5 beginner riding skills you can learn without trails

Even advanced riders stand to gain something by revisiting the basics

How To Video
Pedaling Front Wheel Lift

Pedaling front wheel lifts are an essential skills used to navigate un-flow trails with chunky features or for obstacles such as fallen branches or a dislodged rock.

With the West Coast and many other regions of the world are being hit with heavy rain, riding the local trails is not always an option – if you don’t want to run afoul with the etiquette gods. I live in a region where the trails are comprised of soils that do not tolerate wet weather riding, and the kind folks who build and maintain those trails tolerate it even less.

To remain good trail stewards and avoid being beat down with a McLeod or Pulaski, we stay off the trails when they are too wet. Instead we search the interwebs for cycling news and reviews, plotting our next baller bike build. But what we should be doing is waiting for breaks in the rain to practice drills to enhance our riding skills.

Rear Wheel Lift

Rear wheel lifts are good for more than impressing your friends. They enable you to shift the rear of the bike around tight switchbacks or avoid sharp rocks.

There are hundreds of great “How To” MTB videos on the internet. I suggest taking a moment to think about what skill or technique you have the most trouble with, and then search YouTube for appropriate videos from recognized/certified instructors or content creators such as the Global Mountain Bike Network or Ryan Leech.

Another option is Skills With Phil’s latest video, “5 Beginner Bike Skills That You Can Learn Without Trails!!” I previewed this video with my girlfriend, an IMBA/ICP Certified Level 2 Instructor to ensure I wasn’t sharing poor information. She gave it the thumbs up.

Check out more videos on Mtbr.


About the author: Justin Wages

As a stage 4 colon cancer survivor, Justin Wages got into the cycling world in an effort to increase his endurance after losing his left lung. As a California native and growing up with a skateboard and snowboard beneath his feet it wasn’t long before the thrill of mountain biking gripped him. Justin’s day job as a Land & Recreation Manager helps him understand the balance between conservation and trail use. He also works with his fiancé, Jeni, to bring more women into the mountain bike world with certified skills clinics and education. “My goal is to get more people on trails for health and enjoyment,” he says. “I want to help them overcome their mental or physical limitations and be the best person they can be, while expanding their appreciation for our natural world.”


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