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.
My wife started mountain biking recently and while she enjoyed it, she was lacking some confidence and needed some skills....
My wife started mountain biking recently and while she enjoyed it, she was lacking some confidence and needed some skills. I knew Richard La China from the cross country racing scene and felt confident that he and the ninja team could help out. I bought a woman's beginner clinic for my wife and she really enjoyed the challenge and experience. She is a better mountain biker now with much more confidence and new and improved skills. Mission accomplished! I highly recommend Richard LaChina and the ninja skills clinics for any level. I bought my wife a clinic gift card for Christmas which she will use to take the intermediate clinic. I plan on taking an advanced course to improve my cornering skills. ~ Mark T.
Good clinic. It was helpful to learn, practice with repetition and get critiqued by the coach all at once. I...
Good clinic. It was helpful to learn, practice with repetition and get critiqued by the coach all at once. I look forward to an intermediate level class! Thanks for doing this coach Richard! ~ Sally A.
The best money I’ve ever spent on mountain biking!
Just finished a two day skills workshop in Dallas. To say it was the best money I've ever spent on...
Just finished a two day skills workshop in Dallas. To say it was the best money I've ever spent on mountain biking would be an understatement. Our instructor was Aaron Lucy, a wonderful teacher and just a real pleasure to be around kind of guy. I highly recommend Ninja for anyone from novice to advanced riders as they cover just about anything and everything that will make you a more rounded rider. Thanks so much Aaron for all the advice and coaching! ~Mark Stewart
I'm a 63 y.o. Road and MTB cyclist. I've ridden mountain bikes since 1988. I really wish that I'd taken...
I'm a 63 y.o. Road and MTB cyclist. I've ridden mountain bikes since 1988. I really wish that I'd taken this course 25 years ago and I might have avoided some of the injuries I received over the years. I took only the morning first intro session at Phoenix and I learned a great deal in a short period of time. Richard is a very gifted cyclist and coach with excellent pedagogical skills. The class moved quickly, but covered all the appropriate details needed to handle a bike on technical trails. Richard had two local expert cyclists who demonstrated techniques while he provided a narrative and answered question. We had one relatively new rider who was very wary of some of the steeper, technical descents. By the end of the class, you could actually see a significant increase in her confidence using the skills acquired in the class. I'm looking forward to doing one of Ninja's camps and I hope they are able to expand their clinics to my area (Albuquerque, NM). William J.
We are a group of passionate, dirt-loving, community oriented, world class instructors committed to helping you reach your personal riding goals. We are excited to work with riders of all ability levels and share the joy (STOKE) of mountain biking.