10 reasons to book a mountain bike guide
Mountain biking is like so many sports: If you want to ride better and be safer on the trails, the advice of an expert is invaluable. A friend – and a brilliant mountain biker – Ramsay is the founder of Trail Coach, a Glasgow-based company that offers MTB tuition and guided rides. Here he reveals 10 reasons to book a mountain bike guide.
1 Bike set-up
We are all different shapes and sizes and even if you have bought a bike with good sizing advice there will still be a need to adjust and modify to perfectly suit and fit the rider.
The right fit is critical to the operation of the bike because an ill-fitting bike will make riding difficult, uncomfortable, exhausting and potentially dangerous.
A good mountain bike guide will help riders to ensure their bike is properly set up and fitting well.
2 In control
A modern mountain bike is a complex machine – and there are lots of things to operate while riding. Learning to utilise (and set-up) these controls effectively will allow you to concentrate on the riding, rather than simply “pressing the buttons”.
3 Safety first
All too often people push themselves into tackling obstacles that they are not ready for. Without the right ability, these riders are prone to injury and bike damage.
With expert guidance you can minimise risk to yourself and your bike by having the correct preparation and developing your bike handling skills in a structured process.
4 Better progress
With expert observation and feedback, riders will develop their skills much faster than trying to figure it all out for themselves. While riding, you pay so much attention to your current situation (trying to ride the bike!) that you can’t see things, such as your body position and movement. An instructor can pay full attention to technique while observing and providing appropriate feedback.
5 Build confidence
When something goes wrong while pushing your limits, you might not even know why it went wrong. Without understanding what went wrong, you may continue to make the same mistake at the next attempt. Many riders find themselves stuck in a loop of ability and this can badly affect confidence.
When you are drained of confidence, your ability to perform is severely limited and it can make a skill or riding task far than it should be.
With expert observation and feedback, you’ll make improvements incrementally without wondering what’s going wrong.
6 Learn from experience
Some things are down to trial and error and, as the sport of mountain biking has progressed over the years, so has the technology. Modern bikes are far more capable machines and can compensate for the rider’s lack of ability.
The chances are that your coach or guide will have been riding for a much longer time and have a lot of experience to pass on from previous generations of mountain biking when the bikes weren’t so capable.
Fine-tuning your technique beyond what a modern bike alone can handle will make you a better rider in the long term.
7 Drop the bad habits
Everyone has bad habits and when it comes to mountain biking there are a vast array of bad habits that even experienced riders can pick up.
An MTB guide will look at your riding and assess your “bad habits”. This might include body position and weight distribution, braking and gear changing. Identifying and rectifying these bad habits can unlock speed, style and control – and improve safety.
8 Alleviate the peer pressure
Riding with your mates is great fun, but sometimes too much encouragement can be a bad thing. Friends may not realise it but by pushing you into doing something too far outside your comfort zone with the “just lean back” or “hold my beer” attitude can be disastrous.
Taking things one step at a time and ensuring that you are ready for progressing to the next level is critical to your safety and continually improving riding.
It’s not always necessary to bow down to peer pressure and you will find that some tuition will help you develop skills, confidence and improve your riding ability in a safe and controlled manner.
9 Meet new people
Many MTB sessions take place with other people and this means you will get to know new riders. It could be that you make friends in your local area or meet people who can show you new places to explore on your bike in their area.
Taking part in a mountain bike tuition session should be about fun and socialising, as well as learning new skills.
10 Ride new trails
If you are new to an area because you are visiting or have just moved there, why not discover the trails that those in the know ride? A guided MTB ride will reveals new places to explore and might show you some secret gems that you never knew existed close to where you live.
Find out more about MTB tuition and guiding in Scotland with Glasgow-based Trail Coach.