Mountain Biking 101: Glenn’s Top 10 Tips

Mountain biking is similar to gravel biking in the sense that you can do all the same routes although not with quite as much speed.  The wider tires and your more upright seating position are more stable but not quite as efficient. The benefit of both the wider tires and different seating positions are that they allow you to navigate rougher terrain which is great fun. Here are Glenn’s, our off road expert’s Top Tips for Beginners.


  1. When riding, position your body correctly. 
    1. The balls of your feet should be directly in front of the pedal axis. (This allows you to stay balanced when standing and also takes pressure off your Achilles and calf muscles)
    2. Your knees and arms should be slightly bent. Your centre of gravity should be above the bottom bracket, and relax your grip on the handlebars. You are now prepared to move around standing or sitting and stay in control.
    3. Keep your Back straight, index fingers on the brake levers.
  2. Start with easier trails to get comfortable with the feel of Mountain Biking. Increase the difficulty of the trail as you improve and gain confidence. 
  3. Try to keep your focus 10 to 15 ft on the trail ahead and practice remembering obstacles without looking down at them and then avoid or ride over them whichever is preferred. Stay focused on the trail. Obstacles such as raised rocks or cut off stumps can be anywhere.
  4. Pick a line through rough terrain  so you can be prepared for roots and rocks and hopefully stick to the plan.
  5.  Momentum is your friend when riding through rock gardens or rooty sections. Keep your weight rearward when navigating through this type of terrain to assist your front tire in climbing the obstacles.
  6.  Get out of the saddle to help maneuver. Use your legs to absorb impact and shift your weight to keep your balance.
  7.  Use front and back brakes simultaneously to slow without skidding the tires.  When braking on downhills, shift your weight to the back so the wheel doesn’t slide. Use front and back brakes simultaneously to slow without skidding the tires. Don’t use too much front brake or it will lock up sending you over the bars or off the trail (not fun!). 
  8. 7. Shift into the correct gear. The most efficient cadence is 90 rpm. Spinning quicker is more efficient with traction. Shift into a harder gear if trying to navigate sand to power through it.
  9. If you are enjoying riding so far: practice, practice, practice. The more comfortable you are on the bike the more fun you will have. YouTube videos are great for learning techniques and fun to watch.
  10. Most importantly, Have Fun! Don’t push yourself too hard but you can set goals like pacing yourself so you don’t have to stop to rest or completing a section of trail without having to put your foot down. The less pressure you put on yourself, the more fun you will have.

Alright, are you ready to shred?? Keep an eye our for our Dirty Thursday nights where we’ll hit the trails at Northumberland Forest!