... is also feasible for beginners with a little practice | © saalbach.com, Stefan Voitl
  • Outdoors

10 tips for trail rookies

How to get started in mountain biking

You agreed on a biking holiday with your friends in Saalbach at the last BBQ, because "you can ride a bike"? But the consequences of your decision are only just becoming clear to you and you can't go back? No problem we help you out! ;-) With these 10 tips you will succeed on your first casual day on the trails.

1.    Safety first!
The proper equipment is essential for a safe day on the trails. This includes a helmet, knee and shin guards and protectors for your back, elbows and chest. In the best case even use a safety jacket that includes shoulder protectors. Often underrated: gloves! By wearing gloves, you are protecting the parts of the body that usually have the first contact with the ground when falling. Gloves will protect your hands suffering from minor or major abrasions.


2.    A bike for all occasions
Not all bikes are the same! The 400 € supermarket bike is better left at home when you are heading to the mountains for a holiday. The bike shops in Saalbach Hinterglemm are equipped with perfect rental bikes and all that you require for your first experience. The wrong equipment can lead to an undesirable descent. With the right bike, you can easily avoid material failure, therefore preventing falls.


3.    The basic riding technique…
… is best to be taught by one of the experienced bike schools. After just a couple of hours of training in the valley to get accustomed to your bike and learn the basics of braking and cornering techniques, you will be ready to try out the beginner trails on the same day. Groups are small, and there is no pressure. On the beginner courses, you will meet likeminded people who are all attempting trail riding for the first time. Everybody is in the same boat, and this is a great way to forge new friendships. Those who prefer to learn alone, can of course, book a private instructor.

4.    The correct mindset
When the first descent down a trail is imminent, it’s natural to have feelings of fear or anticipation. If you are sitting in the gondola feeling a little excited in a positive way, that’s cool and you’re most likely to have a great day and discover a new passion. Don’t be afraid to tell your guide if you're anxious. By doing this, she or he knows how to respond with calming words and tips to create a fun experience. If you don't see yourself riding down the trail there is always another way down. No-one is forcing you to do something you don’t want to, but it would be a shame if your mind plays tricks on you and the focus is taken away from the fun. So always remember: With a positive mindset almost everything is possible.


5.    After completing the first successful trail
It is quite natural to be nervous and tense when taking the first few corners. Still, as you start to feel reasonably secure, it’s best to concentrate on remaining relaxed. It is also of great help if a guide rides behind you to correct your posture if required.


6.    Pride comes before a fall

Especially in the beginning you make progress extremely fast. And that's good, because that's when the fun really starts! But don’t get become too overconfident, instead recognise your limits. Jumps, rocky and rooty sections are absolutely taboo until you have mastered the beginner trails perfectly!


7.    Don’t be irritated by faster bikers!
There will always be somebody faster than you, but don’t let that irritate you. No biking genius was made in one day. Everyone has to start somewhere, and most bikers understand that. If you feel uncomfortable with someone riding close behind you, find a safe place to stop for a moment. Therefore, faster riders can overtake without danger, and you can concentrate on yourself again.


8.    Watch closely
Often it helps to watch a good rider on particular sections of the trail. Pay attention to her or his posture, the position of the pedals and the chosen line, .... depending on what you want to learn. It is not necessary to take everything in at once. Take babysteps and improve my practicing and having fun.


9.    When the energy resources decrease
It may well be that after a while, you can no longer stretch out your fingers, and the lower part of your arms are throbbing. In this instance, it’s time to take a break and eat a snack. It is especially important to drink plenty of water throughout the day to prevent cramping of the muscles. Water! The beer has to wait until you finish riding for today ;-)

10.    At the end of the day
"Call it a Day" once the energy levels are depleted, round the day off with a cold refreshing drink. Take time to reflect back on this beautiful day and chat to other bikers while looking forward to the next day on the trails. Depending on your progress you might even spend the second day with your trail friends :-)

Similar articles

  • Outdoors
Nico is feeling great riding the Hacklberg Trail | © Heiko Mandl

Biking with children

Heiko Mandl
  • Outdoors
Moving up effortlessly | © Heiko Mandl

Fully charged

Heiko Mandl
  • Outdoors
Staffkogel | © bestmountainartists

E-Bike & Hike: Staffkogel

Thorsten Günthert
  • Backstage
Bike Patrol Saalbach Hinterlgemm | © © saalbach.com, Wout van de Donk

Bike Patrol

Edith Danzer