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!
I attended an intermediate skill clinic last year and had an awesome time. My riding improved instantly and I have...
I attended an intermediate skill clinic last year and had an awesome time. My riding improved instantly and I have really enjoyed the increased confidence jumping my bike over obstacles. My muscle memory takes a while to kick in and Coach Richard and his crew of master Ninjas were really patient with me. I even got some bonus education on climbing faster during one of our warm-up laps! Even though I have been riding for years I learned something new with every skill taught. The clinic was worth every penny and I will be signing up for an advanced one this summer. ~Michael W.
Went to the beginner Ninja clinic at Alison. Richard and Kristen were awesome! We all got the opportunity to work...
Went to the beginner Ninja clinic at Alison. Richard and Kristen were awesome! We all got the opportunity to work on improving our skills with their feedback. Next time I would definitely do the intermediate clinic or do a one-on-one session. Richard is super patient and provides great feedback and riding tips. ~ Lisa D.
My speed and confidence going down steep descents have been SIGNIFICANTLY improved!
I just had my first race (XC endurance) since I did the camp and both my speed and confidence going...
I just had my first race (XC endurance) since I did the camp and both my speed and confidence going down steep descents have been SIGNIFICANTLY improved. I would not have attempted 50% of the drops and jumps on the course prior to participating in the clinic, and my overall time would have been much slower. The first two hours of the class (int/adv Sedona) made the whole thing more than worth it, and the rest of the two days seemed like a bonus. Both Courtney and Richard were encouraging and patient, and both had that classic mountain biker charm and humor ready when the moment called for it. Overall a very enjoyable and valuable weekend. For reference, I participate in amateur XC endurance races (with no hope of ever coming close to winning anything) and have been riding for about two years. I was worried before taking the class that I would not be skilled enough, but the int/adv was appropriate for my skill level. If you're worried, just go for it anyway. There is a good mix of people and everyone was very friendly! ~Alana Bencivengo
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. ~Heather B.
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.