The question is, what is the best way to get your mate, other half, or family into mountain biking? The simple answer is, make it fun. A good time is not always just getting them to follow you down your favorite trail because I can almost guarantee that they will not have the same skills as you. All too often we hear “if you’re not crashing, you’re not going hard enough!” This is what scares a lot of people off and in turn, makes them think we’re all a bit nuts. Here are a few simple tips to hook your mates on riding bikes.
The five biggest mistakes that people make when introducing others to mountain biking
Giving them the crappy bike
Chances are you quite like riding bikes. So your bike is pretty nice right? There is no way that your mates bike that has just been sitting in the shed for a couple years without the tires hitting the pavement let alone the dirt even compares to your rig. So remember this as you plan your ride. You will probably need some tools to make sure that it is in working order from the carpark, that you can set it up for this off-road stuff, and fix any problems that they might have out on the trail. Or if you’re really keen to ensure they have a good time, put them on your bike and you take the old dunga for a rip. Just make sure you show them how those 4-poc brakes work! To make life easier, get in touch with us and check out our bike rental in Rotorua. We’ll have them on a decent rig!
Being too serious
Your mate probably thinks that you’re pretty hard core already so you probably don’t need to show off and start pulling out bits of gear that they didn’t even know existed. Keep it simple, just wear the bare minimum, clean your knee pads and gloves and offer them to your mate. If you’re wearing them and they don’t have any, you’re going to freak them out and you haven’t even left the carpark!
So just chill. Plan for a short ride. Think about what you were like the very first time you went riding. For some of us this is hard to do because we’ve been riding our whole lives. Keep it casual. Stop for heaps of yarns because you can guarantee that they are experiencing sensory overload and they are going to have questions!
Taking them on your favorite trail
Here’s the secret, your favorite trail is just that because it is perfectly aimed at you and your ability. It is just the right amount of challenge to have you fully engaged. Throw a beginner in the mix and play the “She’ll be ‘right” card and you are rolling the dice whether they have any fun at all, or they just end up taking their bike for a walk. This is where you need to think about the things that make mountain biking fun for you, then make it easy for them. Because at the end of the day, they are going to think you’re an animal even if you just take them on the kids trails. This ride is all about them, so pick a trail that is simple, flowy, beautiful, and is easy to control their speed. Leave the hard core shit for another couple months down the track when they are chomping at the bit for more! If they are keen for more, get them into a mountain biking skills clinic – we know a few people who can help out there 🙂
Forgetting about the fitness barrier
As mountain bikers, we are used to sitting on that saddle, and pedaling to the top of a hill so that we can stand up all the way back down. If you’re not a road cyclist and a skier, you mate probably isn’t used to using those muscles that they didn’t even know about. Pick a place to take them that has little climbs, with nice flowy descents. Don’t be afraid to do the same trail a couple of times if they love it. This is a good thing because they will also get to know it a bit more and it will boost their confidence!
Over complicating things
Some times it’s hard to hold information back. As a result, we can easily over complicate a very simple thing. After all, it’s just riding bikes. Give tips but pick one thing at a time to work on. Like sitting down when you go uphill, keeping your pedals even when going down hill, help them control their speed by going slowly when you know a corner is coming up… If you try to over explain things in the beginning, your mate is going to have too much to think about and it will all go in one ear and straight out the other! Let them know the character of the trail, that you will stop and the big feature so they can have a look if they want, and that you promise to wait for them at any junctions.
If you do your job right, they will be like this guy… Addicted!