid identifying themselves as a 'newbie' or 'beginner.' As a result, they end up pushing themselves beyond their skill level, attempting trails or features that are too advanced. This can lead to accidents, injuries, and decreased confidence.

The fix: Own your ride! We all start somewhere, and how fun is it to be in a position where you're a student learning something new? Be sure to spend adequate time on the trails appropriate for your skill level to develop the necessary skills properly. If you feel stuck or need help deciding how to progress, book a lesson or join a MTB clinic.

By recognizing these common mistakes, we hope you can recognize if you're making them and can correct them. If in doubt, book a lesson or join a clinic with a professionally certified mountain bike instructor who can help you progress safely and appropriately based on your skill level and experience so you can ride safer, more confidently and have more fun on the trails!

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