Imagine trying to hike 10-20 miles everyday for a week? That is a huge effort, but a mountain bike will make that a more enjoyable experience. Most of these trails are accessible from town and a mountain bike can save you from needing a parking spot at the crowded trail head parking lots. Although Sedona offers trails for all levels, the majority of these trails are upper intermediate level (subjective to your riding experience). In order to cover all this ground and navigate the technical red rocks, here’s some trail riding mountain bike tips!
How to Improve Mountain Bike Skills for Riding in Sedona, AZ
Mountain bike technique can be easier than you think. Even if you primarily ride road bikes, mountain biking is overall safer than it looks. Beginner tips for Sedona mountain biking are centered around staying safely on the trail, riding efficiently, and gaining overall balance on the bike. These are the skills that will allow you to crash less and ride longer, making mountain biking more enjoyable. Advanced mountain biking tips revolve around finer details like bike setup, looking further ahead, pumping the terrain, jumping or hopping over trail obstacles, etc. No matter what level you’re at, here’s a list we can all relate to.
Choose the Correct Bike for You
Believe it or not, having the correct bike makes a huge difference! At Thunder Mountain Bikes, we hear many people say they don’t need a full suspension bike since they’re not doing anything extreme. Or, that they feel they’re not good enough to need a full suspension mountain bike. In reality, trying to ride the rocky terrain of Sedona with an old bike - with small tires, old brakes, and limited suspension - will only make your mountain bike experience worse and leave you feeling like you can’t do it. It’s like taking a sedan to a Jeep trail. If you don’t have a newer style mountain bike or need help with bike sizing, we highly recommend visiting the Sedona bike shops. Thunder Mountain Bikes has the best selection of Sedona mountain bike rentals, it’s the best way to try out a few great mountain bikes without having to commit to purchasing one for thousands of dollars.
Look Where You Want to Go
Perhaps the all-time best MTB tips and techniques are simply just to look where you want to go. While this sounds obvious, it’s much harder to do on the trail. Rocks, cactus, trees, ruts, corners, loose dirt, mud, roots, etc….. It's easy for your eyes to get fixated on these objects while riding, and before you know it you’ll end up heading directly into these objects or freezing up at the last second and crashing or skidding off the trail. Especially in Sedona, where there are so many rocks in the trail, looking ahead is crucial. Always remind yourself to look ahead while riding, and you’ll be amazed at how you and a proper mountain bike can navigate through the red rocks of Sedona.
Relaxing may sound like the opposite of mountain biking, but it's actually a key to success. If you’re riding tense or your arms are locked up, it limits your ability to handle and move with the bike. As they say, be one with your bike! Becoming as stiff as a board is a natural reaction when pushing the limits of your comfort zone. Some mountain bike tips to stay loose include keeping your chin up to look ahead, keeping your body centered over the bike, and keeping your elbows and knees bent rather than locked out. And going back to having a proper mountain bike, using that full suspension and dropper post can greatly help you stay relaxed and keep your body in the right position.
Know Your Brakes
Mountain bike brakes have come a long way over the years, with hydraulic disc brakes now being the norm. The amount of braking power generated from the pull of a single finger is amazing. Older brakes, like cantilever and v brakes, take twice the effort to pull with half the power. As you can imagine, this won’t help you stay relaxed or help you look ahead. Having hydraulic disc brakes helps keep you and your bike under control, even on the steepest inclines and loosest terrain. Getting a feel for your brakes is important, as squeezing hydraulic disc brakes too hard and too suddenly can send you right over the bars. Trusting your brakes and feathering your brakes well before a corner you see ahead, will lead to a safer and more enjoyable ride.
Practice, Practice, Practice!
As with all sports, practice makes perfect! With mountain biking, many riders only practice when they’re riding. But thinking about other sports, practicing before the game is necessary. When you’re out on the trail, ride features over and over again until it feels comfortable. If you’re short on time, you don’t even need to be on a trail to practice mountain biking, you can practice skills on the streets or even in a parking lot. Using your mountain bike to run errands or commute to work can develop skills and familiarity with your bike that transfers to the trail. Whenever possible, always ride!
We hope you enjoyed these mountain bike tips, and use them wherever you ride. If you end up making it to Sedona Arizona, stop by Thunder Mountain Bikes for any help you need with mountain bike setup, mountain bike rentals, bike repair, or even just trail advice tailored to your level. Stay safe out there!