We aren’t usually in the business of offering relationship advice but when it comes to riding with your +1, we have a few suggestions to help you both start and finish your ride still smiling!
We understand that every (riding) relationship is different so think of these guidelines as a solid starting point. Ready to get shreddy? Let’s go…
Take a few minutes to gather your gear and get into the right mindset for your romp on the trails. You don’t want to show up unprepared – look over your bike, make sure you’ve got your fix a flat kit, fill up your water bottles, double check your tire pressure, lube your chain, and most importantly, take a deep breath. Don’t take yourself too seriously, this is supposed to be fun after all!
Okay, you are ready to ride.
2. Meet in the Middle
Pick a trail that you will both enjoy. The guidelines for riding with your partner aren’t all that different than the textbook relationship advice you’ve heard a hundred times – it’s all about compromise. Keep a nice pace that you can both sustain, ride a trail that is challenging but not over your heads and for goodness sake, spend some time actually riding together!
3. Get Up
Learning how to successfully get your partner to the top is a skilled art. If you are the stronger climber, swallow your pride and slow it down for a bit. If you are going stir crazy, have some fun with the slower pace (just keep it in your own head). Focus on perfecting your track stand on the climb or try to single-speed the climb (pick a gear and don’t shift).
On the flip side, if you are the slower climber, tell your partner your preferences and be honest. Want them to ride with you and chat on the climb? Tell them. Want them to ride ahead so you can sing out-loud unencumbered on the climb? Tell them. No need for mixed signals on the trail. Be clear and direct.
4. Get Down
Maybe you are a little faster than you partner and you really want to let loose on the downhill flow. Totally fair. What’s not fair is descending for 30 minutes at full speed and then complaining about having to wait 20 minutes for your partner to catch up. Instead, break up the descent into bite size pieces. Let loose for a section of the descent and then pull over and wait for your partner to catch up. Maybe let them lead one section of the descent before you take the lead again.
5. Fuel the Fire
No one likes a thirsty and/or hangry riding partner. Bring plenty of water and snacks. Learn your partner’s favorite trailside treat and bring it in your pack for a mid-ride surprise. My personal favorite riding pick me up? Chocolate covered espresso beans.
6. Keep it Fun
Assuming you aren’t training to win a national title, don’t take yourself too seriously. Stop and session challenging features together. Offer to spot your partner. Be patient. Don’t get frustrated with yourself or your partner on the trail. No one likes riding with a frustrated Debbie Downer.
7. Watch Your Words
Unless otherwise discussed, don’t try to coach your partner. Let a trained mountain bike therapist (Ninja Instructor) offer riding feedback. Trained professionals can help you navigate choppy skills. Whatever you do, don’t offer Bad Mountain Biking Advice!
8. Finish with a [insert favorite post-ride treat here]
End every ride with a good ol’ cheers. Maybe you cheers with water bottles in the parking lot or maybe it’s beers at the local brewery or better yet, a slice of pizza. Whatever you choose, take a moment to celebrate spending quality time together with your bike…I mean each other!
9. Seek Professional Help
If things have gotten rocky don’t be afraid to see the professionals. Join us for a Ninja camp or clinic so you can start speaking the same language and learn how to work through riding the rocks together. Make a weekend getaway out of it at one of our most buzzed about locations like Sedona, Kingdom Trails, or Bend to reignite that fire that got you riding together in the first place.
I would encourage anyone of any ability to take a class with these guys.
I recently attended one of the Intermediate/Advanced Efficiency and Flow clinics. Even though I have been riding for many years...
I recently attended one of the Intermediate/Advanced Efficiency and Flow clinics. Even though I have been riding for many years I learned a lot from this clinic. The techniques covered ranged from reviewing basic skills such as basic body position to practicing more advanced techniques like switchbacks, bunny hops, and cornering. I was able to recognize, get instruction, and practice some skills where I was weak and instantly improve them. Even skills I thought I was pretty good at I was able to pick up useful tips. I also realized that deliberate skills practice is not something I incorporate into my riding, but now that I understand what I should be doing I will make sure to add this in! After taking the course my comfort on the bike has improved and I am more aware of my body position and movement of the bike. I would encourage anyone of any ability to take a class with these guys. The instructors are knowledgeable and easy to work with. There is a lot of one on one help and they will make sure you understand the skills being taught and are able to perform them successfully. Plus the clinic was lots of fun! I highly recommend and hope to work with these guys again soon. ~ Michelle A.
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. ~Alexandra Rose Brysiewicz
Taken the 3 day Skills Camp out in Mulberry Gap GA. Outstanding weekend. We had a small group of about...
Taken the 3 day Skills Camp out in Mulberry Gap GA. Outstanding weekend. We had a small group of about 8 people with 3 Ninja Pro's. Richard and the instructors were attentive and always helpful. The course had you work on your base fundamentals, advanced skills, along with bike setup,maintenance, nutrition ,This was a very comprehensive course. After learning the skills, we'd hit the trails and the training didn't stop. Instructors would get to a technical portion of a trail and have us all stop and they would show us how to use the skills we just learned. Everyone learned at their own pace. So no one felt pressured to keep up with others. Having fun was always top priority. Arriving back home, I was practicing all the skills i've learned like an excited little kid with a new bike. I hope to take this course again when they come back to this side of the country -- it was well worth it! ~Vic D.
Enrolling in the Intermediate/Advanced clinic was the best thing I’ve ever done to improve my speed and ability on the bike.
Hands down, enrolling in the Intermediate/Advanced clinic was the best thing I've ever done to improve my speed and ability...
Hands down, enrolling in the Intermediate/Advanced clinic was the best thing I've ever done to improve my speed and ability on the bike. I am so much faster on singletrack and through technical sections/jumps that even if people are more fit than me, I still keep up with them (and kind of love watching them do a lot more work than they need to). Richard and Kris are fantastic and break things down in a way that makes sense and is manageable. By the end of my first clinic, I was jumping off ledges and power climbing up sections that I couldn't drive a car up. You could buy a $5,000 carbon bike and do 10,000 ft rides every day, but you will get the best return on any investment you make in your riding by attending a Ninja Skills Clinic. ~ Regina J.
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.