I don’t know about you, but I find that it’s easier to master a technique after I’ve watched someone else perform it. That’s what this list is all about. From riding over gnarly terrain to changing your bicycle pedals yourself, click through these step-by-step guides for one-on-one instruction. Once you’ve watched someone successfully ride over a log, ride a technical descent, jump off of an obstacle, change a bicycle pedal, and mount cleats onto bike shoes, attempt the techniques for yourself!
One of the most common obstacles you’ll find on the trail is fallen trees. While it’s perfectly fine to dismount your bike and step over the log, it’s more fun to ride over it! Learn what part of the log to look for, how you should shift your weight and which direction to approach the obstacle. All of these factors will ensure your safety once you come in contact with the log.
It happens all the time. You’re cruising along at top speed and before you know it, you’ve found yourself at the top of a treacherous-looking descent. My suggestion? Walk it. That’s right, the first time or two you come across a section of the trail you don’t feel comfortable with, it’s A-OK to walk your bike. Study the lines, obstacles and changes in elevation while you’re off your bike. That way, the next time you approach the downhill you’re confident enough to ride the terrain. Read on to find out what position you should keep your feet in, where you should shift your weight, and where you should look to guarantee a harmless attempt.
If you’ve ever ridden on trails specifically built for mountain biking, you’ve likely come across jumps. Of course, if you aren’t looking for them you might miss them, as jumps can be disguised as rock piles, or other obstacles. Jumping off of obstacles takes a bit of practice, but is totally doable—especially once you learn the basics. These obstacles can offer an added challenge to your ride, but before you launch yourself off anything, read this guide first!
Do not—I repeat, do not!—pay a bicycle shop to do this easy task. You might be switching from flats to clipless pedals, or perhaps you simply got a new pair of pedals. Whatever the reason, learn how to change your pedals yourself. You’ll be so happy you did. It requires just one tool, a tube of grease, and takes just a few minutes. Plus, you’ll save some money in the meantime. How’s that for motivation? These step-by-step pictures will teach you how to do the job right.
If you’re reading this guide, you’ve likely made the switch from flat pedals or pedals with toe clips to clipless pedals. Congratulations. While you can have an enjoyable mountain bike ride on any type of pedal, clipless pedals offer greater pedal efficiency and control. Your pedals will have most likely come with cleats and the hardware required to mount them to your shoe. Gather your supplies—bike shoes, cleats and hardware, grease and a hex wrench—and get to it! Learn how to mount your own cleats to your bike shoes—a simple task you shouldn’t pay a bike shop to perform—with this tutorial. Step-by-step instructions will show you, among other things, where to apply grease, how to adjust your cleats and what to tighten so that it won’t come loose when you pedal.