Basics : Your First MTB Ride

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Photo from http://www.getmountainbiking.co.uk/

Photo from GetMountainBiking.co.uk/

When you mention mountain biking to a lady that hasn’t tried it before.. you will most likely get a look of horror and confusion.  The sport, growing but not quick enough, is quickly growing for the ladies in the sport.  Across the US there are ladies only mountain bike clubs popping up, allowing you to learn and experience the trails with skill clinics, and other women who will allow you to go as slow as you would like. Mountain biking can sound daunting, trees flying by you, dirt and mud.  Add the technical features and rocks, it would scare any self preserving woman!

Planning Your First Ride:

  • Try to find a regional women’s club that would be my first suggestion.  Join their forum, email list or simply email someone off the website.  Ask about skills clinics and beginner group rides.  Check out the sidebar on the right for some links to Girly Bike Clubs.
  • No women’s clubs in your area?  Try finding any local mountain bike club.
  • Locate the beginner trails in your area
  • Visit your local bike shops to see if they lead any beginner rides or have mountain biking girls that work there.
  • Don’t go by yourself.

What to Know Before You Ride:

  • Helmet! Self explanatory
  • Basic padded shorts will keep soft tissues from getting injured
  • Gloves are nice to have, they help if your hands get sweaty and will protect you if you fall
  • Hydrate as mountain biking really works your heart rate.
  • Don’t stress too much, it’s easy to say I know, but wait until you get to the trail or you may convince yourself not to go.
  • Make sure your bike is up to snuf.  A mountain bike is needed, depending on the trail you might want more suspension. Brakes work, tires not flat, but not rock hard. Around 35-40psi to start is good.

Technical Speak (please ask questions about these if you have any.)

  • Look down the trail and where you want to go, not the opposite
  • Raise yourself up and out of the seat over roots or rocks.  Keeping both your pedals level to the ground.
  • Push your weight back and over your saddle when going down hills
  • Shift before going up a hill so that you don’t shift under load
  • Try not death grip the handlebars as your hands will start tingling or going numb
  • Practice!
Found at http://www.cyclelicio.us/

Found at http://www.cyclelicio.us/

Ready? Set… GO!

  • Mountain biking can be scary, take it slow
  • It’s okay to stop a bunch to get your bearings
  • It’s also okay to cry, but please don’t throw the bike.

Comments From Other Women :

  • Go with women!
  • Check the difficulty before you go.
  • Go with someone experienced who has the patience to teach you. My first time on a MTB was at Whitetail, PA with a bunch of guys I worked at a bike shop with. Going on black diamond trails, they’d leave me behind. I went over the handlebars 3 times and kept crashing. I finally picked my brand new bike up over my head and threw it down into a Read Moreravine. One of my co-workers saw me do it and said, “Aw, what’re you gonna do now? CRY?” No I’m not gonna cry, but I am gonna black your eye. It’s a wonder I ever even got back on that bike.
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