Are you just starting out with mountain biking in New Mexico? Launching into this intense sport can be a challenge at first. If you’re looking to learn more about mountain biking, read on for Ski Apache’s top essential tips for beginner bikers in the mountains of New Mexico.

1: Make Sure You Know Your Fitness Level

Different mountain biking trails and even the bikes themselves are suited to different riders. Treat mountain biking like interval training. If you try a trail that you are not prepared for, you can suffer serious injuries while riding. When you’re first starting out, pick trails that fit your fitness level and make sure to bring enough water on your ride.

2: Look Where You Want to Go

One of the biggest mistakes that novice mountain bikers make while on their first few rides is staring at the ground. Looking at the things you don’t want to hit will lead you right into them. Instead, look ahead to where you want to go. Look as far down the trail as possible and keep your chin parallel to the ground.

3: Always Wear Sunglasses

Mountain bikers don’t just wear sunglasses to look cool. Eyewear provides necessary protection against debris that will come flying at you on the trail. To avoid rocks, wind, dirt, and tree limbs, wear sunglasses whenever you ride.

4: Study Your Trails Before You Go

This tip goes hand in hand with knowing your fitness level. Before you try a new trail, visit your local bike shop or go online to find maps and trail advice for your new destination. You can match your trail choices to your fitness and skill levels and know where the Up and Down trails are before you go.

5: Practice Uphill Biking

Prepare your biking before you go. To practice riding uphill, get into a lower gear and put more power and frequency into your pedaling. Make sure that your tires have enough traction so it does not pop up.

6: Practice Downhill Biking

Downhill biking is another skill you want to master before you hit your first trail. Big downhills can be intimidating, but make sure to follow this key advice: look ahead at where you want to go and your bike will follow. Go into a higher gear to maintain stability while downhill biking.

7: Shift Your Weight in Rough Terrain

When you hit a rough patch of land while mountain biking in New Mexico, it can feel very intimidating. When going through extreme terrain, make sure to shift your weight forward to keep your center of gravity over your rear wheel in uphill situations. In downhill situations, shift your weight back.

8: Go Easy on Your Brakes

It can be very tempting to grab your brakes and pull them hard. This could knock you off balance. Mountain bike brakes are very powerful, so only use one or two fingers to control your speed.

9: Use All of Your Gears

Mountain bike trails go all over the place. You need your gears to control your bike over this uneven terrain, so make sure to use as many of them as you can. Anticipate changing your gears before you need to, so you can keep your momentum.

10: Trust Gravity

Riding a mountain bike can be scary, especially at fast speeds. However, don’t be afraid of using gravity to your advantage. Going too slow can make you trip or get stuck on an obstacle that you could easily glide over quickly. Use gravity to help guide you around obstacles on the trail.

Now that you know a little bit more about mountain biking in New Mexico, you can begin safely navigating the state’s breathtaking hills. If you’re looking for the pros who can help you with downhill biking and more, visit Ski Apache today!