Back to Back Issues Page
Mountain Biking Tips to Ride Rock Gardens with Confidence
June 17, 2010

Catch the Buzz on Playing in the Dirt

Attack the Singletrack! Issue #006 -- Mountain Biking Tips to Ride Rock Gardens with Confidence

Attack the Singletrack brings you mountain bike tips to help you become a better rider and enjoy mountain biking more.

If you like this ezine, please do a friend and me a big favor and pass this information on to them. If a friend forwarded this to you and if you like what you read, click on the link below...

Free Newsletter and eBook

In this Issue...

1) Tip of the Month -- Want to know how to get home if you get a tear in your tire while out on the trail?

Click here or scroll down for a tip that will prevent you from having to hike your bike...

2) Mountain Biking Tips to Ride Rock Gardens with Confidence -- Do rock gardens freak you out? Don't worry, you are not alone. Many of us have felt our hearts pound and have resorted to hiking our bike when we come upon a rock garden, but there is hope!

Click here or scroll down for some tips on how to make rock gardens your friend...

3) What's New on Mountain Bike Buzz -- Click on the links below to learn about new information that has been recently added to the site...

Bicycle Chain Cleaning Tips to Optimize Gear Shifting
- Bicycle chain cleaning tips to improve shifting performance and prevent accelerated wear of other mountain bike parts, such as the cassette and chain rings...

Tip of the Month:

How to Repair a Torn Tire Casing on the Trail--

Although it doesn't happen often, a torn tire casing can be a big problem if you are out on the trail and do not have a way to repair it. Fortunately, a simple energy bar wrapper can be used to provide a temporary patch on the tire so that you don't have to hike your bike the whole way back. Plus, you can have a little snack in the process.

Before you completely inflate your new tube or patched tube, place the energy bar wrapper between the tear of the tire and the tube. As you inflate the tube, check to see that the wrapper is in place.

If the tear is small, the patch will work better and you should be able to use normal tire pressure. For larger tears, you will have to use lower air pressure.

A dollar bill can also be used in place of the energy bar wrapper.

Mountain Biking Tips to Ride Rock Gardens with Confidence

When encountering a rock garden, it can be intimidating for many of us and we may resort to hiking our bikes through the rocks. With the following tips and some practice, however, riding rock gardens can be a very fun, adrenaline-boosting experience that improves your confidence and mountain biking abilities.

Before riding the rock garden, get off your bike and roll it through the rock garden to determine a good line.

Trust your bike: Your mountain bike suspension is made to handle rough terrain. The shocks and other components are built to absorb bumps and hits.

Chill out! It's natural to feel some anxiety when approaching technical sections. Try to stay loose, but strong with a firm grip on the handlebars so that you have control. If you are rigid with fear, you will crash and it's best to try the challenge another day or start with something less intimidating.

Keep your arms and legs bent to absorb bumps and hits. Stay back on your seat so you don't go over the handlebars. Get way back and drop your seatpost a few inches if you are going downhill.

Maintain a medium speed when approaching the rocks. This can be scary because it feels like you are going to fly over the handlebars when you hit the rocks, but this is more likely to happen if you are going too slow.

Keep your momentum through the rocks. If you can't do full pedal strokes because of obstacles, move your pedals in a ratcheting motion to keep moving. If you get off course and are not on your line anymore, keep going. Follow where your bike takes you. Avoid forcing sudden changes in direction.

If possible, have your gear in either the smallest front chain ring combined with a midrange rear sprocket or the middle front chain ring combined with the small rear sprocket. This makes it easier to power through obstacles. When I am in granny gear, I tend to spin out.

Push your handlebars forward with your arms to get over rocks when necessary.

Look at the trail several feet ahead of you. Focus on where you want to go and not on the rocks that are right in front of you or the ones you are trying to avoid.

Strength and balance are very important for mountain biking over obstacles. Weight lifting and cross training will increase your strength to power over rocks and other obstacles. Practicing the trackstand and other exercises will help to improve balance. For more skill builders on improving balance on your mountain bike, please visit our page on Beginning Mountain Biking

I definitely prefer clipless pedals over platform pedals for technical riding. With platform pedals, my foot would often slip off the pedal when I would hit bumps and I would either bang up my shins or take a spill. It was a little scary to think of my feet being stuck to the pedals, but making the change definitely improved my riding. For more information on pedals and how to learn to ride with clipless pedals, please visit our page on Mountain Bike Pedals.

If you are a beginner, don't go crazy and start with the extreme terrain right away. Start small and work your way up as you gain more confidence. You may want to start with what are commonly referred to as "baby-head rocks." These are the rocks that are around the size and shape of a toddler's head. Once you are comfortable with these, try more difficult terrain.

For more riding tips, please visit our page on Mountain Bike Riding.

Click here to see previous issues of Attack the Singletrack!

Back to Back Issues Page