Looking for ways to stimulate your riding experience during quarantine? Today we’ve got a plan for creating your very own Mountain Biking Stimulus Package.
Mountain Biking Stimulus Package [noun], defined as:
A set of actions by a mountain biker that is intended to encourage improved biking experience and/or improved skills.
Investing a little right now can lead to some big rewards for when it’s time to get back out on your favorite trails in the not too distant future. Check out our tips for giving your ride a boost right now – including a few low and no-cost ideas!
1) Tune It Up
Now is a great time to consider a complete tune-up which might include servicing your brakes, drivetrain and suspension, replacing tire sealant, inspecting bolts, greasing pivot points and whole lot more. If you aren’t ready to do a complete overhaul, start with your brakes and drivetrain. Since shifting and stopping are pretty darn important, properly functioning brakes and a properly functioning drive train should be top of the tune-up priority list. When it comes to a tune-up, you can do it yourself or leave it to the experts.
Looking to do a bike tune-up yourself? Whatever it is you want to work on – there’s a video for that! You can explore the world of DIY guides available online. SRAM offers an entire database of how-to videos here. Now is the perfect time to learn some wrenching skills. Fair warning, though: the experts at your shop have all the right tools and knowledge to get it perfect if you don’t feel entirely confident!
Want to leave the tune-up for the experts? Many bike shops are still offering service with curbside pickup to maintain social distancing. Some are even offering delivery and pickup – making it extra easy to get everything rolling!
2) Inspect for Wear and Tear
Many bike components are designed to wear out over time. For example, brake pads and rotors need to be replaced on occasion. If you aren’t doing a full service, take a minute to inspect your bike for wear. Pads can be visually inspected, and rotor thickness can be measured with a set of calipers. No time like the present to learn the difference between pad types and rotor sizes! Next, check your drivetrain: the chainring, chain, and cassette will all wear with time. You can use online videos to determine when it’s time to replace them, or have your shop inspect them with the proper tools and gauges.
3) Time to Re-tire
Tires are where the bike interacts with the riding surface, so new tires can be a huge upgrade to your riding experience! With so many options and technologies, researching the differences and intended uses would be time well spent. Educate yourself on the various sidewalls, tread patterns, and compounds so you can have full confidence in your selection. If you haven’t already, now is a great time to go tubeless. Once again, you can have your shop perform this task or give it a go on your own!
Ninja Tip – Did you know your tires can tell you a lot about your cornering skills? Advanced cornering requires you to use the knobs on the side of your tire. No wear or dirt on your side knobs? May we suggest you join us for an Intermediate/ Advanced clinic to work on your high speed cornering?
4) Update Contact Points
You can boost your comfort and control by upgrading the contact points of your riding setup – grips, saddle, pedals, and/or shoes. Did you know there are all kinds of saddle designs, widths, and adjustments? No two bums are the same – one saddle does NOT fit all.
The same is true for grips – different grips can have a big impact on your comfort. You’ll be amazed at how these small component changes can make aches and pains disappear, letting you ride longer and have more fun! Stimulate your riding by upgrading your contact points.
5) Invest in Yourself
One of the most important things you can do to stimulate your riding is to practice, practice, practice those skills! Even if you aren’t able to ride trails right now, you can still invest in your skills by practicing in your living room, in your backyard, or in the grassy field down the street. Looking for a guide to help you with your at-home skills practice? Our friends at Ryan Leech Connection are offering friends of Ninja (that’s you!) a FREE 30 day trial of their online mountain bike coaching platform. You can read more and get signed up here!
Looking for an easy way to improve your riding skills from the comfort of your couch? Ninja offers dozens of free skills articles that break down skills into step-by-step progressions. You can find our library of articles here – don’t forget to bring the popcorn!
What things are you adding to your Mountain Biking Stimulus Package? Leave a comment and let us know! We hope that you emerge from this time with more knowledge, perhaps some new skills, and a bike that is ready to shred! We look forward to getting back on the trails with you very soon.
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
I felt so confident that I recently signed up for the Catalina MTB Gran Fondo!
I participated in the beginner skill clinic at Malibu Creek last Saturday, because I'm truly a beginner who couldn't stop...
Ninja Mountain Bike Performance
I participated in the beginner skill clinic at Malibu Creek last Saturday, because I'm truly a beginner who couldn't stop falling down during each mtb ride. The class was small and super fun...and the instructors (Richard and Kris) were informative and dynamic. The clinic was small enough for each member to practice each learned skill and receive immediate feedback. I learned many new skills on that day and felt much more confident with my bike-body connection. I felt so confident that I recently signed up for the Catalina MTB Gran Fondo...the 55 mile route! Woohooo!! The next day, as I was road biking (training for the Solvang Double Century), I dodged a bullet on the Snake/Mulholland by applying my learned mtb skills--a long towing truck went over almost half of our lane on a blind turn as we were descending. Instead of fixating on the truck, I remembered the importance of looking for a clear path and keeping my eyes on where I want to go....Now I understand what people meant when they said that mtb will help improve my road riding skills too! I'm grateful for the opportunity to learn, and I look forward to the next clinic! ~ Uyen N.
I was so happy I could transfer what I learned in Sedona to my own trails.
I just rode on my local trails today after taking the Ninja clinic in Sedona. I was so happy I...
Ninja Mountain Bike Performance
I just rode on my local trails today after taking the Ninja clinic in Sedona. I was so happy I could transfer what I learned in Sedona to my own trails. There is one drop and one off camber downhill section I never have had the courage or skill to ride until today. It was so fun to ride them and not get off and walk. Richard La China and Courtney Cowan were fantastic instructors. Not only did I up my technical skills in Sedona it was also a ton of fun! ~Patty Elliott
Took the mini clinic on jumping skills because I can't resist the urge to get in the air even though...
Ninja Mountain Bike Performance
Took the mini clinic on jumping skills because I can't resist the urge to get in the air even though I always knew I didn't really understand the mechanics of it, so it was a kind of "huck and hope" affair. The result was that I didn't land about 1 in 5 attempts. The clinic with Aaron was great! He explained the mechanics of how the bike is handled coming into, through and out of the jump and starts with individual small skills progressing step by step in a very manageable way (even for me, and I started this stuff at 45 and I'm not very coordinated). What I feel sets Aaron apart is his ability to communicate his explanations and demonstrate movements in a way that makes them easy to learn even for someone with little experience. He is also very patient and encouraging, which helps when one is starting out and struggling a little with some movements. I definitely intend to do more clinics with Ninja MBS. I feel like it will save me a lot of time and frustration as well as possibly a lot of money in medical bills! ~Jill M.
I would encourage anyone of any ability to take a class with these guys.
I recently attended one of the Intermediate/Advanced Efficiency and Flow clinics. Even though I have been riding for many years...
Ninja Mountain Bike Performance
I recently attended one of the Intermediate/Advanced Efficiency and Flow clinics. Even though I have been riding for many years I learned a lot from this clinic. The techniques covered ranged from reviewing basic skills such as basic body position to practicing more advanced techniques like switchbacks, bunny hops, and cornering. I was able to recognize, get instruction, and practice some skills where I was weak and instantly improve them. Even skills I thought I was pretty good at I was able to pick up useful tips. I also realized that deliberate skills practice is not something I incorporate into my riding, but now that I understand what I should be doing I will make sure to add this in! After taking the course my comfort on the bike has improved and I am more aware of my body position and movement of the bike. I would encourage anyone of any ability to take a class with these guys. The instructors are knowledgeable and easy to work with. There is a lot of one on one help and they will make sure you understand the skills being taught and are able to perform them successfully. Plus the clinic was lots of fun! I highly recommend and hope to work with these guys again soon. ~ Michelle A.
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.