Mountain biking is having a big moment right now. New riders have been hitting the trails in droves and we are over the moon that they are discovering the freedom, exhilaration, and connection with nature (and each other!) that mountain biking provides. So, let us start by saying:
Welcome to the mountain biking community!
Disclaimer: these rules aren’t meant to be a bummer. Knowing the ropes will boost your experience by keeping your time on the trail positive, you’ll be more confident about how to conduct yourself, and the community as a whole will be better for it!
1. Say Hello
Offer a friendly “hello” “howdy” or “what a FANTASTIC day!” to people you see on the trail. Give extra warning if you’re approaching someone from behind to avoid startling them and give them time to find a safe spot to let you by. If you see someone stopped and off of their bike, just ask to make sure they’re okay. If they’re lost, have a mechanical issue or are picking themselves up after a wreck, you might be able to lend them a hand.
Mountain bikers yield to horses and hikers. Bonus points for getting off of your bike and speaking calmly to horses as they go by.
Other mountain bikers: if you’re riding downhill, you yield to those riding uphill. If you stop, move yourself and your bike off the trail to make way for other riders.
3. Ride Open Trails
Sometimes trails have to be closed due to wet conditions, trail work, or safety issues and it’s important to respect those closures. If you’re not sure, check with the trail advocacy group or land manager. Some trails do not allow mountain bikes including state and federal wilderness areas.
4. Pack it in, Pack it out
Never leave trash on the trail. Better yet, pick up any trash you spot!
5. Stay in Control
Ride within your limits and be extra vigilant when it comes to blind corners and sections with limited line of sight. These are sketchy spots for collisions and the most frequent place that user conflicts occur.
6. Turn it Down
Yes, your favorite jams can add a little pep to your pedals on a long climb and get you flowing on a ripping decent, but either take one headphone out or turn the volume down enough that you can hear other trail users (and wildlife!).
7. Don’t Skid
This might come as a surprise to anyone who’s ever watched a mountain biking video, but skidding is bad news. Not only does it destroy/erode/widen the trail, it also means you’re out of control (see rule #5). Check out our Braking 101 article to learn about “easing the squeeze” and braking like a boss!
8. Sharing is Caring
Share these basic rules with your friends, family, and kids and don’t be afraid to (kindly) mention them to a fellow trail-user (who’s not a stranger because you’ve just waved and said hello!). Staying on positive terms with other trail users will allow mountain bikers to maintain and even improve access to our favorite riding areas.
Head to Trailforks to find a trail near you, scroll down to “Local Trail Organization” and voila! Those are the generous souls that build, maintain and advocate for the trails you ride. Become a member, sign up for their newsletter, follow them on social media, and, most importantly, stay in the loop on all the different ways you can get involved. Happy trails!
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I felt so confident that I recently signed up for the Catalina MTB Gran Fondo!
I participated in the beginner skill clinic at Malibu Creek last Saturday, because I'm truly a beginner who couldn't stop...
Ninja Mountain Bike Skills
I participated in the beginner skill clinic at Malibu Creek last Saturday, because I'm truly a beginner who couldn't stop falling down during each mtb ride. The class was small and super fun...and the instructors (Richard and Kris) were informative and dynamic. The clinic was small enough for each member to practice each learned skill and receive immediate feedback. I learned many new skills on that day and felt much more confident with my bike-body connection. I felt so confident that I recently signed up for the Catalina MTB Gran Fondo...the 55 mile route! Woohooo!! The next day, as I was road biking (training for the Solvang Double Century), I dodged a bullet on the Snake/Mulholland by applying my learned mtb skills--a long towing truck went over almost half of our lane on a blind turn as we were descending. Instead of fixating on the truck, I remembered the importance of looking for a clear path and keeping my eyes on where I want to go....Now I understand what people meant when they said that mtb will help improve my road riding skills too! I'm grateful for the opportunity to learn, and I look forward to the next clinic! ~ Uyen N.
I was so happy I could transfer what I learned in Sedona to my own trails.
I just rode on my local trails today after taking the Ninja clinic in Sedona. I was so happy I...
Ninja Mountain Bike Skills
I just rode on my local trails today after taking the Ninja clinic in Sedona. I was so happy I could transfer what I learned in Sedona to my own trails. There is one drop and one off camber downhill section I never have had the courage or skill to ride until today. It was so fun to ride them and not get off and walk. Richard La China and Courtney Cowan were fantastic instructors. Not only did I up my technical skills in Sedona it was also a ton of fun! ~Patty Elliott
Took the mini clinic on jumping skills because I can't resist the urge to get in the air even though...
Ninja Mountain Bike Skills
Took the mini clinic on jumping skills because I can't resist the urge to get in the air even though I always knew I didn't really understand the mechanics of it, so it was a kind of "huck and hope" affair. The result was that I didn't land about 1 in 5 attempts. The clinic with Aaron was great! He explained the mechanics of how the bike is handled coming into, through and out of the jump and starts with individual small skills progressing step by step in a very manageable way (even for me, and I started this stuff at 45 and I'm not very coordinated). What I feel sets Aaron apart is his ability to communicate his explanations and demonstrate movements in a way that makes them easy to learn even for someone with little experience. He is also very patient and encouraging, which helps when one is starting out and struggling a little with some movements. I definitely intend to do more clinics with Ninja MBS. I feel like it will save me a lot of time and frustration as well as possibly a lot of money in medical bills! ~Jill M.
I would encourage anyone of any ability to take a class with these guys.
I recently attended one of the Intermediate/Advanced Efficiency and Flow clinics. Even though I have been riding for many years...
Ninja Mountain Bike Skills
I recently attended one of the Intermediate/Advanced Efficiency and Flow clinics. Even though I have been riding for many years I learned a lot from this clinic. The techniques covered ranged from reviewing basic skills such as basic body position to practicing more advanced techniques like switchbacks, bunny hops, and cornering. I was able to recognize, get instruction, and practice some skills where I was weak and instantly improve them. Even skills I thought I was pretty good at I was able to pick up useful tips. I also realized that deliberate skills practice is not something I incorporate into my riding, but now that I understand what I should be doing I will make sure to add this in! After taking the course my comfort on the bike has improved and I am more aware of my body position and movement of the bike. I would encourage anyone of any ability to take a class with these guys. The instructors are knowledgeable and easy to work with. There is a lot of one on one help and they will make sure you understand the skills being taught and are able to perform them successfully. Plus the clinic was lots of fun! I highly recommend and hope to work with these guys again soon. ~ Michelle A.
We are a group of passionate, dirt-loving, community oriented, world-class mountain bike skills instructors committed to helping you reach your personal riding goals through clinics and camps. We are excited to work with riders of all ability levels and share the joy (STOKE) of mountain biking.