richard_singletrackIt’s time to increase your mountain bike confidence!

Our next Mountain Bike Camp is just around the corner and we are getting a TON of questions about these three-day adventures. We figure that if some of you have questions, then all (ok, at least most) of you have questions. So, to answer them, we’ve put together this handy-dandy, easy-to-read guide, which starts with listing all of our camp locations for 2015. Read on to find enlightenment!

Mountain Bike Camp Locations

  • Santa Cruz, California | SOLD OUT 
  • Big Bear, California | June 5-7 (limited space)
  • Big Bear, California | July 10-12
  • Park City, Utah | August 28-30
  • Fruita, Colorado | September 4-6
  • Bend, Oregon | September 18-20 (limited space)
  • Sedona, Arizona | October 16-18

What To Expect At Mountain Bike Camp

The camps are designed for the enthusiast rider or avid racer that is looking to build up and clean up their “toolbox” of mountain bike skills in order to handle a variety of terrain at speed.

We blend an in-depth version of our traditional Intermediate – Advanced skills training with coached riding sessions and several mini-seminars on hot topics like nutrition, altitude acclimatization, and the perfect bike set-up.

After camp, you will see an immediate improvement in your riding and will have a boost in confidence on technical trails. You will be able to tackle rougher terrain and trickier corners with greater control and flow through single track, switchbacks, and berms with far more speed and efficiency.

You can think of our camps as an awesome opportunity for what we like to call a “traincation”a fun-filled vacation in which you get to spend most of your time doing what you like to do most, ride your mtb.  You can find the detailed camp schedule here.

What’s Included

  • Ninja Mountain Bike Skills Jersey (when you sign up before 04/30/15)
  • Swag Bag
  • Discount at Host Bike Shop
  • Lift Tickets (Big Bear and Park City)
  • Skills Training
  • Mini-Seminars (Nutrition, Acclimatization, Bike Setup/Fit)
  • Lunch Provided for All 3 days
  • Post-Camp Snacks on Saturday Evening

Skills Covered

Who’s Teaching?

Richard La China (Big Bear, Bend, Fruita, Park City)

  • Professional XC Endurance Racer
  • IMBA Certified Skills Coach (Level II)
  • USAC Certified Cycling Coach

Aaron Lucy (Big Bear, Fruita)

  • Expert Downhill Racer
  • IMBA Certified Skills Instructor

Kris Gross | Pro Rider (Big Bear, Park City, Bend)

  • IMBA Certified Skills Instructor
  • USAC Certified Cycling Coach

Regina Jefferies (Big Bear, Park City, Sedona)

  • Expert DH/Enduro Racer
  • IMBA Certified Skills Instructor
  • National DH Championship Winner 2014

Rachel Throop | Pro Rider (Big Bear)

  • 2014 4th Overall NAET
  • 2014 2nd Kamikaze Games Mammoth – Enduro
  • 2014 5th BME Keystone, CO
  • 2006 3rd Pan American Games
  • 2006 Junior Expert XC National Champion


Off-The-Bike At Mountain Bike Camp

After camp each day you can enjoy all the scenery, shopping, and dining that your destination has to offer. Our camp locations are known as prime real estate not only for their awesome mountain bike trails, but also for their leisure activities. Any non-mountain bikers accompanying you for the long weekend will have more than enough to do to keep them happy and busy.  Learn more about our camp locations here.


How Much Do Camps Cost?

Camps range in price according to location and prices increase the closer you get to the camp date.  It’s always best to sign up sooner than later to ensure you get a spot before the clinics fills at the lowest possible price.  Check the complete camp schedule and prices here.

Where To Stay?

While lodging is not included in the cost of the camp there are plenty of affordable hotels near our camps that can be booked for the weekend.   Inquire with us for information about the host hotel for each location.

Here’s What People Are Saying About Us …

Best. Investment. Ever. Ninja Mountain Bike Skills will definitely bring up your riding level a notch or two. Being able to get instant feedback from the instructor (s) in this case Richard La China and his assistant is invaluable. From getting the correct riding position to improving the skills necessary to have a fast flow through the trails builds confidence and is the key to having more fun when mountain bike riding. Also I’ve taken one-on-one lessons (with Richard La China) and it really speeds up the learning (in my case it was basic jumping) in any area where you deem to be weak in or just need improvement. ~ Thad G.  


powerbar_logoPowerBar is our official camp nutrition sponsor.  Nutrition provided to camp participants includes PowerBar Gel, Energy Blasts Chews and more.

2014-07-08 03.29.10 pmYou know that feeling when you score a really good deal on something? The good ole I-bargained-that-price-down-to-half-its-MSRP?  Or the I-found-the-last-one-in-the-sale-bin feeling?  You get all giddy from the excitement because it feels like you won something. And who doesn’t like winning?  Well, get warmed up to do your best happy dance because we have a really good deal for you …

For a limited time, Ninja Mountain Bike Skills is offering a package deal for our coveted One-on-One sessions: when you buy 3, you get one free!  That’s a $150 savings!  To put that in perspective, that’s about 60 Double-Doubles at In-n-Out, 15 two-liter growlers at Stone Brewery, or 5 all-day passes to the bike park at Snow Summit. Woah.

limitedtimeoffer-greenIn addition to the cash money savings, this package deal will also give you the peace of mind knowing that you have 4 sessions on lockdown with one of our amazing instructors. This eliminates the anxiety of trying to cover everything in one session and allows for building skill level as appropriate rather than as time dictates. If you want more frequent and intensive instruction you can schedule them on consecutive days, or if you just want some tune-ups, you can schedule them once a week or even once a month.  You have 6 months to use your sessions, so how you schedule them is all up to you!

Click here to purchase your one-on-one session package — we’ll be in touch with you right after you purchase is complete to get you first session on the schedule …


Stephane Roch | Pro Rider, Team Ninja

The wheelie is really a useful riding skill, particularly for getting over trail obstacles, as well as a great way to practice balance and bike control. But maybe even more importantly than that (for all the attention-seekers out there) it looks cool. Wanna be YouTube-famous?  You gotta learn to do a wheelie.

This skill is often confused with the Manual which is similar in the fact that the front wheel is in the air in both skills. The primary difference is that in a wheelie the front end stays up from pedaling, and in a manual it stays up from just shifting your weight back.  Also, a manual is a standing maneuver and a wheelie done is seated.

Ok, so know you know what it is — here’s how to do it:

1. Lower your saddle, you’ll need to be seated for this skill and the lower your saddle, the lower your center of mass will be and the more stable you’ll be.

2. Select an easy gear, but not the easiest gear.  Usually 2 or 3 from the easiest is a good place to start.  Begin your wheelie at about 5–10 mph.  Using a gear that’s too easy will result in too fast of a cadence which will result in you loosing your wheelie because of excessive pedaling.

wheelie33. If you have rear suspension on your mountain bike, lock it out.  A bouncing rear shock will negatively effect your balance.

4. While keeping your head up and looking forward, lower your torso and crouch down over the handlebars to prepare to initiate the wheelie.

5. With your most powerful foot at the top of the pedal stroke, simultaneously pull up on the handlebars while pedaling down hard.  You’ll have to start with a hard, steady pedal stoke to get the wheel up.  Once it’s up, keep pedaling, but not quite as forcefully.

6. Quickly lean your weight back and allow your arms to straighten as the front wheel comes up.

7. Keep pedaling and keep a finger over the rear brake lever.  If the bike comes up too far, you can tap the brake to bring it back down.

8. Continue to feather your rear brake as needed in order to prevent the bike from flipping over backwards. (Some people drag their rear brake the entire time, just to have some resistance to pedal against.)

wheelie19. Mange the balance of the bike.  If the front starts coming down, lean back more.  If the bike leans right, stick your knee out, or turn the bars to regain balance.   Make these corrections as soon as needed, if you wait to long, your balance will be unrecoverable.

10. Make sure the front wheel is straight as you bring the front wheel back down to the ground.


Absa Cape Epic 2014 Stage 3 Robertson to Greyton1. It’s easier to learn this skill with flat pedals vs. clipped in.

2. The wheelie is never really perfectly balanced, you need to constantly add balance corrections to keep the bike in the wheelie and going in the direction you are intending.

3. It’s easier to learn this skill on a slight slope, preferable on grass.

4. Practice dismounting off the back of the bike so you know what to do in the event you go over backwards.

This is another one of those skill where you’ve got to put the time in in order to really master it.  Keep at it and over time, you’ll see your hang-time increase to the point where you can wheelie across, over down and up anything you choose.

Have fun!

landis_cyclery_arizona_mountain_bike_skillsWe’re heading back for another taste of the region’s distinct singletrack. Join us we partner with local shop Landis Cyclery to offer skills clinics at every level.

We’ll be riding at the famous Papago Park — home to beautiful sandstone buttes and listed on the National Register of Historic Places. This venue has features that make it perfect for practicing skills, and you’ll have plenty of photo opportunities too.

Join us and learn to Ride Like a Ninja. You’ll soon conquer your fears on the drops and switchbacks, unlock free speed in the corners and boogie up any climb the trail throws at you. We’ll teach you how to brake effectively, how to perfect your footwork and demonstrate just how much your body position can affect your ride.

Following your clinic, you will see an immediate improvement in your riding and a boost in confidence. You’ll understand how changes in your body position, footwork and where you are looking affect the way your bike behaves. You’ll be able to tackle steeper terrain, corner with control and negotiate trail obstacles with ease. And Landis Cyclery will be ready to help with any mechanical support, accessories, parts or anything else you may need for your mountain bike.

A bike rider at Papago Park, Phoenix, Arizona. (model released)Here’s what you need to know:

  • Clinics will be held on January 31 and February 1, 2015
  • We’ll be meeting at
    • Papago Park
    • 625 Galvin Bikeway,
    • Phoenix, AZ 85008
  • Clinics range from $149 to $289 (depending on which class and how soon your register)
  • Registration is open now!

We’re also going to be doing our Saturday Night Social at Landis Cyclery!  It’s free, very educationing and a ton of fun.  Snacks and drinks provided by Landis Cyclery.  Find out all about it here.

Click HERE to register for this or any other upcoming clinic, or to find out more. The crews at Landis Cyclery and Ninja Mountain Bike Skills can’t wait to see you there!

At the beginning of every Ninja Mountain Bike Skills clinic, we talk about ways to improve your riding by improving the positioning and adjustment of your shifters, brakes, suspension, saddle and more.   To really dial in your cockpit, with your rider specific settings, can easily require more time then is available during the clinics.

JRA Bike and Brew with Ninja Mountain Bike SkillsThat’s why we’re excited to announce that for our upcoming clinic weekend in Arizona, we’re adding a Saturday night social at Landis Cyclery. Join us after class (or evening before class if you’re taking a Sunday clinic) for some yummy refreshments and we’ll educate you as to where your brake levers should be for the best reach and control, how to set up your shifters optimally, how set your your suspension correctly for your riding style and weight and other important fit components to make sure everything is running smoothly so that all you have to do is Ride Like A Ninja.

brake-setup2This is a free event for everyone that participates in one of our clinics.  It’s a great chance to get really comfortable in your cockpit but also to meet other riders from your area, check out these amazing local shops and swap some stories from the trail.

We’d love to see you there!

PS – if you have a friend or family member you think might also benefit from some cockpit tune-age, bring them by.  Food, drinks and socializing are free for everyone.

 Phoenix Clinics – Hosted by Landis Cyclery

Where: Landis Cyclery (2180 E Southern Ave, AZ 85282)
When: January 31, 2015 at 6:00pm
Cost:  FREE for clinic participants

white_jersey_2015Our ‘Official’ 2015 Ninja Mountain Bike Skills jersey is now in stock!

We worked with Zoca to create a super sweet and super comfy jersey for all your trail needs. The white background, airy cut, and 3/4 length zipper will keep you cool as you explore a new trail or throw down the hammer on a group ride. And, most importantly, you’ll look good doing it! The front of the jersey has a watermarked “Ninja Guy” that makes it look clean and stealthy, and the back of the jersey showcases our favorite sponsors while reminding everyone to “Ride Like A Ninja.”

You can get one of these gems for free when you sign up for any of our Mountain Bike Camps or purchase one (or more) in our online store.

Slope_Saviour-92The manual is a useful skill for lofting  your front wheel over an obstacle. (Yes, lofting as opposed to lifting. See “Note” below.)    Once you know how to manual you will start to see the trail completely differently. You’ll no longer have to ride over small trail obstacles, you’ll be able to effortlessly loft the front end at will and avoid losing momentum. Getting up small ledges will also become much easier as you learn how to use your hips instead of your arms to pick your front end up.

Ride at jogging pace, or a bit faster.  You want to go fast enough to provide momentum, but not so fast that you can not control yourself. Start in neutral position. Then, just before you get to the obstacle, pre-load your front suspension by lowering your center of mass (bending your elbows).  Make sure you have even weight on the pedals (this will results in pedal being level for this skill).

Explode up and back while driving your feet down, pushing the pedals forward and away from you.  Allow your weight to shift back with your arms straight.  Your center of gravity should be right over the rear axle. Make sure to have your legs strait so its easier to stay up.

Note: Shifting your weight back is what brings the front of the bike up (“lofting”), not ‘pulling’ the bars up (“lifting”).  If you just pull the bars up without shifting your weight back, the front will quickly go back down.

Keep a finger over your rear brake at all times.  If at any point in this move you feel you are going to flip off the back of the bike, applying the back brake will bring the front wheel back down.

Once you’ve cleared the obstacle, bring your weight back to the neutral or ready position.  This will bring the front of the bike back down.   Practice this skill by placing a stick on a slight downward (smooth) path and see how long / far you can hold the wheel lift.

After some focused practice on this still you’ll be manually all over the place!


10690234_10152499916792358_7606546168961039480_nThe Ninja Mountain Bike Skills team was thrilled to lead women from the Girlz Gone Riding (GGR) club through a weekend of clinics at Malibu Creek State Park. According to GGR’s website, they’re a “positive, supportive group for all levels of riding,” and after spending a couple days laughing, joking, and smiling with these gals, we couldn’t agree more!

On Saturday, Coach Kris Gross took the lead for our fundamentals session. We enjoyed breakthroughs, teaching moments and “ah-ha” light bulbs while covering skills like the “ready” position, how to corner, and our best tips for how to climb and descend.

On Sunday, Coach Richard led the GGR ladies through a full day of advanced skills including wheel lifts, bunny hops, and switchbacks, as well as a refresher on our fundamentals.

10734178_10152499918227358_773943900824046032_n“I think the more members we have taking clinics, the better it will be for our members’ safety, confidence, and to help them overcome obstacles—whether on the trail, or coming back from an injury,” said Wendy Engelberg, Director of Girlz Gone Riding. “That’s why we’re trying to schedule as many of these opportunities as possible.”

Girlz Gone Riding is a club of female riders (and the occasional male volunteer an supporter) based in the LA area, and now with a chapter in the Inland Empire. They organize group mountain bike rides, special events (like BMX night), skills clinics and the annual riding gala, Rocktober.

Coach Kris and Coach Richard will be back in the LA Area to help Girlz Gone Riding continue to promote fun and safety on the trails with another weekend of skills clinics this February. To find a Ninja Mountain Bike Skills clinic near your, please see our schedule. And to learn more about GGR or join in on their events, please check out their website.

FEB 7 Women’s Basics (8:45am – 12:00pm) Calabasas [GIRLZ GONE RIDING Edition – Morning Session] Los Angeles, CA $149 Special GGR // Register Now!
FEB 7 Women’s Basics (1:00pm – 4:15pm) Calabasas [GIRLZ GONE RIDING Ed. – Afternoon Session] Los Angeles, CA $149 Special GGR // Register Now!
FEB 8 Women’s Intermadiate/ Advanced (8:45am – 4:00pm) Calabasas [GIRLZ GONE RIDING Ed. – Full Day Session] Los Angeles, CA $199 Special GGR // Register Now!

Ninja Mountain Bike Skills has planned an action-packed 2015, and we’re excited to announce that Montrose Bike Shop is joining in the fun! We are partnering with this bike-loving crew to offer and Intermediate / Advanced skills clinic at Cherry Canyon.2015-01-06 10.49.07 amMontrose has been serving cyclists since 1955, and it’s their mission to  “provide a welcoming, helpful atmosphere and develop strong, lasting relationships with our clients and our community.”We also share ties with some of our favorite cycling advocates—like IMBA and the NICA high school mountain biking league—which means we’re already enjoying lots in common with our new friends. We share their vision: Create cyclists for life.

With a shop filled with top-of-the-line gear and helpful, caring, passionate staff; the beauty of the surrounding hills and trails; and a neighborhood full of amenities, we’re excited for our trip to Montrose. We hope you are, too!

Join us and learn to Ride Like a Ninja. You’ll soon conquer your fears on the drops and switchbacks, unlock free speed in the corners and boogie up any climb the trail throws at you. We’ll teach you how to brake effectively, how to perfect your footwork and demonstrate just how much your body position can affect your ride.

Following your clinic, you will see an immediate improvement in your riding and a boost in confidence. You’ll understand how changes in your body position, footwork and where you are looking affect the way your bike behaves.  You’ll be able to tackle steeper terrain, corner with control and negotiate trail obstacles with ease.  And Montrose Bike Shop will be ready to help with any mechanical support you need.

Click here to register for an upcoming clinic, or here for more information our entire updated schedule.

The crews at Montrose Bike Shop and Ninja Mountain Bike Skills can’t wait to see you there!


Learning how to corner correctly will make riding a heck of a lot more fun and you’ll be faster and more efficient.   While cornering is a skill we could probably write a book about on its own, here we’ve broken down the basics to help you improve you flow:

cornering_az_practive1. Slow down to a speed at which you can safely negotiate the corner. If you overestimate, use your rear brake only to check speed.  Never use your front brake in a corner; your front wheel could easily wash out.

2. Get in the ready position with your center of mass low and push your handlebar down towards the inside of the corner while your other arm pulls up.  Do not pull either side of the handlebars towards you, or you’ll turn the front wheel, and we want to lean the bike.

3. Enter the corner on the outside. That means, if it’s a left-hand corner, enter on the right side of the entrance and lean the bike into the apex of the corner.  Once you’ve passed the apex of the corner you can start to bring the bike back upright for the exit.

4. Separate yourself from the bike by swinging your hips to the outside of the corner, so your butt is next to your saddle.  If you have a dropper seat post, drop it to allow your leg to easily move over the saddle.  If you have a fixed seat post, bring your butt forward and around the saddle to get your weight to the outside of the corner.

5. Look through the corner. As you enter keep your head up and look at the exit.  As you finish your corner, look down the trail to whatever happens to be coming up next.  Head up, head up, head up.

2014-11-12 01.18.47 pm6. Keep your knees out to allow the bike to lean beneath you.  Your weight needs to be to the outside counter-balancing the bike as you flow through the corner. If keep even weight on your pedals, you’ll notice the inside pedal will come up as you lean the bike and separate from it.

7. Twist your hips in the direction you want to corner.  Imagine you have lasers attached to them and you want to point them through the corner towards the exit.  Initiate your lean as your enter the corner, well before your reach the apex.

8. Remember to relax and breathe.  Smooth is fast.

We recommend practicing this skill on a grassy area around a tree or some cones.  Setting up a 180-degree flat corner about 12 feet wide is a great way to get your cornering on track.  As you improve, reduce the size of the corner, or try adding in speed.