As cyclists, we might face rocky paths when off-roading, and there is always that anxiety when faced with such an obstacle in the beginning. Below are five tips on how to conquer these rocky paths to have a safe and enjoyable ride.
1. Remain relaxed
Many a time, when approaching rocky sections on the trail, your body naturally tenses up and you clutch tightly to the brakes as a reflex. Instead of doing that, we suggest that you relax your upper body and bend your arms and legs slightly.
This would give you better control of your bike and your hands and feet can act as your inborn “shock absorbers” by helping to absorb the shock from the impact of riding over the rocks.
2. Look ahead
A common mistake that cyclists make is looking at the ground or the front wheel, as this often results in a crash when unexpected obstacles appear along the road.
If you observe professional cyclists, their eyes are focused on the route most of the time and almost never at their front wheels. Always look further ahead to prepare yourself for the route as this allows you to plan on how to react to the obstacles and avoid unnecessary surprises. As such, this greatly reduces the risk of accidents.
3. Maintain Crank Steadiness
Although pedalling when going downhill will allow you to speed up, it can also increase the risk of your bike crank hitting onto a rock or other obstacles in the rocky section, often resulting in an accident. A way to prevent this is to control your speed and maintain the steadiness of your crank before approaching rocky sections, allowing you to pass through swiftly and safely.
This tip might sound somewhat bizarre, but yes, we are serious. Accelerating on rocky sections will increase the inertia of the bike, allowing you to overcome the obstacles more easily. Slowing down or braking when going over rocky paths is equivalent to keeping your bike stationary.
5. Accumulate Experience
It is good always to remember that every rocky section on an off-road is different, and due to the different sizes of the rocks and changes in weather, the grip of your bike wheels will vary.
Mastering the skill of riding over rocky paths will also come with experience from riding on different rocky trails. To expedite the mastery of the relevant skills, we also suggest asking for advice from professional coaches or experienced riders before trying out the various paths.
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