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Old 07-01-14, 06:39 PM   #1
ParkingTheBus
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How to not be a big wussy/scared when riding?

So I've started biking on the trails this year on a new Giant mountain bike. I've gone about 5-6 times and I'm pretty decent. I'm able to go at a decent speed and handle small hills and bumps pretty good.

The thing is, I'm a big p*ssy .

If I approach a steep hill with lots of branches, rocks or turns I either slow down or get off my bike to walk it. My friend is able to bomb these hills with ease however I always clutch the brakes and go slow in fear of falling. Navigating turns at high speed is hard for me for some reason.

My other problem is bunny hopping. If I approach a big log, I often have to get off my bike.

How can I get over my fears to become a better cyclist?
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Old 07-01-14, 06:56 PM   #2
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I tend to have the same issues, as I've only recently gotten into mountain biking. I'll be curious to see if anyone has some good advice on it, though I imagine much of it is simply getting out there and convincing yourself to go just a bit faster, to ease up on the brakes a bit more, to lean into those turns a little bit harder, and so on, just a bit at a time. With each ride, one is bound to improve, right?
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Old 07-01-14, 10:17 PM   #3
ParkingTheBus
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Old 07-01-14, 10:30 PM   #4
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Start small, and tackle one fear at a time. Maybe start with "attacking" a curb, an exposed root, or a particular section of trail that gives you the most trouble. Carrying speed through corners is all about maintaining traction and shifting your center of mass, which requires a lot of flexibility. Perfecting many of your other skills will help you gain confidence in the corners, but as you get older this skill will most likely deminish. Bunny hopping isn't as easy, either. I suggest learning how to unweight the front wheel with short manuals at slow speed. Once you have mastered that, then you can work on shifting your body forward mid stream and unweighting back tire in tandem. You are definitely not alone, and being new to MTB without any previous history, leaves you at a disadvantage. I don't want to discourage you, but just realize that you will need to start from scratch, and practice plenty.

Hope this helps, good luck!

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Old 07-02-14, 10:39 AM   #5
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You are not a p***sy just being smart, take your time and it will all fall into place. I suggest you buy this book today... Mastering Mountain Bike Skills - 2nd Edition: Brian Lopes, Lee McCormack: 9780736083713: Amazon.com: Books Heavy feet and light hands......... I am 50 and ride a vintage Peugeot MTB and ride like I am 20...lol
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Old 07-02-14, 09:13 PM   #6
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You are not a p***sy just being smart, take your time and it will all fall into place. I suggest you buy this book today... Mastering Mountain Bike Skills - 2nd Edition: Brian Lopes, Lee McCormack: 9780736083713: Amazon.com: Books Heavy feet and light hands......... I am 50 and ride a vintage Peugeot MTB and ride like I am 20...lol
+1 on that book---it completely changed my riding experience. Can't recommend it highly enough. That, and a skills class or lesson if it's available to you. I took a "beginners" group skill class and it really opened my eyes to many simple concepts that made me better, safer, and more confident instantly.
I've now relaxed into the mindset that it will just take time, and it'll be a constant growth and learning/confidence curve. I just started getting into MTB'ing this past winter. I go 3-4 times a week, often the same trail, over and over. Some days, I'm just "off", and I chicken out when approaching stuff I've done before, but I think it's wise to listen to your gut.
Anyhow, if you've only gone 5-6 times, IMHO, you shouldn't be worried about bunny hopping over big logs. That's a pretty advanced skill.

Last edited by pbass; 07-02-14 at 09:25 PM.
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Old 07-02-14, 09:19 PM   #7
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You just need skills! Let YouTube be your teacher. Then find a place to practice the new tricks.
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Old 07-02-14, 10:03 PM   #8
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Does your community rec program offer a course? If so take it. If not, just practice basic skills on easy runs and you will gain confidence. Nice if you can find a friend who has the patience to help but if not just do it yourself.

You can also buy some body armour (elbows & knees especially) if you want touch yourself on some of the harder trails but want a little bit extra protection.
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Old 07-03-14, 07:18 AM   #9
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Ride more and it will come to you. I started riding with groups that were no drop and followed them to see how they handled it. Mainly what I learned was picking your line is the most important thing. Choose which rocks and ruts you want to cross don't let them be random. Second was relaxing on the bike. If you let the bike do its job it will carry you through most obstacles but if you have a death grip on the bars it can't do that. And lastly slower isn't safer or easier. Without momentum you are much more likely to fall over or hit something.
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Old 07-03-14, 08:06 AM   #10
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take a class and wear protective gear
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Old 07-03-14, 08:12 AM   #11
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I'm with everyone else. I came back to mountain biking after a 20 year hiatus. As I've gotten older, I've gotten more risk averse. Now when I see something that I would have done years ago, I'm a bit more hesistant. But the more and more seat time I get, I'm starting to throw caution to the wind. My older body doesn't like it as much, but it's a hell of a lot of fun
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Old 07-04-14, 08:23 AM   #12
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Perhaps off topic but I just took the plunge yesterday and bought this bike. Been road biking for years and finally wanted to give this a try. Good topic here, I am apprehensive about starting this aspect of cycling and at 53 I'm certainly more conservative than I used to be when I was younger.

Going to amazon now to order that book. Can anyone recommend good protective gear? I had shoulder surgery last winter, I sure don't want to re-injure that again!

Thanks!
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Old 07-04-14, 11:59 AM   #13
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Perhaps off topic but I just took the plunge yesterday and bought this bike. Been road biking for years and finally wanted to give this a try. Good topic here, I am apprehensive about starting this aspect of cycling and at 53 I'm certainly more conservative than I used to be when I was younger.

Going to amazon now to order that book. Can anyone recommend good protective gear? I had shoulder surgery last winter, I sure don't want to re-injure that again!

Thanks!
Congrats on the new bike. I just turned 54, only been really getting into mountain biking since January (also a roadie prior to that). I had a bad crash 20+ years ago (resulting in a dislocated shoulder) precisely because I hadn't done any research into technique, skills, etc. I was just bombing down a relatively mellow fire road on a rental bike with my ass bouncing up and down off the saddle, braking all wrong, you-name-it--pretty classic noob-style crash.
I have a tendency to push myself towards getting better at things, but at this age I have no qualms about taking it really slow this time around, and being educated! The book is great--you will love it I'm sure. Some days I go over the same section of trail several times, just practicing the principles in that book.

Last edited by pbass; 07-04-14 at 12:03 PM.
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Old 07-04-14, 05:56 PM   #14
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https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=22pznwq83Ak

Some light knee and/or elbow pads certainly wouldn't hurt. I keep thinking about picking up a pair of the gform knee pads myself.
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Old 07-05-14, 09:10 AM   #15
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Originally Posted by ParkingTheBus View Post
So I've started biking on the trails this year on a new Giant mountain bike. I've gone about 5-6 times and I'm pretty decent. I'm able to go at a decent speed and handle small hills and bumps pretty good.

The thing is, I'm a big p*ssy .

If I approach a steep hill with lots of branches, rocks or turns I either slow down or get off my bike to walk it. My friend is able to bomb these hills with ease however I always clutch the brakes and go slow in fear of falling. Navigating turns at high speed is hard for me for some reason.

My other problem is bunny hopping. If I approach a big log, I often have to get off my bike.

How can I get over my fears to become a better cyclist?
I've been mountain biking for a few years and I do NOT like climbing over logs, depending on size. I'm not the greatest at bunny-hopping, either, and I can't even pull a wheelie.

In some cases, it's just a matter of gaining confidence, and in others, it's a mental challenge to get over. I could see obstacles I could probably do, but when I take a look at them, I automatically think, "No way!" This happens on big climbs as well; I'm already defeated before I try.

There's nothing wrong with being a little nervous about doing obstacles, it happens to the best of us. Just have fun, and sooner or later, you'll make up your mind to attack that obstacle you've been avoiding.
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