Mountain biking is a great way to get your adrenaline pumping and work out your legs, core, and full body. If you are thinking about getting into the sport of mountain biking, there are two main steps to add to your to-do list. 1) Find beginner mountain bike trails near me, and 2) Learn basic mountain bike skills to feel comfortable on the trail.
We’ll go over both of these, giving you lots of helpful tips for getting started, and make sure you are ready to hop on and enjoy the exciting world of mountain biking. These trail suggestions are designed for absolute beginners to enjoy a quiet and easy trail and feel comfortable as you start to learn mountain bike skills.
Beginner Mountain Bike Trails Near Me in Colorado Springs
In West Colorado Springs, a short drive down Rte. 24, Red Rock Canyon Open Space is a beautiful park with many trail options. Beginners looking for easy rides to feel comfortable on a mountain bike should check out the Upper and Lower Dog Loops.
The beautiful park surrounding the National Natural Landmark Garden of the Gods has well-maintained, flat trails that are perfect for beginners looking to learn how to mountain bike. There is ample parking and plenty of other fun activities to do as you enjoy the stunning scenery.
Located in northeast Colorado Springs, Palmer Park has over 25 miles of trails for mountain bikers of all difficulty levels. This is an excellent family-friendly destination and gives beginner mountain bikers plenty of space to try mountain biking for the first time and learn at their own pace.
Initially a rail line, then a public road, and now a fantastic mountain bike destination now that the road is closed to vehicular traffic, Gold Camp Road is a wonderful spot to jump on your bike. Start at the parking lot where Gold Camp Road, High Drive, and N. Cheyenne Canon Road all converge just to the west of North Cheyenne Cañon Park. From there, Gold Camp Road steadily gains elevation and is just waiting for you to work on your mountain biking skills.
9 Tips for Basic Mountain Bike Skills
- Maintain Your Bike
Having a proper mountain bike that is well maintained and ready for action is the most important first step. You cannot ride on trails with a road bike or an old bike that isn’t in good condition. A proper mountain bike should have pumped tires, oiled gears, and good brakes.
- Dress for Success
Always wear a helmet when mountain biking. You can also get elbow and knee pads to be extra safe. Be sure to wear good shoes, pants, and a rain jacket if poor weather is in the forecast.
- Plan and Pack
It is crucial to have a map with you on the trail and plan your route in advance. Make sure you take plenty of water and snacks if you are on an all-day trip. Finally, a small first aid kit is always a good idea.
- Focus on Where You Want to Go
Called “target fixation,” this skill helps you avoid obstacles. If you are paying attention to a rock or tree in your path, you are more likely to hit it. Instead, focus your gaze on the route, the way around, and the path a few seconds ahead of you. This will help you navigate the bike where you want to go and avoid the obstacles.
- Learn Proper Balance “Out of the Saddle”
Mountain bikers spend a lot of time with their butts off the bike seat. It is essential to know when to shift position, when to bend your knees, and how to prepare to go over obstacles. Shifting your weight is not necessarily intuitive, but it is a beneficial mountain bike skill for staying upright.
- Use All the Gears
Learning how to use the different gears on a mountain bike will save you a ton of effort on the trail. If you are struggling to pedal, turn the gears down. Turn up the gears if you are peddling fast and not getting anywhere. Generally speaking, you should be on a lower gear when going uphill and a higher gear when going down. Finally, make sure you pedal through gear shifts, or you could damage the bike’s chain!
- Go Easy on the Brakes
Beginners tend to brake too much when they first learn to mountain bike. It makes sense that you would want to take on new challenges as slowly as possible, but it is harder and more dangerous. When going over tree roots and rocks, having a little speed helps you clear the obstacle smoothly, so the best thing to do is brake lightly. Keep in mind that the bike was made for the trail, and if you keep your knees bent, you’ll be fine.
- Relax and Stay Loose
Arguably the most important rule of mountain biking is to stay loose. Try to keep your muscles relaxed, and you will feel comfortable on the trail. If you tense up your muscles as you clear obstacles, you will feel the movements more and possibly injure yourself.
- Learn from Friends
One great way to develop your mountain biking skills is to ride with more experienced mountain bikers. Inviting friends on your ride helps because you can follow behind them down the trail, watching as they change positions on the bike and navigate the terrain. In lieu of a ride with a friend, you can also join a Trailblazers Group Ride hosted by Trails End Trailblazers or take a class through MTB with Stacy.
Basic Rules of Mountain Biking Trail Etiquette
Yield for bikers coming uphill.
It is much harder to climb a hill than descend one, so if you see a rider coming up your trail, pull over and give them the right of way.
Give lots of space to hikers and horseback riders.
You do not want to scare a horse on a trail, so make sure to pay attention to the rider and follow their lead.
Greet others on the trail.
Give them notice of your presence and make people aware that you would like to pass. This is essential for sharing the trail and avoiding collisions.
Once you have these basic mountain bike skills down, you can take them to the trail and start getting real mountain biking experience. These beginner-friendly trails have ample space to practice what you have read and start to feel comfortable on the bike. Happy riding!