Mistakes to Avoid When Starting Mountain Biking: 5 Things to Know

So, you’ve decided to take up mountain biking? Great! It’s a fantastic way to get outdoors and enjoy some exercise while taking in some stunning scenery. However, before you head out on your first trail, you should know a few Mistakes to Avoid When Starting Mountain Biking.

Mistakes to Avoid When Starting Mountain Biking

Not Checking Your Bike Before You Ride

This one seems like a no-brainer, but you’d be surprised how many people head out for a ride without first giving their bike a once-over.

Before each ride, take a few minutes to check that your mountain bike tires are properly inflated, your brakes are working properly, and all your bolts are tight.

It only takes a few minutes and could save you from a mechanical issue or crash down the road.

Not Dressing for the Occasion

Mountain biking is a physical activity, so you’ll want to dress appropriately. That means wearing clothes that won’t restrict your movement, provide some padding in case of a fall, and won’t overheat you as you ride. In general, form-fitting layers made from breathable fabrics are best. And don’t forget your helmet!

Riding Beyond Your Skill Level

It’s tempting to want to jump into the deep end when you’re first starting mountain biking. But trust us, it’s not worth it. Start slow and work your way up to more difficult trails as you gain confidence and experience. There’s nothing wrong with sticking to easier trails at first – you can always return to the more challenging ones later.

Not Following Trail Etiquette

When you’re out on the trail, there are some unwritten rules that everyone should follow to ensure a safe and enjoyable experience.

For example, yield to uphill riders when you’re going downhill, and announce your presence when approaching other cyclists from behind.

Not Being Prepared for the Elements

Mountain biking is an outdoor activity, so you should be prepared for whatever Mother Nature throws your way. That means dressing appropriately for the weather, bringing plenty of water, and being aware of your surroundings.

In general, it’s always better to err on the side of caution – if you think a storm is brewing, it’s probably best to head back to the trailhead early.

Do not place your toes at the end of the pedals.

One of the most common mistakes new mountain bikers make is placing their toes at the end of the pedals.

It can lead to many problems, including foot pain, cramping, and loss of control while riding.

Instead, keep your feet in the middle of the pedals, and ensure that you are securely clipped in.

It will give you more power and control while riding and help avoid any potential injuries.

Do not ride on the road.

Another mistake that new mountain bikers make is riding on the road. While this may seem like a good idea initially, it can be quite dangerous.

Roads are not designed for mountain biking, and there are many hazards that you may encounter, such as cars and trucks.

If you must ride on the road, wear bright clothing, and always ride in the opposite direction of traffic.

Do not try to ride up steep hills.

One of the biggest mistakes that new mountain bikers make is trying to ride up steep hills.

While this may seem like a good way to get a workout, it can be quite dangerous.

You could easily lose control and crash if you do not have the proper gear or technique.

Instead, try to find a gradual incline trail and focus on building your strength and stamina before attempting any steep climbs.

Buying the wrong equipment

One of the biggest mistakes you can make when starting mountain biking is buying the wrong equipment. It’s important to research and buy a bike that’s right for you. If you buy a cheap bike, it’s likely that it won’t be able to handle the rigors of mountain biking and will end up breaking down on you.

Similarly, if you buy a too expensive bike, you’ll be left with little money to invest in other important gear like helmets and protective clothing. Take your time, research, and find a bike that’s perfect for your budget and riding style. Read more about the 5 best 26 inch mountain bikes.

Do not pedal too much in the technical section.

One of the biggest mistakes mountain bikers can make pedaling too much in technical sections. When riding over rocks, roots, and other obstacles, it is important to let your bike float underneath you.

If you pedal too much, your bike will not have enough time to respond to the terrain and will likely end up going over the handlebars. It is better to spin your pedals lightly and keep your weight balanced so your bike can navigate the technical section easily.

Not looking far enough.

One of the most common mistakes mountain bikers make is not looking far enough ahead. When you’re riding, you should constantly be scanning the trail for obstacles and changes in terrain.

If you’re only looking a few feet ahead, you’re likely to miss something important and take a spill. So keep your eyes up and your head on a swivel!

Not staying in the saddle too much.

One of the biggest mistakes that novice mountain bikers make is staying in the saddle too much. When starting, it’s natural to want to stay in the saddle as much as possible to avoid getting thrown around or taking a spill. However, this can be counterproductive.

When you’re in the saddle, your weight is concentrated in one spot, and you have less control over the bike. It can make it more difficult to maneuver and lead to fatigue more quickly. Instead, try to stand up more often and use your body weight to help control the bike. It will give you better control and help you last longer on the trails.

Don’t be too tight on the bike.

One of the most common mistakes new mountain bikers make is being too tight on the bike. It can lead to many problems, including loss of control and increased fatigue. Instead, try to relax and let the bike do the work. It will help you stay in control and enjoy your ride more.


Mountain bikers should avoid a few rookie mistakes when starting. One is not investing in proper gear, which can lead to injuries. Another mistake is not learning the basics of mountain biking, such as how to brake properly and navigate turns.

These two things can make your mountain biking experience much more enjoyable and safe. Finally, don’t get discouraged if you have a bad day on the trail – everyone has them! Keep practicing and pushing yourself, and you’ll be hitting those trails like a pro in no time.


Marcelline is a writer and covers several categories thanks to her multidisciplinary expertise.

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