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!
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.
Good clinic. It was helpful to learn, practice with repetition and get critiqued by the coach all at once. I...
Good clinic. It was helpful to learn, practice with repetition and get critiqued by the coach all at once. I look forward to an intermediate level class! Thanks for doing this coach Richard! ~ Sally A.
The best money I’ve ever spent on mountain biking!
Just finished a two day skills workshop in Dallas. To say it was the best money I've ever spent on...
Just finished a two day skills workshop in Dallas. To say it was the best money I've ever spent on mountain biking would be an understatement. Our instructor was Aaron Lucy, a wonderful teacher and just a real pleasure to be around kind of guy. I highly recommend Ninja for anyone from novice to advanced riders as they cover just about anything and everything that will make you a more rounded rider. Thanks so much Aaron for all the advice and coaching! ~Mark Stewart
I'm a 63 y.o. Road and MTB cyclist. I've ridden mountain bikes since 1988. I really wish that I'd taken...
I'm a 63 y.o. Road and MTB cyclist. I've ridden mountain bikes since 1988. I really wish that I'd taken this course 25 years ago and I might have avoided some of the injuries I received over the years. I took only the morning first intro session at Phoenix and I learned a great deal in a short period of time. Richard is a very gifted cyclist and coach with excellent pedagogical skills. The class moved quickly, but covered all the appropriate details needed to handle a bike on technical trails. Richard had two local expert cyclists who demonstrated techniques while he provided a narrative and answered question. We had one relatively new rider who was very wary of some of the steeper, technical descents. By the end of the class, you could actually see a significant increase in her confidence using the skills acquired in the class. I'm looking forward to doing one of Ninja's camps and I hope they are able to expand their clinics to my area (Albuquerque, NM). William 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.