Many of us learned to ride a bike as young children and that often-repeated phrase, "It's like riding a bike," can underscore the importance of honing your fundamental bike handling skills.
Mountain biking lessons can benefit everyone, from the timid newbie to the seasoned trailblazer. I took my first mountain biking lesson after 8 years of riding and I honestly regret waiting so long. Though I was comfortable on intermediate and expert terrain, I discovered my body positioning needed work and I had been cornering incorrectly the whole time!
Luckily, a few Utah ski resorts offer a stellar range of mountain biking lessons to fit the needs of just about any rider. You probably wouldn't attempt skiing or snowboarding without first taking a lesson and the same guideline applies to mountain biking. Read on to discover why...
Like skiing and snowboarding, many of the motions and techniques associated with mountain biking aren't all that intuitive. Covering some basics and learning the lingo is the best possible thing you can do to support rapid progression. (Learn more about how to prepare for your first ski lesson here.) With a solid foundation, you can more readily tackle trails, build confidence, and engage in sound decision making on the dirt. A lesson can be helpful for the following reasons:
- Quickly master the skills you need to ride in control and within your ability level
- Learn how to read trail maps and evaluate trail conditions
- Cover basic Leave No Trace Principles and trail etiquette
- Learn how to effectively and politely communicate with other trail users while cycling
- A lesson can help you avoid forming bad habits -- like not bending your knees enough or cornering incorrectly
- Learn drills and exercises to practice on your own
- Gain valuable feedback about your technique and body position
- Advanced and intermediate riders can also greatly benefit from a lesson, there's always a new skill to learn or refine!
If it's only your first or second time on a mountain bike, consider investing in a private lesson. The instructor will be able to completely focus on your needs and you'll be up to speed in no time. If you've completed a few rides and are comfortable on green or blue trails, a group lesson is a great place to kick off your biking education.
As with any new sport, it can be difficult to keep track of your body parts and where they should be or what they ought to be doing. An instructor will keep an eye on you and help harness your attention to focus on specific skills relating to body positioning, cornering, pedal positioning, shifting, braking, climbing, descending and navigating obstacles.
You will likely begin your lesson on flat ground and review some basics, cover the parts and functions of your bike, and try out some simple drills. Once you've built some confidence, your instructor will lead you to an appropriate trail to put your learnings into action.
All the resorts mentioned below offer bike rentals. You are welcome to bring your own bike; however, it is highly recommended that you have a full-suspension mountain bike. All the resorts offer awesome, modern bikes tricked out with the latest tech for both kids and adults.
When preparing for your lesson, be sure to bring the basics: water, sunscreen, lip balm, and snacks. Your instructor will carry a first aid kit and any tools or supplies you may need to fix a mechanical issue on the trail. For a list of things that you'll eventually want to collect for your bike pack, check out our article on tips for mountain biking beginners.