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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jul 2012
    Location
    Houston
    Posts
    51

    Trying to get into MTB

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    Mountain Biking and I have a troubled past, I tried to get into it about 5 years ago on a borrowed bike who's chain kept coming off. We parted on bad terms after I fell off and cracked three ribs on about my 4th ride. I haven't spoken to mountain biking since.

    However, my boyfriend has just convinced me to give it another shot. I'm a better road cyclist then I was 5 years ago and understand much more about bike balance, shifting, etc. For the time being he's lending me his bike since he just ordered himself a new mountain bike. We talked about it last night and think it will hopefully fit me as I'm 5'9" and he's 6'.

    What do I need to know, what advice does everyone have? I'd like to be able to do this with him on occasion although I suspect that the road will continue to comprise most of my saddle time. I am looking forward to increasing my bike skills.
    2005 Specialized Roubaix

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jul 2012
    Location
    Houston
    Posts
    1,301
    I'd take the bike to a shop to get fitted first. It's amazing how much difference that makes as far as comfort goes. My second suggestion is to start with the easy trails, Houston has several, and build your skills and confidence.

    That's my .02 as a total newbie. My partner jumped in with both feet and has far exceeded me with skills, but she's also far exceeded me with injuries. My personal motto is slow and sure wins the race.

    Now the people who actually know something can offer better advice
    2012 Jamis Quest Brooks B17 Blue
    2012 Jamis Dakar XC Comp SI Ldy Gel
    2013 Electra Verse

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jul 2012
    Location
    Houston
    Posts
    51
    My boyfriend is the main fitter at my LBS so I think he'll be able to get the bike fit to me. I haven't let him fit me to a bike before, usually preferring to go see a lady fitter that I love at another LBS for any road bike fit issues, but I think for just starting out he should be able to get me close enough on his bike. I'm guessing he's going to move the saddle to his new bike, as well as his pedals so I guess I'll have to pick up new ones of those. I probably wouldn't like his saddle anyhow.
    2005 Specialized Roubaix

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Sep 2006
    Location
    Central Indiana
    Posts
    6,034
    My advice is to find a local mtb clinic or skills course if you can. Even if you have to travel a bit to find one, I think it's worth it. Certainly, some learn just fine from a significant other, but if your experience ends up being like mine, it can turn pretty tense, too. My husband "knows" how to mountain bike, but that doesn't mean he can break down the skills for a new rider or is otherwise using the best technique. And certainly, some people are self taught, but that road is often paved in needless frustration and injury. The best way to learn, IMO, is from a trained instructor. Even if all you cover the basics, they'll get you headed in the right direction.
    Live with intention. Walk to the edge. Listen hard. Practice wellness. Play with abandon. Laugh. Choose with no regret. Continue to learn. Appreciate your friends. Do what you love. Live as if this is all there is.

    --Mary Anne Radmacher

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jul 2012
    Location
    Houston
    Posts
    51
    Thanks Indy, I've been thinking this as well. I've had bad experiences learning other things from SO's in the past so I don't think I'm going to let him be my only source of instruction. Thekarens has luckily pointed me in the right direction in our area for a beginner skills clinic, but I already have plans that day. I'll keep my eyes open for more oppertunities.
    2005 Specialized Roubaix

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Nov 2002
    Location
    the dry side
    Posts
    4,365
    First of all I would have someone other that your BF asses the fit of his loaner. Having coached many women over the years, I have seen so much frustration because someone was on a bike that was too big or too small to start with. I get not buying a new bike; just make sure it fits.
    Here are my other recommendations:
    Skip the clipless shoe/pedal combination. The new mountain biking shoes with sticky soles work so well that there's no reason that you should use clipless. You will be much more confident if you can put a foot down any time you want.

    Basic skills: Now I don't know what kind of a guy BF is. Some guys are great teachers, others are more of the "don't grab your front brake and just point it down the hill" type. There are a few basic skills that will really make a difference for a beginner.
    -Braking: how to do one finger braking, feathering and using modulation (gentle squeezing)
    Basic Body Position: is NOT sitting on the saddle. Mountain biking is very dynamic and involves being loose, moving with the bike and terrain, and changing your center of gravity. This video here,
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tAkB...M&feature=plcp is excellent instruction in body position basics. Don't let the big bikes or big air in the into scare you - what they teach in the video is the very basis for all successful mountain biking.
    -last but least, you might look for a basic skills clinic. I cannot underscore the foundational skills for mountain biking success.

    I.
    2015 Liv Intrigue 2
    Pro Mongoose Titanium Singlespeed
    2012 Trek Madone 4.6 Compact SRAM

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jul 2012
    Location
    Houston
    Posts
    51
    Irulan, I hadn't even thought of skipping clipless. I'm so used to it on the road bike that I just assumed it would be better on the MTB too. It makes sense though, one less thing to have to worry about while learning, and I can always put clipless on later. Thanks for the video
    2005 Specialized Roubaix

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Nov 2002
    Location
    the dry side
    Posts
    4,365
    I rode clips with MTB for years. The thinking is changing, mainly because of new material out there. All the professional mountain bike coaches I work with ( I'm a volunteer) gave them up. Especially for beginners, it's just one less thing to think about. Many racers still use them.
    2015 Liv Intrigue 2
    Pro Mongoose Titanium Singlespeed
    2012 Trek Madone 4.6 Compact SRAM

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jul 2012
    Location
    Houston
    Posts
    1,301

    Re: Trying to get into MTB

    Quote Originally Posted by Irulan View Post
    I rode clips with MTB for years. The thinking is changing, mainly because of new material out there. All the professional mountain bike coaches I work with ( I'm a volunteer) gave them up. Especially for beginners, it's just one less thing to think about. Many racers still use them.
    Plus one on this. I know for me just knowing I can put a foot down if I need to boosts my confidence 100%.
    2012 Jamis Quest Brooks B17 Blue
    2012 Jamis Dakar XC Comp SI Ldy Gel
    2013 Electra Verse

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Jul 2012
    Location
    Houston
    Posts
    1,301
    Quote Originally Posted by Irulan View Post
    I rode clips with MTB for years. The thinking is changing, mainly because of new material out there. All the professional mountain bike coaches I work with ( I'm a volunteer) gave them up. Especially for beginners, it's just one less thing to think about. Many racers still use them.
    Not to hijack this thread, but Irulan, can you recommend a brand(s) that would be good to check out for women. I know there are several mountain bike platform shoes to choose from, just not sure where to start.
    2012 Jamis Quest Brooks B17 Blue
    2012 Jamis Dakar XC Comp SI Ldy Gel
    2013 Electra Verse

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Nov 2002
    Location
    the dry side
    Posts
    4,365
    Ugh. It will all depend on what your foot fits.
    The "standard" that everyone goes by is the 5-10 line, Impacts and Karvers. Those are too wide for me, , even the women's.
    Teva Links
    Adidas
    and there are some others, Vans etc.
    Mainly you want a stiff, sticky sole.
    I just purchased some Teva Links, in a kids 6.5 because I have a narrow small foot. Zappos and Shoebuy.com will be your friend if no one carries these kinds of shoes locally.
    Last edited by Irulan; 11-02-2012 at 09:13 AM.
    2015 Liv Intrigue 2
    Pro Mongoose Titanium Singlespeed
    2012 Trek Madone 4.6 Compact SRAM

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Jul 2012
    Location
    Houston
    Posts
    1,301

    Re: Trying to get into MTB

    I also have to super narrow feet, but long. My running shoes are a 9.
    2012 Jamis Quest Brooks B17 Blue
    2012 Jamis Dakar XC Comp SI Ldy Gel
    2013 Electra Verse

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Nov 2002
    Location
    the dry side
    Posts
    4,365
    Narrow? I'd start with a Teva links, or 5-10 Guide Tennie ( approach shoe)
    2015 Liv Intrigue 2
    Pro Mongoose Titanium Singlespeed
    2012 Trek Madone 4.6 Compact SRAM

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Sep 2006
    Location
    Central Indiana
    Posts
    6,034
    I am currently using the 5 10 Impact shoes with Straighline AMP pedals FWIW. I also tried the Guide Tennies, but liked the fit of the Impacts a bit better. Sizing is a bit weird though. I'd suggest ordered from a place like Zappos where shipping and returns are free. You might have to take a few stabs at it before you find a pair that fits. When I first started, I used regular hiking shoes and the pedals that came on the bike. Not ideal, but it didn't hold me back from getting started. I do not wear shin protectors, although a lot of people who use bmx type platforms do. I've yet to tag myself in the shin, although I'm sure it's just a matter of time.
    Live with intention. Walk to the edge. Listen hard. Practice wellness. Play with abandon. Laugh. Choose with no regret. Continue to learn. Appreciate your friends. Do what you love. Live as if this is all there is.

    --Mary Anne Radmacher

  15. #15
    Join Date
    Nov 2002
    Location
    the dry side
    Posts
    4,365
    What she said. As I had no shoe options in town, I mailed ordered 7 pairs of shoes.... sent six back. Our local climbing shop did have the guide tennies, but I wanted to see if I could find mtb specific first.
    2015 Liv Intrigue 2
    Pro Mongoose Titanium Singlespeed
    2012 Trek Madone 4.6 Compact SRAM

 

 

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