Learn How to Mountain Bike (And Be a Kid Again)

And in with the new…..

And now that he’s all set up with gears, it’s time to hit the trails.

But wait, do I really know how to teach someone to mountain bike?

After all, the way I learned was rather unorthodox.

I went out on the mountain biking trails with my then-beau, who was a for more accomplished rider than I, in the Fells just north of Boston.

What does he immediately do?

He rides along some rocks that look something like this:

OK. Maybe they weren’t that bad. But you can see for yourself — ‘Fells’ means ‘wild rocky place’ (taken right from their website). So like any panicked person would do, I clutch my brakes for dear life. Then flip, rather gracefully I’m sure, over my handle bars and fall onto the rocks. My risk injured, I walked home dejected. With a sad dog who didn’t get her ride, either. That didn’t deter me. I went back for many a ride at that wild, rocky place and loved every minute of it (as did Shelby the dog). And though I never mastered anything quite as technical as the previously shown photo, I did manage to hold my own. I even won a mountain bike race before I moved away from the Beantown.

But back to how I learned. I would describe the experience as rather unconventional; I don’t think I ever really grasped proper technique. I was just ignorant enough to try hard and worry about falling later. So when we bought Luke’s bike the other night, the salesman told us to go out to the “pump park” to teach him how to ride. Again, either showing my age or ignorance, I had no idea what a pump park was/is. Well apparently, this is the pump track in Eagle, Idaho, to which he was referring:

The gentleman told us that for Luke to learn properly, he should be able to ride around the pump park without pedaling. In this manner, he learns how to feel the bumps and the curves and adjust his weight accordingly.

But what the heck? While he’s at it, I don’t see why I can’t learn all over again, too.

After all, riding mountain bikes is like being a kid again. And what I would have given to have mountain biked at Luke’s age.

You should try it, too.

P.S. Hopefully I won’t be in a cast when I type my next blog post.

Melinda Hinson