There’s a little town in the Utah desert that holds a special place in my heart, calling me to shred like some sort of religious pilgrimage. Behold: Moab, Utah. The red rock walls and the extra-terrestrial landscape of the trails will blow you away and cleanse your soul. Join Ninja for a riding adventure as we dial in our skills at this world class destination on the Colorado River. Here’s what you have to look forward to….
Skills At Work
Moab riding can get pretty rowdy, but with lots of riding areas of varying difficulty, you’ll be able to ride at your own pace. If you are new to the area, I recommend starting with the Moab Brand Trails or Klondike Bluffs before stepping up to Navajo Rocks or the Mag 7 riding areas. You’ll want to have your ready position dialed for everything these trails throw at you! There will be slabs, roots, rocks, ledges, and lots of opportunities to practice cornering. Moab is a great place to gain confidence in the both steep transitions and drops, as there are endless ledges of varying sizes. And don’t worry, your certified instructors will cover all of these skills in your 2-Day Ninja Clinic.
Line selection is one of our favorite things to teach in places like Moab. With the dynamic surfaces and features, there’s often several options that vary from smooth and fast to rowdy technical. As you learn more ways to tackle obstacles, you’ll truly appreciate the variety that Moab offers. Remember to keep those eyes up and read the trail ahead so you don’t got caught off-guard!
Finding Your Flavor
The majority of Moab trails are known as “stacked loop” systems. This means they’ll be set up in a series of mini loops kind of like warped clover leaves where they return to familiar spots and link back together. Even with good trail signage, you’ll want to have the Trailforks app ready (tip: download the Utah trails in advance). Always pack a spare tube, plenty of water and snacks, as well as first aid essentials. It’s much better to be prepared in case you are unexpectedly out longer than planned, or maybe you are just having so much fun you add an extra loop to the ride?
Each trail area has it’s own flavor that’s worth exploring. Surely you’ve heard of the famous Slickrock Trail, which has the largest dedicated trailhead parking lot in the nation. Our advice: just do the shorter practice loop at Slickrock, get some cool pictures, and then go to another area to get your shred on. There are a ton of trails that are easy to ride from town or the Lions parking area along the bike path, including one named Sidewinder that I’ll never forget! If you find yourself up on the mesa in the Mag 7 area, I love the loop that can be made by riding up Getaway and down Bull Run. The views are amazing and the riding itself is fantastic!
For the more adventurous intermediate to advanced riders, I suggest my favorite all-day adventure: a shuttle on the The Whole Enchilada. The season (and higher elevation snow levels) dictate exactly how far up you can shuttle, but riding any portion of this trail will prove to be one of the most iconic and memorable rides ever. Choose a comfy modern shuttle through the bike shops or get weird on a stretch VW bus experience with Coyote Shuttle. They’ll take you as high as they can, then it’s all (mostly) downhill from there to the river where you can park your car or pedal back into town. Do your homework and prep for a big day on this one. Bring layers as it’s typically cool at the start of the ride and gets warmer as you roll down towards town.
Bonus Epic: If you’re feeling particularly savage on your trip to Moab, check out Captain Ahab. It’s a glorious piece of trail art that will gladly dish up a serving of humble pie if you’re not respectful!
You can find plenty of entertainment once you’re worn out from riding in Moab. The river tours are a great way to see the canyon walls, and Arches National Park is just up the street (no mountain biking in the park – bring your walking shoes). If you enjoy hiking, I recommend checking out the Devil’s Garden route inside Arches.
There’s no shortage of quality meals in Moab. Eklectica Cafe and Love Muffin Cafe are both “musts” for breakfast and to-go lunches. Grab your afternoon snacks from Sweet Cravings and ice cream at Moab Garage Company. When happy hour and dinnertime rolls around, Moab Brewery serves up great food in a memorable setting. There’s great coffee everywhere, so make sure you always get a top off!
Camping Pro Tips
If you’re driving in from the east, don’t go all the way down the highway to 191. Instead, drop down to 128 and follow it along one of the most beautiful canyon roads you will ever see! As you get closer to town, you’ll start to see some campsites along the banks. These are BLM managed sites that have pay stations and only cost $10-$15 per night. You’ll need a check or cash if this is where you stay. If you want to camp for free, you’ll have to go north of town to Willow Springs Rd and find some dispersed camping.
Talk to the Experts
Be sure to drop by Chile Pepper Bike Shop or Poison Spider Bicycles to gather trail beta and line up shuttles. They both maintain a fantastic inventory of rental bikes and will surely have a shirt or hat that you can’t live without! And of course, join a Ninja clinic taught by a Certified Instructor to make sure you have all the necessary riding skills to tackle Moab’s terrain.
Chances are you’ve heard of Moab – I’m just here to remind you of the cannot-miss-epic-ness of this recreational destination. If you haven’t already made the pilgrimage, I urge you, there is no time like the present! And if you have ridden the area before, chances are, there are a few trails you haven’t checked off the bucket list just yet. Better get another trip on the books… check out our Upcoming Events!
He’s a wild man with a wild plan, living the nomad life as a skills instructor and trail builder. With a background in moto and 15 years of mtb experience, he has tips for riders of all levels! You can find him leading Ninja clinics all over the country and on Instagram @vitabrevis
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...
Ninja Mountain Bike Performance
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.
My 14 year old son and I (I'm 43) went to the Intermediate/advanced skills clinic at Malibu Creek State Park....
Ninja Mountain Bike Performance
My 14 year old son and I (I'm 43) went to the Intermediate/advanced skills clinic at Malibu Creek State Park. We both race and ride at a very fast pace. Getting faster for us is about making sure our fundamentals are solid and we can continue to use those fundamentals to smooth out our flow to increase our skills and confidence. Richard has a way of breaking down all the information to make it very understandable and usable. My son and I have been to other skills classes before and knew what to expect, mostly. Richard was able to coach us to better form riding high speed flat corners! We brushed up on and cleaned up some less helpful habits. We really worked to understand the how and why behind some skills that we already had but didn't know we that we did. All in all we had a blast! Richard was fun and informative. Taylor was helping Richard out for the day. It was fun to watch her demo some skills at speed. Her input throughout the day was informative and light hearted. It was a fun day on the bike with some great people and coaching. This will not be our last Ninja training clinic! Thanks for everything Richard and Taylor! ~Eric Zubick
I have, like many cyclists, been riding bikes since childhood. Feeling like I hit a plateau in my technical riding...
Ninja Mountain Bike Performance
I have, like many cyclists, been riding bikes since childhood. Feeling like I hit a plateau in my technical riding skills (because I had), I began searching for a mountain bike skills camp. I wanted to attend a camp that would push me to be a better rider, but I needed it to be in a great location on actual trails. After a fair amount of searching, I decided that spending a weekend at a Ninja Mountain Bike Skills camp would be perfect. It didn't hurt that the camp was in Big Bear. The condensed review: It took only a few hours of trail riding with Richard and Daniel to drastically change my riding for the better. The long review: The camp was broken into morning and afternoon sessions, separated by an amazing lunch on each day. The morning sessions were, in general, based on technique and riding isolated technical features. The afternoon sessions functioned more like a capstone; we rode incredible trails, like Fall Line and Skyline, and put our newly-learned skills into action. Richard and Daniel were attentive to both the class as a whole as well as each individual. The pacing of each individual lesson (I'm a teacher, so I viewed each piece as a lesson) was wonderful. There were constant checks for understanding as well as incremental assessments of our skills on the bike. We were never once, all weekend, bogged down in repetition, nor were we rushed through a skill or concept. I was blown away by the sheer volume of skills that were taught in such an easy-to-grasp manner. Of course, we were not standing by our bikes the whole time listening to a lecture: we were actively riding while Daniel and Richard looked on with critical eyes. Richard was clear in his introduction...
G2 Bike looks forward to many more of these clinics in this area.
Ninja Mountain Bike Skills is a warm and friendly environment to learn new skills and hone ones you already know....
Ninja Mountain Bike Performance
Ninja Mountain Bike Skills is a warm and friendly environment to learn new skills and hone ones you already know. It's a non intimidating environment where mistakes are welcomed so corrections can be made. I own G2 Bike is Aliso Viejo and this clinic has been ran out of the Aliso Woods area and when I interviewed the clients they had all but great things to say. None arrogant instructors and easy to follow steps. The biggest bang for many was meeting new area riders at their skill level, gaining confidence, and getting the bike set up and fit properly. G2 Bike looks forward to many more of these clinics in this area. Thanks Richard for all you do for the MTB community! ~ AJ S.
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.