Category Archives: Learning to ride

Video: dragging the rear brake with low tire pressure to ride a sheet of ice

We had a lot of rain on Xmas here in southern Minnesota that completely ruined our several inches of fluffy snow. But as the temps dropped, the melting snow froze, creating some unusual ice. I found this mini-skating rink near my house that coated a sidewalk, curb, and access street. The gradual slope made it an ideal traction challenge. I kept tightening my approach to make it more difficult. I'm using ratcheting, track stands, and rocking skills. And you'll see the difference between tires inflated at 10 psi vs 1-2 psi. But the main technique I deployed was to constantly apply the rear brake with just enough pressure to prevent any wheel spin. I call it 'dragging' the rear brake since that seems to best describe it, ie, applying steady power/pedaling while the brake is engaged just the right amount. I learned this technique riding mototrials, most typically on slippery off-cambers where steady power via the throttle while dragging the brakes could help prevent the rear wheel from slipping out underneath you. 1-min video, no slowmo:

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Video: practicing mtb balance skills in my garage when it’s -5 F outside

Announcing: The Mountain Bike Skills Network (MTBSN)

There are many free places online to discuss mountain biking but few that are exclusively devoted to learning skills. And most of those are devoted to a single instructor or organization.

I’ve learned much from a variety of online mtb resources and so I wanted to create an online forum that A) made use of whatever was online that was helpful; and B) that tapped into the intelligence and collegiality of fellow mountain bikers who were willing to share and learn together. And so I’ve created the Mountain Bike Skills Network (MTBSN), currently a closed group on Facebook. Here’s the current description:

“The Mountain Bike Skills Network (MTBSN) is an online community of mountain bikers dedicated to helping one another develop our riding skills. We alert each other to and discuss how-to-ride resources that we find online (for example, from Phil Kmetz (Skills with Phil), Gene Hamilton (BetterRide), Leigh Donovan ( IChooseBikes), Ryan Leech (Ryan Leech Connection), Simon Lawton (Fluidride), Chris Carter (MTB Tips), Global Mountain Bike Network, James Wilson (MTB Strength Training Systems), Lee McCormack (LeeLikesBikes), PMBI, IMBA ICP, etc). We ask for feedback on our own riding and offer feedback to others when they ask. We celebrate each other’s progress. And we do all this in a spirit of collegiality and with a tone of civility (discussion guidelines here).”

Why use a Facebook Group for this? Although Facebook’s Groups platform has many limitations, the advantages are significant and include: A) a large percentage of mountain bikers who are online use Facebook every day; B) Facebook has very good smartphone apps, including one specifically for Groups; C) it’s free for me to use as the organizer/administrator; D) its tools for photos and videos are very good; E) it’s very easy to tag people which encourages more engagement; and F) it’s very easy to link to resources within Facebook as well as to those resources outside of it.

If the Group gets too large and unwieldy, then migrating to a web forum outside of Facebook might make sense.

Interested? Click here. It’s a Closed Group which means I get notified to admit you.

Video analysis: logover drop

Last week, I posted the question (to my MTB Geezer blog, my MTB Geezer Instagram feed, my MTB Geezer Twitter feed,  & my MTB Geezer Facebook page):

A big tree came down along a segment of our local mtb trail recently. We got it trimmed up a few weeks ago and last week, it occurred to me to try riding over the fat end where it hangs over a concrete block lip. So it’s a logover but it’s also a drop. Can you predict from these video stills whether or not I endoed?

Here’s my overly-detailed (5.5 minutes!) video analysis of my ride over that logover drop.

Four photos of a logover drop: Can you predict if I endoed?

Video: hopping backwards to get lined up for a ledge

Video: driveway rocking skills practice session

I decided a week or so ago that I needed a refresher on my rocking skills, as I was having trouble deploying them consistently on the trails for tight turns and some obstacles. It occurred to me that, just like I did for learning track stands, I might be able to benefit from 5-10 minutes/day doing drills in my driveway. After 5 days, I've made pretty good progress in my straight-ahead rhythmic rocking. Here's a clip of my session from yesterday, on my 29'er hard tail and on my @advocatecycles Watchman fat bike. Why am I better at rhythmic rocking on The Watchman (Advocate Cycles fat bike) than my 29'er hard tail, even though it's about 5 pounds heavier? #goodproblemtohave 55-seconds, 50% slowmo:

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