5 important tips for winter mountain biking
True mountain biking devotees stay active around the year, braving cold temperatures and wet ground to enjoy their favorite exercise. If you are thinking about outdoor biking during the cold season, here are a few things to keep in mind:
Pick the right bike for the task
Having reliable equipment is essential when dealing with difficult weather and it all starts with your bike. Typically, bikes used in winter tend to be made of metal rather than microfiber, and to feature heavier frames and robust mudguards. You can choose the mountain bikes under $300 for this purpose as these bikes built with sturdy materials. If you can’t afford to have a dedicated bike just for winter, you should at least make sure that you have maximum traction.
Don’t be afraid of slippery terrain
One dimension of the challenge is mental – you don’t want to become too tentative because of a bit of mud. If your mind is not set the right way, your movements will likely be affected and that can cause danger. Mountain biking is a sport that demands a sharp mind and a brave heart and this counts double during the winter months. If you don’t have any experience riding in winter, you need to prepare yourself for a new type of challenge and decide whether you are up for it. Riding along a veteran biker is one way to gather up courage and learn winter tricks, should you feel uncomfortable doing it alone.
Keep your head up at all times
Being relaxed during the ride is fine and dandy, but winter conditions require your undivided attention, particularly if you leave the paved roads behind. Obstacles can surprise you in any weather, although on dry grounds you at least have a chance to react and avoid them. This is much harder to do when the trail is covered in mud and leaves, so spotting any potential bumps on the road before you hit them is essential. You can’t put your head down, even for a moment, or you might run into a hidden rock and fall down when you are least expecting it.
Control your body movement
Making sharp turns on wet ground is trickier than it seems and you need to maintain perfect balance to avoid crashing. It goes without saying that you should always adjust your speed to the conditions on the ground, particularly during cornering. Even at low speeds, you need to be careful to keep your body upright and not lean to either side, as this could shift too much weight and cause your tires to slip. A good mountain bike will perform reasonably well on wet surfaces, but only if you are using the optimal technique and actively avoiding risky moves that could lead to trouble.
Stick to familiar trails
Looking around for orientation is the last thing you should be doing while riding a mountain bike in winter. It’s perfectly OK to run off the map when the weather is sunny, though it’s a completely different matter to do the same on a rainy day. When you are riding on a trail that you never attempted before, it is very difficult to perform to the maximum of your ability and remain on the seat throughout the journey. This tip is especially crucial if you like riding alone – you don’t want to fall and get injured with nobody around to help you get back home.