Thinking about getting into mountain biking, but coming up with all sorts of reasons why you can’t? Or maybe you have a friend that is full of excuses for why they don’t want to try mountain biking? Here are 5 of the most common excuses (and my responses).
1. That bike costs how much!?
Yes, if I’m being honest, my mountain bike costs more than my car. But wait, hear me out! You don’t need to take out a loan and you don’t need to have a top end (or top price) bike to get started.
I recommend first time bike buyers start by investing in a quality bike frame with decent components and over time, upgrade to better components (wheels, tires, rotors, brakes). Or, consider buying a used bike. If you’re totally new to riding, demo a bike from your local shop to figure out what you do and don’t like before dropping the cash. You can find more Ninja tips on finding the right bike here.
2. I’m too out of shape. I can’t breathe!
Mountain biking is an entirely unique type of cardiovascular activity and it will take time for your body to adjust. Don’t worry – we’ve all been there and it gets easier! People of any fitness level can start mountain biking (really) and with a bit of patience and consistency, you’ll be surprised how quickly you’re pedaling up the mountain and holding down a conversation. Check your ego at the parking lot and give yourself permission to take it slow, rest when you need to, and push again when you feel up to it.
I recommend finding a short local trail that you can ride consistently. By riding the same stretch of trail, you can track your progress and celebrate your improvements!
3. I’m going to get hurt. Mountain biking is dangerous!
You don’t need to be throwing yourself down a rocky chute when you first start mountain biking. Mountain biking does NOT have to be scary! The best way to avoid injury? Take a skills clinic and ride within your limits. If you are riding with good form and a solid foundation of skills, you can gradually build up to more technical terrain without hurting yourself.
If you try to learn on your own without a good understanding of those foundational skills – How do my brakes work? What is the proper body positioning? Should I be seated or standing on the bike? How do I get over that stick on the trail? – you can easily get yourself in trouble. Working with a certified mountain bike instructor will help you to gain an understanding of these foundational skills, help you establish your riding limits and avoid unnecessary injuries.
4. I have no one to ride with!
There are so many easy solutions to this one. Here are a few:
Show up to a Ninja skills clinic and make some new riding friends!
You don’t have to be doing long, epic trail rides to get into mountain biking and you don’t have to ride 6 days a week to call yourself a mountain biker. Set a goal to ride your bike twice a week – one short weekday ride and one long(er) weekend ride.
Feeling good with 2 rides per week? Great, now start building in a weekday skills session in your driveway (checkout these 8 Moves to Master Anywhere) and/or hit the gym for a little strength training to give your pedal stroke more power!
Before long your love for mountain biking will blossom and you’ll quit your job, move into a van and start posting your ride videos to youtube! …or maybe you’ll just find it easy to make time for riding when it’s something that brings you joy.
Trying something new can be intimidating and changing up your routine is never easy, but it can be both fun and rewarding. Give yourself a chance to feel like a kid again, throw your excuses out the window, and hit the trail!
This past fall I finally broke down and upgrade my mountain bike. I was riding a hard tail bike mostly...
This past fall I finally broke down and upgrade my mountain bike. I was riding a hard tail bike mostly for the workout. After racing in an Xterra, I realized that a new bike was in my future. ( I could tell a huge story about the process of purchasing a new MB and the massive amount of miss information you can obtain from bike shops. Especially when you know nothing about bikes. ) Not long after I purchased the new MB, I had my first over the handle bars wreck. I still cannot remember the actual crash. I can see the rut that I am about to hit on the downhill, and then I remember waking up on the trail barely able to breath. The crash gave me some time to catch up on email. One of those emails was a beginners MB clinic hosted by Richard and the Ride Like a Ninja crew. I swallowed my pride and signed up. To date I have done everything I was taught. I made every adjustment to my bike that was recommended. I then had the bike fitted. The skills taught that day are priceless to me. For the first time I understand what position my body needs to be in for each type of terrain. I am not perfect by any means, but in my mind I am shouting the word NINJA to remind myself. I practice the techniques ever time I ride. ~ Hal N.
I have been riding for 1.5 years and still have a lot to learn but Richard and the team are...
I have been riding for 1.5 years and still have a lot to learn but Richard and the team are great teachers. I have been a bit apprehensive about jumping in the past but after two days of instruction with Richard, Aaron, Daniel, Ivan, and Erin I feel much more confident and won't be afraid to take on jumps anymore. The instructor staff are all very experienced riders and it showed. They are all also very friendly and most importantly patient. They aren't afraid to share stories of their mistakes while trying to explain why not to do things a certain way. You truly are part of the Team Ninja family when you are at the classes and I can't wait to go back to another class! Thank you Richard and all of the other instructors. ~Jonathan R
We attended the 2-Day Mountain Bike Skills Camp in Denver CO. I'm a beginner to mountain biking and the class...
We attended the 2-Day Mountain Bike Skills Camp in Denver CO. I'm a beginner to mountain biking and the class exceeded my expectations. The first day was basic fundamental training from bunny hops to cornering your bike. The second day we put those skills to the test by climbing and downhill at all different skill levels, Richard and Aaron even took video to help improve our skills. Well worth your time if you want to improve! ~Russ Anderson
Highly recommend this class for all ages/skills. I will definitely be taking more classes!
Great class! I wish I took this class seven yrs ago when I started mountain biking. Richard and his team...
Great class! I wish I took this class seven yrs ago when I started mountain biking. Richard and his team was awesome. I learned how to approach uphill switchbacks, how to "pre-turn", and most important, how to descend with confidence. Bottom line: I am more efficient and safer rider. As another review said, "best money spent on mountain biking." You can have an expensive bike, but if you don't know how to ride, what's the point? Highly recommend this class for all ages/skills. I will definitely be taking more classes! ~Rean
Everything you need to learn to fully enjoy mountain biking.
Mountain biking is a relatively new sport compared to road biking. So the opportunities to find a good mountain biking...
Mountain biking is a relatively new sport compared to road biking. So the opportunities to find a good mountain biking skill clinic are quite scarce. Richard La China and his team offer such clinic! Richard has the training as a Coach from USA Cycling and the experience as an expert racer to develop in you the skills and therefore the confidence to negotiate the treacherous obstacles on your path as a mountain biker. His clinic has several levels from beginner to expert and is organized incrementally to facilitate the learning of more and more difficult skills. In addition to his and his expert team's demonstrations, I also like his verbal explanations about the why of a specific position or skill to have. Richard and his team have the dedication and patience to teach you anything you need to learn to fully enjoy mountain biking. ~ Anne-Catherine
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.