The iconic words of AC/DC ring true once again… “For Those About to Rock, We Salute You!” It’s on, you’ve got a date with destiny and it’s time to ride. But before you saddle up, you should develop your pre-ride routine to set the stage for your next great trail experience. Here are a few tips for getting your mind, body, and machine ready before you hit the trails!
1. Know Before You Go
Check the weather and have the right gear at the ready. If there’s a chance of rain or wind, you’ll be thankful you brought a jacket when the weather rolls in. If it’s going to be hot, some extra electrolytes will help you finish strong. If you’re riding a new trail, gather some beta from seasoned friends or a mountain bike trail app (we like Trailforks app and MTB Project) to wrap your head around what to expect on your ride.
2. Get That Mind Right
Take a few moments to think about what you’re looking forward to the most and visualize the ride delivering. But beware: disappointment happens when your expectations and reality don’t line up, so do yourself a favor and get them in harmony. Think about the skill level of your riding partner or group. Consider the trails and their current conditions. Take a minute to analyze your current state of mind & body. Then, set realistic goals for a killer ride with those ingredients.
3. Fuel It Up
Bonking sucks. That dreaded feeling when your energy level hits a wall, everything becomes way harder than it should, and it results in anything but fun. You can avoid this by getting some quality calories beforehand so you don’t rely entirely on those gels and bars. Also, drink plenty of water before your ride so you don’t blow through your supply in the first few miles.
4. Warm It Up
Do your body another huge favor and take a few minutes to stretch and warm up. Imagine enjoying the first mile of a ride instead of spending it stiffly working through kinks and wondering why you feel so out of shape. Try a sequence of lunges, forward bends, twists, and lean on your buddy for some quad stretches. Give the shoulders, arms, and hands a good stretch, and roll your head nice and slow to get the neck loosened up! Not only does this help you enjoy the beginning of the ride as much as the end, but it can help prevent injury (ain’t nobody got time for those).
5. Get it Right, Get it Tight
Mechanical issues are way easier to fix at the trailhead than on the trail. Give the bike a good wiggle and squeeze: start with the brakes, check the headset, squeeze the tires, make sure your dropper works, check the drivetrain, and see to it that your suspension is moving and there’s no strange sounds! (Psst.. here’s a full rundown of a bike check.) Take inventory and make sure you have all your spares, tools, snacks, and water that you’ll need before you hit the trail.
Get to the ride early. It’s easy to overlook something or skip your stretches if people are waiting for you and you’re in a rush. Once you know everything is good to go, get on your bike and play. Those few minutes before a ride are great for working on skills… try a track stand, then get some momentum and really exaggerate your bike/ body separation. Play games with the parking lot stripes by making a slalom course to practice cornering technique and then trying to turn around inside a parking space (both directions) without hitting the stripe. Got a curb? Practice some wheel lifts and drops. This warmup is a dynamic, fun, and effective way to develop skills and get the blood pumping before you start your ride!
Your body feels nimble, tires are topped off, brakes feel great, and everything is shifting crisp while your circle your friends like a shark. Everything about you is ready to ride thanks to your dialed pre-ride routine… now you get to reap the benefits. Get out there and RIDE!
I'm a road Triathlete that lucked into a XTERRA World Championship slot via the lottery last year. Being a road...
I'm a road Triathlete that lucked into a XTERRA World Championship slot via the lottery last year. Being a road triathlete, I had very little experience and no technical skills on a mountain bike. I took the Ninja beginner and then intermediate classes almost back to back. Richard is a great teacher, and taught the sequential skills that matter most. He does a great job of "breaking things down" with the what and the why, and illustrates the information well with his demonstrations, all the while, delivering it with a sense of humor and enthusiasm. Richard's instruction helped me successfully get through a very technical course in Maui without major injury! Yea, thank you Richard!!. Whether a complete beginner or an advanced rider, I promise you can take a lot away from his classes.... and, let's be honest ...Who doesn't want to be a Ninja! ~ Ray S.
Team Eastlake Cycling Team thank you for your time, energy and expertise…
I’ve been coaching road & track riding for years. Got into mtn bike riding because of the terrain near our...
I’ve been coaching road & track riding for years. Got into mtn bike riding because of the terrain near our home AND my daughters like to ride in the dirt. Took classes through the high school league to be more acquainted with the fundamentals skills and acquire more knowledge of the NICA league rules. Coach La China and staff broke down the skills for our team riders in a fun and engaging process. Team Eastlake Cycling Team thank you for your time, energy and expertise to bring our riders to a new level of confidence. ~Ron G.
I really enjoyed the Intermediate/Advanced clinic with Aaron in Palmer Park, Colorado Springs. Aaron made sure that every skill was...
I really enjoyed the Intermediate/Advanced clinic with Aaron in Palmer Park, Colorado Springs. Aaron made sure that every skill was practiced thoroughly. He was paying attention to every move and detail and was very patient. My riding has definitely improved since than and I have been practicing the skills a lot on single track. The best advice I received - visualize yourself doing it! I definitely recommend this class to bikers of all levels. ~Yana Brown
I consider myself a strong intermediate MTB rider; I love highly technical downhill single track trails. A friend suggested I...
I consider myself a strong intermediate MTB rider; I love highly technical downhill single track trails. A friend suggested I take a multi-day skills clinic to help get to the next level. After a brief search I found that Ninja Bike Skills 3 day skills clinic up in Big Bear CA. If you have never taken a class then the old adage "you don't know what you don't know" probably holds true; it did with me. While it the clinic started off simple, the skills taught build on one-another to ensure you have solid foundation basics needed to safely leverage the higher skill stuff taught at the back end of the class. Richard and Aaron brought two great perspectives as one is a XC/Edurance/Enduro rider and the other is dedicated to gravity downhill. The teaching style was simple and actionable. All the Ninja instructors are very knowledgeable and very passionate about MTB which is infectious and make the class fun. I would highly recommend to any level riders who have never had any instruction in MTB skills. Plus if you take the class at a place like Snow Summit Big Bear, you get to ride amazing trails!! ~Greg A.
Woohoo! As good as it gets is appropriate! Richard is not only a great rider, he is a great teacher!...
Woohoo! As good as it gets is appropriate! Richard is not only a great rider, he is a great teacher! I would encourage everyone to stay away from the mind trap that buying a more expensive mountain bike is what you need to ride better. Spend the money on lessons instead, and I know you will be happier (and safer) in the long run. I can't say enough positive things about the Bike Skills clinics. ~ Chris G.
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.