A beginners guide to mountain biking with MERIDA
So you’ve bought a new bike during Covid-19? Great! Now with restrictions easing it’s a great time to get into the gnarly side of the biking world and hit the trails.
We recently shared an article on how to stay safe while mountain biking but if you’re brand new to the MTB world, you’re probably looking for some more general guidance on what to actually do. Here at MERIDA Bicycles we want you to get the most out of your biking experience so we’ve made this guide of mountain biking tips for beginners.
Learn the basics of bike repair and maintenance, or go mountain biking with someone who does.
Unfortunately your bike is more likely to run into some trouble while on trickier terrain such as a trail. This is also one of the furthest places your bike will be from the trusted mechanics at your local bike shop. We’d recommend learning some basic bike repair tricks such as how to fix a flat tyre, replacing a bent or cracked derailleur hanger, and repairing a broken chain. If you don’t know all of these that’s okay, try to go to the trails with someone who is more experienced and has been a few times.
Alternatively, if you’re going with another newbie, set yourselves the task of learning one new thing each before your go. If you do run into trouble on the trail don’t worry, just pull your bike off the trail and out of harm’s way and ask if anyone around can help you out. Chances are someone will have the tools and expertise to help you out. We’ve all been there before.
Take your stuff.
Unfortunately just taking a credit card may not be enough. When out on the trails, you’re going to be a bit further from civilization than normal so it’s a good idea to take everything you need with you.
You’ll want your phone to be fully charged and make sure you take plenty of water. It’s also a good idea to take a good amount of food (trail mixes, muesli bars, nuts, cliff bars, and fruits are all good options as they’re compact enough to fit in pockets or small bags but will give you a good boost of energy and nutrition), the basics for bike repairs (think a spare tube or two, a pump and a multi-tool), and sunscreen (this is Australia, after all).
Some nicer things that you might want to keep in a backpack or leave in the glovebox of your car may include a portable charger (especially if your phone has a track record of going from full to flat in a blink), some cash, extra water, a basic first-aid kit, and maybe a few extra snacks for those post-ride munchies.
Biking tip: Keep your body loose and trust your bike.
Now that we’ve covered some general tips on MTB, let’s get down to the good stuff: the biking. If you’ve been riding your bike on the road, maybe even a boardwalk or two as well, you’ll quickly realise that a trail is a much more uneven and inconsistent terrain and this has a noticeable effect on your riding experience. It’s a trick that you’ll need to practice a bit to get used to but you’ll need to trust your bike and let it do what it needs to do. Your bike will move a lot more than usual over uneven terrain so you’ll need to lift your butt off the saddle to let it move.
You’ll also find that you’re better able to let your bike move naturally if you keep your elbows out and adopt ‘cowboy legs’. This isn’t the only position – find what’s comfortable for you and observe how others position their bodies while maneuvering different parts of the track. This is the fun bit of learning to mountain bike.
Shift gears before you reach the hill.
When you see the hill ascent approaching you want to take the opportunity to shift into the appropriate gear. When you’re finding it difficult to keep pedaling, you don’t want to change gears as this can break your chain. Try it a few times and it’ll quickly become a handy habit.
Have you checked out MERIDA’s range of mountain bikes? Whether you’re looking for a marathon MTB that combines race readiness with trail performance like the ONE-TWENTY RC, an all-mountain bike for long and demanding days in the saddle like the ONE-FORTY, a sport and leisure MTB for all-round trail fun with the BIG.SEVEN or BIG.NINE, or a sports bike that offers a classic mountain biking experience with the MATTS, there’s a MERIDA mountain bike for everyone.
Read more about the different models of MERIDA mountain bikes here.
Browse MERIDA mountain bikes through the MERIDA Bike Finder here.