Downhill Mountain Biking is one of the most extreme sports where you run down a whole down trail with your bike at blazing fast speed.
Words often don’t do justice to what it feels like to be on top of the mountain with your bike, and you’re all set to take the extreme terrain along the curvy, rocky path that may well become the adventure of your lifetime.
The sudden adrenaline rush that gets up while pressing the first pedal down the hill is the most amazing experience one should take at least once in life. It is rightly said that; “We must take adventures to know where we truly belong.”
Thus, adventure-seeking should be part of the blood for everyone but taking the adventure with precautions is the foremost thing to keep in mind.
How Dangerous is Downhill Biking?
Downhill Mountain Bike riding is one of the superlative kind of escapade which is the true synonym of adventure yet it can prove disastrous once precautions are not measured properly.
Therefore, before taking any terrain, it is recommended that you get hold of all the gears required to get away with any fatal injuries even for the pro-level bikers too. And when you are a beginner level athlete ready to try your hands on the downhill biking the importance of being packed with all the necessary gears becomes even more significant.
Requirements for Downhill Bike Riding
Apart from the bike and the gear you would also need certain physical abilities and mental traits to carry on the job. If you’re suffering from heart-related issues and neuro problems, It is better advised not to undertake such an adventure. You also might need to have high vision ability to maintain the standards of safety.
You must also have a good sense of balance to maintain the right posture and maintain navigation across the highly dense forest areas.
The problem with the internet in this regard is the content; that is presently related to this sport is scarcely concentrated on the technicalities of being on the single track, getting away from the rock drops, and occasional long gap jumps illustrated can make any beginner’s palm sweat.
However, this is a pretty safe sport once done in a particular order. In this article, we’ll try to examine a few things that should be taken care of when you’re a first-timer to execute things safely for yourself and make sure you enjoy every bit of this sport.
What Happens when you go Downhill?
Downhill biking may well be the sport to test out the gravity, however, don’t be misled by the thought that gravity will lead you to the destination without any sedate skill and technique. If you’re starting with downhill biking, be sure to get these things in order first.
A downhill bike with suitable suspension and a helmet that covers the full face and body shield is enormously imperative for having an encouraging initial experience and safeguarding your body along the way.
This is really expensive stuff but should be purchased before your first ride so that your ride remains entertaining. However, there is another way, exploring downhill bike shops in your area and then renting the bike and equipment can be an affordable option.
For your every time downhill mountain biking ride you need to ensure that you have these things with you:
Bike with a suitable suspension
You must ensure that you have a bike with good suspension and brake system which can handle the downward thrust while you rush downward.
Some good examples of bikes would be Merax Finniss and Diamond Overdrive 29.
A Helmet that shields the entire face
You must use a full-face helmet to protect your face from and sharp wind forces. This helmet should also prevent you from external injuries. So, make sure that it is in compliance with US or European safety standards.
Some good Helmets would be Gonex Adult Bike helmet.
Knee pads to avoid knee injuries
Kneepad protects your knees from external abrasion and injuries. Some good examples of kneepad would be: JBM BMX Bike Knee Pads and Elbow Pads
Elbow pads are vital too
Elbow pads would also be a nice addition to your protective gear. It would help prevent your elbow and lower arm from shock injury.
You can consider or as an elbow pad protection for your biking adventure: Allnice Alien 6 in 1 Thicken Protective Gear Pads.
A Jersey with a breastplate
Since this is a high-risk adventure sport, you must consider wearing a jersey with a breastplate. This would help in guarding your ribs from getting cracked. Literally.
A pack having a few bottles of water and juices to keep yourself hydrated is also necessary. Before you undertake your journey do consider packing yourself with some bottles of water and juices to keep yourself hydrated.
Some gears for eye protection
Eye goggles are also an important part of your protective gear. Make sure that you buy goggles that cover your eyes completely as well as provide the required shade.
A pair of gloves that covers full fingers
Last but not least make sure that you wear some tight gripping gloves which will help you to hold the bike tightly with a minimum amount of force.
Best Places for Downhill Bike Riding
Every place is not suitable for downhill mountain biking, rather looking out for a place that not only gives an exciting view but also provides sheer entertainment along the way with its curves, and bends can add the cherry to the top of the cake for riders. Here we’ll also state some best parks that can be a fruitful venue to thrive your desire for downhill mountain biking.
It is unfair to start off the list of best trails in the world for mountain biking if you don’t include the Whistlers Mountain Bike Park in the first place. The Whistlers Mountain bike Park destination is the most exotic location for downhill mountain bike riding with its humongous 7,165-foot (2,180m) peak of Whistlers Mountain.
It is located in the core of British Columbia’s Coast Range, and the rocky path replicates the matching assortment that attracts oodles of skiers, snowboarders, hikers, and mountain bikers every year.
Whistlers Mountain is without any doubt mecca for gravity-challenging mountain bikers, and it provides nearly everything that chairlift junkies need and even more.
Such is the culture of riding here, and it is as solid as it gets, as you can assume that the average rider who lives here is certainly better than 90% of the riders all around the globe with their bikes. However, you got to be professional enough to take the trails of this Whistlers Mountain.
The next destination to be in if you’re a lover of mountain bike riding then you must have in mind Mammoth Mountain in California. For riders of a certain age band, Mammoth is well-known. The extravagant mountainous regions along the curvy lanes are somewhat a dream of many mountain riders.
The next in line for downhill mountain bikers is the Sun Peaks situated in Canada. Being nearly 2000ft in vertical height, and having 35 outlandish trails, scenic Mountain tracks, and a sprawling Cross Country ride, Sun Peaks has it all to attract bikers across the board.
Any park that offers free rides has to be included in the list. And not only because the fact that Tignes Bike Park offers pretty much for nearly nothing means that it is a must include the entry for best trails for mountain bikers.
The professionally developed trails by Yannick and the Bike Solutions gang, with huge vertical mountains, uneven lifts, and evenly stunning scenery, Tignes is a location with a progressively growing status.
They are also embracing the quickly rising Enduro scene along a few dedicated trails to include in their DH portfolio. With fairly quiet lift lines and miles of breathtaking trails, Tignes is all set to be the best trail in the near time.
Backed by the enormous Northstar Tahoe is another famous bike trail where you can get the thrill and fun of bike riding. Here, the Northstar Bike Academy propose admirable curricula for all bikers, beginners or even pro, looking to expand their skills and uplift their riding ability.
Set along in spectacular background on the shores of Lake Tahoe there cannot be any place better than this to refine your abilities.
There are many places that can be accessed for a downhill mountain biking experience and are sure to lift your expertise in this daring sport. However, the key is the perfect positioning of yourself and the correct use of the brake when you are on trails similar to the above-mentioned trails or any other.
Tips and Precautions for a Safe Ride
Positioning your body appropriately when doing downhill biking is very important. If you’re way too forward, then prepare yourself for a fall over the handlebars. For a perfect body position, you should think of a conduit of movement, that is mainly your weight revolving around the bottom bracket.
The care for the movement of the bike in this regard should be minimal. It doesn’t matter if the bike is pointing in up or down directions, or tilting left or right. All you have to do is to be able to draw an imaginary erect line through your core which is the area surrounding your hips and the bike’s end bracket. This is the picture-perfect position to ascend down the hill on a speedy mountain bike.
The second thing to keep in mind is the use of brakes suitably at appropriate times. Once you have mastered the art of aligning the weight in the accurate position along the bike the next thing you know is you will be flying down the hill. It is now the best time to apply brakes in a way that becomes beneficial rather than becoming a complete disaster.
The usage of brakes is the key difference between layman bikers and pro bikers. When it comes to braking, a beginner tries to use the brakes as a rescue tool when they realize they’re going too fast.
The pro rider will make use of the brakes efficiently to formulate the bike’s speed and to provide the bike with direction. The correct way of using the brake is to adjust the speed and cover your brakes to set yourself up on the right line.
Staying confident and Balanced
After you have followed all the steps mentioned above, let the bike roll through the rocks. With your speed in check and body position spot-on, you’re ready to go.
Roots are the most common obstacles that are present on the trail and can be a continuous source of displeasure in your ride. One of the best ways to ride them off is to by being prepared for the task at hand and staying self-reliant
When you are riding downhill, it’s better to always look in advance. It is advisable not to be attentive only to what’s coming in front of your wheel, but also to be able to control your direction and speed before reaching obstacles. The foremost thing is to be stress-free and confident.
Also, having the knowledge of how will the bike react to different types of terrain is pretty vital for the rider.
The drop-off is another usual thing that is present on most of the downhill tracks. And it can nearly send a death note to the beginner-level rider. Specifically, when you encounter a turn at a blind edge, it becomes quite impossible for you to detect it beforehand. However, keeping calm in this type of situation is critical.
Apart from all riding body position, being confident with a cool nerve on the bike gets you to the top of your game. When you reach the drop-off location, you ideally want your bike to be at the same angle and position as it was on the ground below.
Once the front wheel leaves the edge of the drop, the bike will tip forward only if you sit confidently and even do nothing. To get enhanced control, you need to shift your core back a little, keeping the arms straight and pushing down and forward eventually with your feet only.
If you were moving at a reasonable speed before the drop-off, it would stay with the bike. And when the back wheel passes the brink of the drop, the bike will tumble to the ground. This will lead to landing uniformly on both wheels.
You’ll have to ensure the force of the impact is absorbed and controlled with your arms and legs, not allowing the bike to shudder in any direction.
Ensuring both your bike and your body are at their respective peak will guarantee down hilling a calmer and more enjoyable. These are a few tricks of the trade to ensure the best travel along the rocky path.
Over to you…
Let me know in the comments about your thrilling experience with downhill mountain bike riding. I think in future this sport is going to get more and more attention and we
I’ll be seeing a plethora of opportunities opening up for bike lovers.