Once you say that mountain cycling is your passion or down rightly treat it like your new hobby, you have won half the battle already. Mountain cycling, commonly known as mountain biking, is a brave sport and the word brave here should be taken with a pinch of seriousness and sincerity.
10 Hacks for Mountain Cycling
Every sport or passion has its own ‘jugaad’ and just to put it right for all those aspiring cyclists and those who are a pro at it, we arranged for these 10 hacks to help get you to the top of mountain cycling!
1. The Hero of Your Expedition
Before you pull up your socks and get going or even start exercising for your expedition, you need to buy the hero of your passion; the cycle itself. Make sure the information on the internet is not your only source while making the buying decision, and that involves opening up about the same with some pro cyclists or groups from the ‘been there and done that’ category. Don’t shy away to take help from the retailer in your area to find out what cycle best suits you and the terrain you have chosen. Ask as many questions as possible to make your ride happy.
2. Essentials to Make it Longer
Once you have managed a handsome cycle for yourself, it is time to gear up with other essentials that will make your ride remarkable. A helmet, a handheld pump, and tube, a water bottle, riding gloves, protective glasses, a riding attire that includes cycling shorts and most importantly, a multi-tool will make any terrain a turning point of your expedition.
3. Exercises To-Do List
If you want to conquer greater terrains, you need to loosen up your body and mind. What takes you to higher levels is your inner strength and focus, but what majorly works is a smart technique. Assessing your body’s metabolism is the most important step. Then comes learning the breathing therapy. A daily practice of breathing exercises like Pranayam will help you control your breath at higher altitudes and make your blood circulation better. A daily dose of plank for elbows and back squats for the legs, crunches for your core, etc will do your body a generous deal. You can go easy at first and then make your exercise regime stronger with the kind of terrains you choose. One crucial point to remember, cycling is a sport of keeping your eyes, back, core and hands all in sync and pacing ahead. So push away all languid thoughts that curl in, just in case!
4. Look Before You Leap
Just like ignoring the past and getting over it, mountain cycling, too calls for looking ahead. What the terrain has in store for you, is totally your lookout. Your eyes, torso, mind, hands, legs and your head, they all need to follow the same instruction as well. This helps you stay focused and kills the fear when the terrain looks like a beast.
5. The Optimist
The optimist in you is going to take you places! If you are riding extremely close to a cliff or on a bread slice thin bridge, remember to stay positive and keep riding. If you feel you might tumble and keep thinking the same, you might lose your balance. The more positive you are the better it will get. A great way to surpass these kinds of situations is by visualizing your previous victories, they might be in cycling expeditions or any other game or sport. Being a lion is a must! Hunter S Thompson nailed it by saying, “Anything that gets your blood racing is probably worth doing”.
6. The Art of Balancing
The balance between your cycle and you is the most significant part of riding. When you ride uphill or on rocks that face downward, it is obligatory to keep moving your cycle. You have to throw your weight ahead and lean lower to keep the wheel ahead and logically shift your weight backward when cycling down a hillock or a slope on a rock. In firm 180-degree turn roads, it is a wise tip to move your weight outwards to concentrate your grip inside. Thus, the fore-aft and the lateral balance are things to focus on for a longer ride.
7. Take a Brake!
Using brakes of your cycle is nowhere close to using switches of light at home! Treat the brakes like brightness control in your smartphones. This activity will tone down your speed while moving downwards and help you get stable in your form, gradually helping you pause smoothly and effectively.
An acrobatic trick called the wheelie or wheel stand is a fun and highly practiced trend in the mountain cycling sport. This technique involves enough force to be applied by twisting the rear wheel which causes the front wheel to fly off the ground. It sounds incredible, but can be achieved and tried once you execute basics rigorously. Wheelie is also an optional stunt and needs to be strictly tried only once the confidence seeps in you after riding for a longer duration on various terrains.
9. Fellow Riders Make Awesome Rides
The terrains differ a ton from each other and so does every experience. Never go mountain cycling alone, say the experts from the field. You need to catch up with some groups online or maybe find out similarly passionate people to make a group to go riding. It is a great risk to go alone on terrains that are really demanding. Safety comes first, so team riding is a great idea. That is also a good way to discuss routes so that you don’t wander. Moreover, you will always have help at your disposal in case of any mishap. Group riding also gives an immense boost to your stamina when you are about to give up. Fellow riders are good mascots and you can anticipate great company on the way to your expedition.
10. With Passion Comes Responsibility
You need to avoid muddy and wet tracks for obvious safety reasons, check the weather forecast before you make a plan, inform somebody about your plan, stick to realistic plans, maintain your mountain cycle without any laziness, don’t drink and ride for mountain cycling, carefully ride on tracks that pass villages, carry a first aid box along with you and do not cover both ears while riding as it is prohibited in most of the places for safety reasons and ride freely without disturbing Mother Earth!
Mountain cycling is a serious sport and therefore before you convert this one into a passion, get a good hang of the do’s and don’ts. The terrains are going to call you, test you and many times befuddle you! You can use these hacks as your amplified weapon to fight the trouble gladiators you face on the way. It is also crucial for you to enjoy the sport and not get blinded by the technicalities of the same. Just relax, unwind and loosen your body and mind and keep the fire of your passion alive!