5 Mountain Biking Tips for Girls (and everyone else).

Mountain biking is amazing and don’t let this rainy weather fool you. There is plenty of good riding to be had before we hang up our mountain bikes. If you are new to mountain biking it’s going to get hard before it gets easier. And then once it gets easier, it’s going to get harder again. For all of us, it’s a humbling sport. Some days you are a rock star and some days you crash on the rocks. Either way, there’s nothing quite like it. Here are a few tips (reminders) to keep you sunny side up.

  • Don’t show off
    These are the words that my husband sends me out the door with when I go out to ride with friends. What he’s trying to say (I think) is “Don’t do anything stupid.” Basically I remind myself of these words of wisdom when contemplating taking something at a higher speed or doing a bigger drop then I have business doing.
  • 9 Out of 10 times it’s the pilot not the plane
    Okay, so the one time it’s the plane is for the people who are already so rad on the bike that they could ride a big wheel and still out climb and out descend me. But for all the other times, I really believe it. Get a good enough bike or a nice bike but don’t get caught up in having the best, the brightest or the lightest. At the end of the day you have to ride the bike and sometimes putting in the time and the work can improve your skills more than a shiny new bike.
  • Crashing often doesn’t mean you have bigger…..ovaries
    I used to think I was pretty tough because I crashed a lot. I liken it to thinking I was a great driver when I was 15. Practice, hard work and training may not make you perfect but it will make you a better rider. And now when I go over or crash really hard it’s because I’ve forgotten the fundamentals or I just got too big for my undies. And sometimes I just pick the wrong line.

    Author, Cheri Felix
  • Treat your bike like you want to be treated
    Who doesn’t like to be washed and lubed weekly? I know I do. Your bike needs to be washed and checked over (for loose wheels, bent derailleurs, stretched cables, etc.) weekly. Some might say after every ride but I’d bet that person doesn’t have dishes to do, kids to feed and a dog to walk. Your bike works better when it’s maintained. Trust me on this. I used to think a dirty bike was a sign of coolness. That was silly and lazy. This summer the bike mechanic said “Wow. That’s a clean drive train.” A proud moment for me.
  • Know when to hold em and when to fold em.
    Kenny Rogers knew what he was talking about. I’m talking about knowing when to let it ride and when to walk your bike. Knowing how to leave your ego at the trailhead. Knowing when you are out of your element. It can be hard to walk something you’ve done before or to take a tight switchback slower than you are used to. But it can save you a co-pay if you listen to your gut. A few weeks ago I was in Park City riding some pretty fun downhill and just wasn’t “feelin’ it”. The bike didn’t quite fit me, the tires were too small for my taste and well…I just didn’t have the confidence. So I walked something that I’ve replicated at the Valmont Bike Park. Like I said; know when to hold em.

Now, get out and ride before it snows!

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17 Comments

I was thinking the same thing

I was thinking the same thing! I just wanted to add that I've advanced so much in the last year because I was willing to fall. Of course I invested in some nice pads to prevent broken bones. But the funny thing is, I definitely have the pad courage--if I don't wear them, I'll probably not try something big. Which isn't a bad thing. Ha!

Girls

I am a self-respecting woman, a self professed feminist and a girl! Being a mountain biker, I believe implies a sense of youthfulness, sense of adventure, and a sense of self definition. For someone, a woman, to belittle another womans sense of self flies in the face of what a woman could and should be. We have the right to define ourselves as we see fit. I am a girl, a powerful girl. I am a mother, a wife and sometimes...a lady. But I will always be a girl. I have a sense of humor about myself, and a healthy respect for other women. And in that respect I refuse to belittle their choice as to how to represent themselves. The term "girl" only has the power you give it, as any other hotly contested phrase or word. I choose to see the inherent power in the word girl. It is a powerful word. I am a powerful woman, and I like being called a girl, because the definition lies within, not in others opinion. Girl Power is an amazing thing, please don't take that away from those who choose to be defined by their own terms. Girls rule!

Nicole the problem lies not

Nicole the problem lies not how you see yourself or how you define the word "girls" it is about how the world does. I think that is what Catherine was pointing out. "Girl" is not a powerful word. When us women playfully call each other "girls" in social situations, you are right! There is nothing at all wrong with that.

However, in writing in any form that is for the public eye this is a problem. In an equal world it would not be. But until women are on par with men, and in the cycling world until women are even close to be considered equal to the men, we must be careful in our language use. It matters. Perhaps at the local level we cannot see or understand why. But as women cyclists globally fight for recognition and professionalism with the UCI (check letourentier.com for more on that) what we call ourselves and how we see women's cycling is important.

Cheri Felix wrote a great article. But I have to admit when I read the title I was thinking that this was directed towards girls and not women.

I personally love being a

I personally love being a part of the "girls" !!! Maybe those who don't have something to prove. I wouldve never thought a thing about it if it wasnt otherwise pointed out. Being a part of the girls is endearing , awesome, and not whatsoever childish. Nor do I feel like any less if a woman being referred to as girl. Woohoo GIRLS rock!!!!!

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