It turns out, perfecting stair riding will help both your Urban Slayer reputation AND your ability to tackle technical singletrack. Mother nature (and trail builders) frequently throw stair-like features our way on the trail. Perfecting your stair riding will, in turn, better prepare you to smoothly sail down these features.
No more bobble head. No more bumpity bumpity. Here is how you can make riding stairs look and feel smooth and easy.
1. Start Small
As tempting as it may be to go find the steepest gnarliest looking stairs in your city – we recommend starting with a relatively small set of stairs. 3 – 6 steps with a direct entry and clear exit. Build up from there.
2. Get Ready
The Ready Position is your best friend when it comes to riding stairs. Get into your descending ready position with your body back and low enough to maintain even weight on your front and back tires. You should NOT be hanging off the back of the bike as you will lose the ability to effectively control that front wheel. It’s critical that you have even weight on your pedals as well. This will result in your pedals being parallel to the ground (stairs).
4. Ride Perpendicular
No need to get fancy, start with your bike perpendicular to the stairs and ride in a direct line down the stairs. Keep that front wheel facing straight ahead.
3. Keep It Moving
The slower you go, the bumpier your stairs will be. Choose a speed fast enough to smooth out the bumps while still maintaining control of your bike.
5. Weight In Your Feet
Keep a firm grip on your handlebars, but not a death grip. Focus your weight in your feet and allow your upper body (arms and legs) to absorb the bumps as you ride down the stairs. Remember, weight in your feet does not mean lock-out your legs. Rather, keep those legs working like springs to absorb the bike and bumps as you float down them.
6. Relax / Breath
Relax your body, stay loose and remember to breathe!
7. Heads Up!
As you come over the top of the first step, direct your vision to the end of the stairs and as you approach the end of the stairs, bring your head (and eyes!) up to look where you’re going next.
8. Find More Steps, Repeat
Once you’ve got a small set of stairs, find some bigger ones and do it all over again!
9. Take it to the trail!
Getting comfortable on a set of stairs has direct applications to riding technical sections of trails. Next time you come across a set of small water-bars or a series of rocky ledges, activate those stair riding skills and find yourself floating down the trail.
Richard La China is a Professional Mountain Bike racer, USAC Certified Cycling Coach and a IMBA Certified Mountain Bike Skills Instructor who coaches beginner to pro cyclist. Currently working with mountain bike XC, Endurance and Enduro racers and other competitive and non-competitive mountain bike riders seeking to become their best.
Best investment ever. The Ninja mountain bike skill clinics will definitely bring up your riding level a notch or two....
Best investment ever. The Ninja mountain bike skill clinics 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.
I would recommend this to riders of all skill levels and ages.
I want to thank the Ninja Mountain Bike Camp and instructor Richard La China for a great weekend on April...
I want to thank the Ninja Mountain Bike Camp and instructor Richard La China for a great weekend on April 22-23rd. As an 59 year old ex-MX racer and 28 year Mt bike rider, found the personal instruction and group demonstrations were instrumental in my growth as a rider. You can teach an old dog new tricks. The seeing "new" lines, different jumping techniques and cornering skills all helped me open my eyes to a world of riding I had not experienced on my own. I want to all of the attendees for a great experience. I would recommend this to riders of all skill levels and ages. ~Joel Palmer
I went to the clinic that was offered April 6-9 at Mulberry Gap in Elljay Georgia. The coaches were awesome!...
I went to the clinic that was offered April 6-9 at Mulberry Gap in Elljay Georgia. The coaches were awesome! I was riding faster with more control than ever before! If you want to get better take one of their camps! ~Bill S.
Within one hour we we clearing a 5 foot jump easily!
Wow, a friend and I just did a one day private lesson with Richard and I can’t believe how much...
Wow, a friend and I just did a one day private lesson with Richard and I can’t believe how much we learned. I’ve been riding for over 10 years but with all self taught skills. We wanted to learn fundamentals the right way and Richard took us through all of that (along with critical bike setup) and the intermediate stuff that they teach in one day plus he spent an extra hour at the end to teach us jumping which I had always been nervous about. Within one hour we we clearing a 5 foot jump easily and with confidence, we even learned to move the bike in the air on a crossed take off and landing. I think my favorite part thpugh was riding fast on the very gnarly technical descent. We will be booking up more private lessons during the summer at Big Bear. Thanks Richard you are a very good teacher! ~John U.
I attended an intermediate skill clinic last year and had an awesome time. My riding improved instantly and I have...
I attended an intermediate skill clinic last year and had an awesome time. My riding improved instantly and I have really enjoyed the increased confidence jumping my bike over obstacles. My muscle memory takes a while to kick in and Coach Richard and his crew of master Ninjas were really patient with me. I even got some bonus education on climbing faster during one of our warm-up laps! Even though I have been riding for years I learned something new with every skill taught. The clinic was worth every penny and I will be signing up for an advanced one this summer. ~Michael W.