How do I Improve Performance on My Mountain Bicycle?

How do I Improve Performance on My Mountain Bicycle?
Like everything else, improving your mountain bike-riding performance takes time and effort. Riding well is a combination of fitness and skills, and improving in either area ultimately means spending quality time on the bike. It also means keeping your machine well maintained and in optimal condition. A mountain bike that operates poorly can be as detrimental to a rider's progress as any other factor.


Difficulty: Moderate

Step 1
Take your bike into your local bike shop for its regularly scheduled maintenance. Before you hit the trails, the bike should be able to shift cleanly, brake well and be safe to ride. A full tune-up costs between $30 to $75.
Step 2
Improve your balance by riding as slowly as you can alongside a curb or fallen log. The exercise challenges your ability to keep your bike upright in a tight situation. Repeat the exercise, going more slowly each time.
Step 3
Clear obstacles by rolling your bike toward a curb or log. Just before you reach the obstacle, stand on the pedals, compress the front end of the mountain bike, and pull up on the bar to place the front wheel onto the curb or log. While still pedaling, thrust your weight forward to carry your back wheel over the object.
Step 4
Optimize pedaling by using your gears wisely. If your legs feel overburdened, shift to a smaller, easier gear. According to, spinning the smaller gear will also help clear painful lactic acid from your legs, allowing you to recover for the next big climb.
Step 5
Monitor your ride progress. Each week, try and ride a little further or faster. The extra effort will increase your body's cardiovascular ability, allowing you to make greater and more sustained efforts on your mountain bike.
Step 6
Join a small group of riders with a little more experience than yourself. Mountain bike techniques can be learned and/or improved by simply watching other, better riders. Don't be afraid to ask questions.

Article Written By Matthew Ferguson

Matthew Ferguson is a writer living in Savannah, Ga. He has been writing for over 10 years and his work has appeared on various online publications. A collection of his short stories was published in spring 2010. He is a graduate of Appalachian State University.

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