Mountain Biking For Beginners: The Basic Guide

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Fiona Wozney


Fiona Wozney has been in the Global Tourism industry for over 30 years. Her dedication, commitment, and drive to be excellent in what she enjoys doing are evident in all the partners she has worked with, the staff she has mentored, and the clients she has brought a smile to. Beyond her enthusiasm for business, she has a great passion for traveling and embarking on unique, thrilling adventures. Fiona was born in Australia and currently lives in the United States with her husband and two lovely daughters.

NDL-thumbnail-Rear wheel of a mountain bike

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Riding a mountain bike for the first time is exciting but challenging, and you quickly discover it’s not as easy as it looks. However, you can employ specific techniques to make riding a mountain bike easier, safer, and more enjoyable.

They say that practice makes perfect, which is undoubtedly true when mountain bike riding. But beyond practice, the best way to learn how to ride a mountain bike is to read up on the techniques involved and develop a sense of confidence while on the bike. Armed with the information in this article, you will get to the stage where you are completely comfortable on the bike and even able to perform easy bike tricks.

Here’s an essential guide for learning mountain biking for beginners.

Basic Mountain Biking Techniques For Beginners

Body Position

One of the most crucial aspects of riding a mountain bike is your body position. Body position directly impacts the bike’s contact with the ground through the wheels. When you have the correct body position, it helps you maneuver the bike effectively and avoid obstacles.

When the trail is straight and flat, you will likely be seated, but as soon as the terrain becomes more challenging and bumpy, you should:

  • Stand on the pedals with your weight distributed evenly over both wheels.
  • Keep both feet at the same level when you’re not pedaling to avoid snagging on anything.
  • To absorb bumps, you should bend your arms and legs slightly at the elbows and knees.
  • Look as far ahead as possible.
  • Cover your brakes.


Everyone knows how to apply the brakes, but the talent lies in using that knowledge. Off-road riding is not as simple as braking anytime you desire. The easiest method to master this and other mountain biking techniques is to practice on a popular route so you can become familiar with how your brakes work, the effect they have on the handling of the bike, and when to apply them.

Here are some crucial factors to keep in mind:

  • Understand which brakes are front and which are rear and the way they affect the bike’s handling.
  • As a beginner, it is recommended to utilize both brakes simultaneously. Although it is also important that beginners learn to use the front and back brakes independently, so they know how the braking affects the bike’s handling.
  • Apply the brakes softly at first, and try to avoid applying them forcefully.
  • Learn how the bike reacts to different surfaces when the brakes are applied.


In the attack position, your weight is centered over the middle of the bike, thus increasing the traction of both the front and back wheels. As you ascend, you must change your body position to keep your weight centered.

Here are some things to remember:

  • As you mount your bicycle, you will need to move forward to keep your weight over the front wheel and maintain traction.
  • The extent to which you lean forward when ascending is determined by how steep the slope is. If you are climbing and see a slight lift in the front wheel, you’re not leaning forward enough.
  • It is also critical to be in a lower gear before beginning to climb. Look ahead and keep pedaling.


When the route begins to descend, you should make the following physical adjustments to negotiate the descent safely:

  • When riding a mountain bike downhill, you must keep your weight back.
  • Place your body weight on the back of the saddle with your arms extended, pedals level, brake fingers on the levers, and eyes forward.
  • If you must apply the brakes to slow down, remember to do it gradually.


Looking ahead when riding is one of the most manageable abilities to acquire and one of the easiest to lose. As you gaze around the corner, your head will turn, causing your shoulders to rotate. As your head and shoulders rotate, this will direct the handlebars and virtually guide the bike around the corner.

Tips For Mountain Biking

1. Relax

Mountain bikes are specifically designed to traverse challenging terrain. Keep your bottom off the saddle when traversing obstacles such as roots and rocks. As a newbie mountain biker, you must learn to let your bike do its job, which means maintaining a flexible physique so the bike can move beneath you.

2. Maintain Momentum

It may appear counterintuitive, but maintaining or increasing speed as the terrain becomes more challenging makes clearing difficult track sections easier since your bike has the momentum required to continue riding forward.

3. Shift Your Weight

You will encounter harsh terrain, including steep ascents and descents. When climbing a steep slope, move your weight forward and lean forward to preserve traction by keeping your center of gravity over the back wheel.

4. Reduce Your Use of the Brakes

The brakes on a mountain bike are so effective that you only need one or two fingers to regulate your speed. You will sometimes be tempted as a rookie mountain biker to grab both brakes and pull them with all your might. Resist this urge!

5. Direct Your Bike With Your Body Weight

Staring squarely at the rock you don’t want to strike will almost certainly cause you to collide with it. Remember that your bike goes in the direction your eyes direct.

6. Set Your Suspension

These days, even the most basic mountain bikes have a front suspension fork and, in most cases, a rear shock absorber as well. These are innovative technologies that practically eliminate large bumps, especially when doing some easy bike tricks.

Mountain Biking Etiquette

  • Greet other trail users. Whether by saying “Hello,” smiling, nodding, or waving. It’s just ordinary courtesy.
  • Acknowledge all signage. Some trails are specific with directions and will be marked as such.
  • Be involved. If you spend any length of time shredding your local trails, keep in mind that they were built and maintained by volunteers.
  • Preserve nature and the hiking trail. Please observe the “leave no trace” code of conduct and refrain from littering while riding.
  • Ride in control. As a general rule, it is prudent to assume someone is around the next blind corner.
  • Right of way. On a two-way trail, the uphill rider always has the right of way.
  • Be organized. It’s a good idea to familiarize yourself with the trail area you intend to ride, so you know of trail closures, animal alerts, and the weather.


Choosing a sport or hobby that helps you productively spend your spare time is a brilliant idea. However, the many alternatives can make it challenging to determine which sport is best for you. If you loved riding a bike as a kid, you can try mountain biking as an adult. Now, you might ask, “is mountain biking hard?” The answer to that is a big NO; with the right techniques and tips, as mentioned above, mountain biking as a beginner would be as easy as a walk in the park.

Enjoy Mountain Biking At New Denver Lodge.

Now that you know all the tips and techniques regarding mountain biking for beginners, it’s time to try it out during your travel getaway at New Denver Lodge. With its breathtaking scenery and complete amenities, riding as a beginner or a pro in this environment is something you may never forget. Book now and enjoy a mountain bike ride in the great American outdoors!


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June Special - Stay 3 pay 2 nights. Valid only until June 18.