We asked professionals from the world of mountain biking to give their number one piece of advice for mountain biking beginners. Tracy Moseley, Jérôme Clementz, Polly Henderson and Dan Milner each have a unique angle on what it takes to make it in the sport.
Tracy, one of the most successful female mountain bikers of all time, began her downhill racing career in 1994. Since then she has won several competitions including multiple World Championships, three Enduro Series wins and seven wins in the British National Downhill Championship.
“Make sure you ride in different types of terrain and with different people as much as you can. The variation of styles in both ride and rider will help to keep challenging your skills.”
Jérôme, an integral member of the Cannondale Overmountain team, is a hugely successful racer. He is a three-time champion of the French Enduro Series, the 2015 European Enduro Champion and the 2013 Enduro World Champion.
“Always be prepared when you head out for a ride. Whether it’s for a 1 hour spin or for a multi-day bikepacking trip, plan your ride and make sure you bring with you what’s needed.
Mountain biking is an outdoor activity that you enjoy the most when you know you’re covered if something happens. That doesn’t mean you need to carry everything all the time, just the right kit at the right time.
For a short ride I take the minimum; water, spare tube, pump, multi-tool and a windbreaker. This way, I know I can make it home at any time. For longer rides I carry some food, cash, a rain jacket and derailleur cable. For a multi-day trip I carry a bigger backpack but try to stay below 8kg to make sure I can still tackle some gnarly trails.”
Polly is a 17 year old cross country and Enduro mountain biker who has already achieved so much. She joined her first team at the age of 14 and has been competing at the highest level in her age categories since. In 2018 she became the U21s British Enduro Champion.
“Ride your bike because you love it! If you want to compete don’t get too caught up in the competition. Just try to relax and enjoy it and remember to make the most of the stunning scenery.
That being said, it’s also about pushing your own limits. There are challenges every time I ride but overcoming these challenges has helped me become a better rider and hopefully, a better person!”
Dan Milner is a unique figure in the world of MTB. He has combined his passion for the sport with a life-long career in adventure and sport photography/ journalism. His work has taken him on shoots and rides from Ethiopia to Afghanistan and beyond.
“My biggest piece of advice would be to not stress about your bike specs too much.
Focus on getting your technique dialed instead. A solid technique will save your ass more times than the most expensive componentry ever could.”
Are you a beginner with questions? Or do you have some sage advice to impart? Comment below and join the conversation.