We all know just how fun riding a mountain bike is but, believe it or not, there are some people out there who’ve never tried it. Those people may include your friends, your significant other, or that weird relative you see every third Christmas. Wouldn’t it be great if you could show them just how fun this sport really is and get your friend into mountain biking? Well, you can of course.
Here are 6 tips that help you and your apprentice have a good time on their first time mountain bike riding. These tips aren’t set in stone and a lot of them are based on real life experience/mistakes but they’ll at least help you to not have your friend avoid you for the rest of their life!
Can He/She Already Ride a Bike?
Now this is something that we can mistakenly assume without even asking: that your friend can ride a bike comfortably. If they can’t, please don’t take them mountain biking – it’s just not going to work!
Next, they need to have some proper safety gear, a helmet, some proper clothing pads are useful and, finally, they obviously need a bike. Now, you being the expert you are, you’re going to make sure that your partner’s bike is prepared securely, brakes work, shifting works. Basically, is it going to be safe for wherever you’re going to take them? If not, maybe consider renting them a suitable mountain bike for this learning adventure.
Make it a Trail not a Trial!
Now, for the fun part the ride. Please don’t take your friend down the trickiest trail you can find. Don’t take them down something you’d consider easy either – the goal here isn’t to show off how skilful you are. So start at the beginning. A simple, wide dirt path will allow your trainee to get a feel for their bike off road as well as allow them to pick up some speed and pedal some hills. Keep your route shorter than you normally would. Remember too not to ride off without your friend – chances are they’ve never been to your chosen neck of the woods, especially on a mountain bike and if they get lost, they’re not going to be happy. So stay with your friend and make sure they keep on track.
Observe Your Friend as They Ride
How is their body position? Are they using both brakes? Are they standing up on their pedals while they ride or are they face down in a bush? Love them or hate them, flow trails are a great place to start for beginner mountain bikers. They usually feature moderately sized series of humps and corners that aren’t too intimidating for a newbie. It’s best to ride behind your companion so you don’t leave them in your dust.
Be Careful Not to Overdo It
At some point, your friend might want to call it a day and that is totally fine. Remember, they’re new to this whole mountain biking experience so one mile to you might feel like 10 miles to them. However, if they’re keen, you might want to consider taking them down something a bit more technical, a trail rated green or even blue might give them a chance to experience what mountain biking is all about.
Forewarned is Forearmed
Always try to alert your friend of any important hazards coming up so they’re not upset or alarmed.
So there you have it. Those are a few tips for getting your friends into mountain biking. Hopefully they’re fired up and they stay with the sport. There are plenty of resources online, particularly YouTube channels, to help them tune up their skills or you, being the good pal you are, can go riding with them more and maybe make them your regular riding buddy one day.