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).
3. 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.
4. 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.
The Guru’s #1 passion is taking bike skills and breaking them down into tangible, progressive steps. Is there a skill you just can’t master? A maneuver you don’t understand? A fear you can’t seem to get past? Turn to the Guru! The Ninja Skills Guru has spent years riding bikes and carefully breaking down riding skills into easy digestible steps so you can tackle the trail with confidence. Yup, the guru is that friend who doesn’t talk about anything but bikes!
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.
Went to the beginner Ninja clinic at Alison. Richard and Kristen were awesome! We all got the opportunity to work...
Went to the beginner Ninja clinic at Alison. Richard and Kristen were awesome! We all got the opportunity to work on improving our skills with their feedback. Next time I would definitely do the intermediate clinic or do a one-on-one session. Richard is super patient and provides great feedback and riding tips. ~ Lisa D.
My speed and confidence going down steep descents have been SIGNIFICANTLY improved!
I just had my first race (XC endurance) since I did the camp and both my speed and confidence going...
I just had my first race (XC endurance) since I did the camp and both my speed and confidence going down steep descents have been SIGNIFICANTLY improved. I would not have attempted 50% of the drops and jumps on the course prior to participating in the clinic, and my overall time would have been much slower. The first two hours of the class (int/adv Sedona) made the whole thing more than worth it, and the rest of the two days seemed like a bonus. Both Courtney and Richard were encouraging and patient, and both had that classic mountain biker charm and humor ready when the moment called for it. Overall a very enjoyable and valuable weekend. For reference, I participate in amateur XC endurance races (with no hope of ever coming close to winning anything) and have been riding for about two years. I was worried before taking the class that I would not be skilled enough, but the int/adv was appropriate for my skill level. If you're worried, just go for it anyway. There is a good mix of people and everyone was very friendly! ~Alana Bencivengo
The course was very fluid, engaging, and I would highly recommend it.
I took the intermediate/advanced course in Balboa Park after having ridden for just over 2 years on my own. It...
I took the intermediate/advanced course in Balboa Park after having ridden for just over 2 years on my own. It covered a wide breadth of skills, some of which I already felt aquatinted with and others I had little to no experience with. I found all of the material useful. I was able to improve skills I already had and was able to learn new skills. I also feel confident leaving the course that the instructors have provided all of the information for me to practice and improve outside of the course setting. The environment of Balboa Park was perfect for learning and sessioning the skills covered. The instructors were friendly, fun, and attentive to all of the participants. They spent more or less time on certain skills based on how the entire group was grasping them. They also gave individualized attention to participants that required more help with technique. The course was very fluid, engaging, and I would highly recommend it. ~Heather B.
We are a group of passionate, dirt-loving, community oriented, world class mountain bike skills instructors committed to helping you reach your personal riding goals through clinics and camps. We are excited to work with riders of all ability levels and share the joy (STOKE) of mountain biking.