Advice for Beginner MTBers
Mountain biking is a sport that takes many years to master, so seeking skills coaching early in the journey is important for later progression and safety. But there's so much to learn and so many courses on the RLC website that it can be a bit overwhelming. New members often ask me "where should I start?" Let's answer that question:
Suggested Course Order
1. A great place to get started is exploring the Welcome Riders section. Introduce yourself to other members and learn about how the site works. This section will answer many of your initial questions.
2. The first course I would suggest looking at is Trailhead Tip Traps. These lessons offer advice on how to avoid the tip traps you'll encounter when taking advice from well-meaning riders at the trailhead. There's no practice exercises to do, just lots of thought provoking concepts. Don't be led astray by generic trailhead advice!
3. The first course with skills drills should be the Flat Pedal Challenge, especially if you're not used to riding flat pedals in an off-road environment. This is a great course for beginners as it covers many basics with numerous on-bike drills. Flat pedals are a must for practicing any skill.
4. The next course is our most popular: Baseline Balance Skills. It will help develop your bike-body-mind connection, plus you'll learn some cool skills too, such as track stands. Don't under estimate the value of being able to ride very slowly or pausing briefly on the trial. These skills can be practiced in your driveway or local park, or even in a basement carpark during winter. This is a must-do course!
5. Next on the hit list is the Cornering Continuum. Corners are everywhere so becoming good at cornering will do wonders for your riding. This course combines driveway sessions and trail rides and isn't too hard on the body, so a great introduction, or as a companion to a more physical course (e.g. bunnyhops, manuals or wheelies).
Tips for Successful Progression
- The above course progressions are a guide only. Do the course/s that will motivate you to get out and practice as often as practical. Time on the bike is always a joy and the benefits of simply playing around permeate throughout your riding.
- To keep your practice sessions fresh and interesting, it's recommended to do two (or even three courses) at the same time. Simply follow the video lessons in each course and just add practice...
- Regular short sessions are preferable to occasional long sessions, but don't get too hung up on it. Develop a practice schedule that best suits your lifestyle. Ten minutes of practice is preferable to none at all. Beware of super long sessions (over an hour), as these can leave you feeling sore and potentially lead to over-use injuries.
- If you have a question about your technique or anything else, post a comment on the appropriate lesson page and a coach/ambassador will get back to you within 24 hours.
- Don't be afraid to share a video of your practice too, as this will ensure highly personalised feedback. Coach feedback is a huge benefit of membership so be sure to make the most of it.
Ultimately, it's less important what courses you do, or the order you do them in, and more important to engage in regular practice. You can't get good at wheelies if you don't practice wheelies!