“Riding Blind” is when we ride a trail for the first time. It brings a new dynamic of opportunities and things to consider, and is one of the most fantastic experiences when done safely. We’re here to help you unleash your inner Steezy Wonder to make the most of that first ride!
1. Do Your Homework
Familiarize yourself with the trail from afar. Check the description on Trail Forks or MTB Project to make sure you know what you’re getting into. What’s the difficulty level and length? Any noted features? Is it technical or flowing? It’s important to note if there are features on the trail that are above your skill level so you can be aware and pace yourself accordingly.
Next, have you been practicing your turns, roll-downs, and braking, cornering? Riding blind is like one epic “pop quiz” and you’ll want every skill to maximize the fun factor.
2. Eyes Up & Scan
Get those eyes open and really look down the trail! Scan the features ahead to pick your lines, and take any opportunity you get to glance further to see what the overall trail picture looks like. Trail scanning is an art and the better you get at it, the faster you will be able to ride while still keeping it in control and safe.
Pro Tip: The most ridden-in line is often the smooth one, but not always the most fun!
3. Go the Right Amount of Fast
Ride within your comfort zone. This isn’t a race, so reel it in and ride smart! On the flip side, don’t get so caught up in the “not knowing” that you waste the experience. Find the happy medium where you can give effort and get your boogie on without going dangerously fast, a pace that you can read and react to the trail and enjoy every second of it!
4. Ready (Position) for Anything
Imagine someone’s taking your picture, and get that ready position looking aggressive! Eyes up, elbows out, one finger on each lever, knees bent, and pedals level. There’s a reason we call it the ready position, so get into it and be ready for whatever the trail is about to throw your way!
5. Be Clear for Takeoff
This one is very important when riding a trail blind, and will save your skin if you follow it! No jumping unless you can clearly see your landing! I repeat: Do not fly the bike unless you have a clear landing picked already! This is fundamental to good decision-making. If there are drops, know your personal skillset and look before you leap. Not all trails are created equally, so some drops may be rollable but don’t gamble it! If you don’t know, take it slow. Slow down and take a look. No shame in getting off your bike and taking a moment to look at a feature before you send it.
6. Have Yourself a Blast!
You’ll only get to ride a trail for the very first time once, so make the most of it. Going in with a positive attitude and a plan, rather than starting the trail with a level 10 fear factor, can make all the difference on the fun scale. I find that dialing back my pace and riding more playfully make for the most excellent trail experience. And, well, mountain biking is supposed to be fun!
So what are you waiting for? Go find yourself a new trail and maximize the fun of riding blind!