Everyone wants to ride better. Here are five things that WILL guarantee your riding improves if you stick to it – and they aren’t all physical skills, either.
ADB’s fast five tips to improve your riding:
Yep, just get your eyes to where they are supposed to be and your riding will improve immediately. Even very experienced riders need to work on using their vision from time to time, just to keep developing. It’s too easy to fall into bad habits, us being humans, and dropping your head and eyes, as well as staring at things that worry you, are good examples of that syndrome. Riding is looking: look where you want to go, look to plan ahead, look to keep yourself safe, look to not get lost, look to keep your balance, look to pick the best line. Your vision is your most important sense on a bike – use it well and get better!
2. KEEP AN OPEN MIND
How does keeping an open mind help? Because closing your mind to other techniques and lines and ways of doing things can hold you back. If you never stand up, even though all your mates and that riding coach and all those YouTube videos suggest you try it, then you are stopping yourself from improving. Do you have the same trouble with a certain obstacle on every ride – for instance, straight ruts – yet never find a way to get better at them? Then again, you are preventing yourself from getting better at riding. It’s not all a physical game, it’s mental as well – open your mind and improve your riding!
3. GET BUFF
Well, not necessarily, but riding dirtbikes is a physical sport and you will enjoy it a lot more if you are basically fit. Do something physically substantial a few times a week and you will be riding further and faster for longer. It’s not easy, the pressures of life mean getting time to run, cycle, hit the gym or even just take the stairs instead of the elevator is difficult to come by, but by Zeus’s beard it makes your life better on a bike! By the way, mountain biking is about the closest thing to trail riding you can get without actually trail riding – and almost as fun! It’s a great way to get fit for dirt riding.
4. STAND UP!
Sitting down on a motorbike is for road riders and really old dudes. Stand up, stand proud and reap the rewards of using your legs as suspension, being able to shift your weight significantly and quickly, improving your vision, reducing your fatigue, improving your ability to cope with rough ground, etc. The old rule, when teaching a kid to ride, is to first give them the bike, then a year later give them the seat! It works, try it!
5. DON’T OVERRIDE THE BIKE
It’s easy to get yourself flustered on a bike and do something to prevent the bike staying rubber-side down. Often, staying calm means the bike can just get on with rolling down the hill, or landing the jump or finishing the turn. It’s important to remember that over riding a bike can be a problem. If you just pushed a bike down a hill by itself, you may be surprised how far it gets without a rider on board, who would be stuffing everything up. Centrifugal force, gravity, momentum and physics all play a part in keeping the bike upright. Off road legend Ben Grabham has always said he makes the bike do all the work – that will work for you, too. Be efficient with your inputs and stay calm – it will be a smoother ride!
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