Have you ever been riding down the trail, turned your front wheel to avoid a large rock and then BUMP, your back wheel hits that same darn rock you were trying to avoid? As you’ve likely figured out, the back wheel doesn’t follow the same path as your front wheel when turning. The Solution? Introducing the Rock Dodge!
The Rock Dodge is a sharp, short turn used for avoiding a rock, sharp stick, pesky squirrel or other small obstacles you might encounter on the trail.
When done successfully, your front wheel will pass on one side of the obstacle and your back wheel will pass on the other side. The obstacle passes under your down-tube between your tires. You ride away without losing momentum, puncturing a tire or squashing a critter.
This is a low-speed skill and is most often used while climbing singletrack. Mastering the rock dodge will allow you to hone in on precise movements, keep you in full control of your bike, and make technical climbing that much easier. We can all use a little love on the climbs, am I right?
1. Start Flat
The best place to practice this skills is on a flat, relatively open area.
2. Identify Obstacle
Determine which obstacle you’re going to rock dodge – we recommend starting with something small. Be sure to look past the obstacle to make sure your exit is inline with the direction you intend to ride.
3. Aim For It
Ride right toward the obstacle — get close!
4. Wait For it
Right as your front wheel passes the obstacle, quickly and sharply turn your front wheel around it and quickly and then back towards the direction you’d like to continue riding.
After your complete your rock dodge, make sure to get your eyes back up and ready for whatever’s next on the trail.
Once you get proficient on flat ground, progress to an up-sloping area then eventually to a climbing, technical single track. Try rock dodging larger obstacles or multiple obstacles in a row.
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!
Highly recommended! Essential riding skills are thoroughly broken down making them easy to understand and learn. Coach Richard and Kris...
Highly recommended! Essential riding skills are thoroughly broken down making them easy to understand and learn. Coach Richard and Kris are some of the most professional and pleasant coaches/cyclist/people I have come across. Looking forward to one of their future clinics. ~ Tom T.
This was awesome. Having someone dissect your riding into a few skills that you can focus on is a great...
This was awesome. Having someone dissect your riding into a few skills that you can focus on is a great starting point in order to make you faster. I’m sure everyone including myself experienced a positive feeling in how to improve from this point on. — Don’t expect to be a world champ after this clinic but to learn what and where and most importantly how to improve your trail riding from now on. Richard gives you the tools but you have to put in the work.” ~ Michael A.
I’ve immediately seen an improvement in my riding …
I took the skills camp at Mt Laguna last weekend – it was GREAT. Ok, so I was a bit...
I took the skills camp at Mt Laguna last weekend – it was GREAT. Ok, so I was a bit of a nervous wreck when I realized I was the least skilled in the group – but the instructors didn’t give up on me and gave me plenty of tips, positive reinforcement and new ways to think about my riding. At the end of the weekend, I felt that I had a better understanding how to ride better. I’ve immediately seen an improvement in my riding, am a lot less timid and am looking forward to taking another camp soon! ~Quan Campbell
The Ninja team (Richard & Aaron) were great instructors!
The Ninja team (Richard & Aaron) were great instructors! The training was in Soquel Demonstration Forest & being able take...
The Ninja team (Richard & Aaron) were great instructors! The training was in Soquel Demonstration Forest & being able take our time to session sections of Braille & Flow while having experts help fix any dysfunctions in our riding technique was priceless. I know I've always had to brake-check a lot before hitting the corners, but now I actually feel more planted while carrying more speed around the berms just w/ a slight change in hip position. I can't wait to actually hit Flow again at speed just to see how my time has improved. As for Braille, I know I need to session some of the jumps & drops a few more times before I hit them at speed (instead of bypassing around most of them as I have in the past) but now I should have the tools to know what I need to practice. Technical instruction aside, they also talked about efficient uphill pedaling, gearing choices as well as techniques to build up more mitochondria in your body... all stuff I'm interested in since I know I need to build up my climbing legs. ~Carlo F.
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.
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.