Mountain biking is a great way to build and increase your bike handling skills. The ever changing and sometimes technical nature of the trails help to improve & develop fast reflexes and pedalling skills. These skills transfer directly to the road and can make you a better descender.
Of course, you can change your rides on the road bike, but during the off season there is nothing better than getting away from the traffic. Having to ride with cars & lorries on the winter roads is not only an inconvenience, the weather conditions increase the hazards. Mountain biking is a welcome escape from this and means you will not be breathing in vehicle emissions. The pure nature of mountain biking means that you are required to react to the ever-changing terrain i.e. accelerate over an obstacle or climb that sudden hill, which in turn builds power and strength.
Change can be as good as a rest & riding off road can be beneficial for triathletes and road cyclists. More training options may also be psychologically invigorating.
If you are not already mountain biking, look at getting out this off season and giving it a try and see if you can gain some if not all of the below benefits…
- Improved Bike Skills: Riding off-road helps you to develop bike-handling skills, which translates to use on the roads. Learning to manoeuver around tight bends, rocks and keeping your balance all help to increase your riding abilities.
- Improved Power & Strength: Mountain biking requires explosive bursts of power to accelerate out of corners and push up steep, sharp hills without losing momentum. These short bursts of maximal effort also come in handy when accelerating to overtake.
- Improved Core Strength: Maintaining balance on slippery terrain and obstacles really activates the abdominal and back muscles, making you a stronger all-round rider.
- Improved Pedalling Technique: Mountain biking helps to polish your pedalling technique as you need a smooth, efficient pedalling action to maintain traction on loose surfaces – you should aim to achieve a balanced circular motion.
- Increased Awareness: The trails can be very unpredictable. They can twist, turn and quickly transition from a hill to a descent which requires you to react quickly. This in turn increases your awareness and tests your ability to adapt to obstacles.
Improved Confidence & Skills Descending: Downhill mountain biking is a real test of nerves and bike control, however once you’ve mastered it on the trails, then road descents will be less intimidating.
A change of scenery can really help to reinvigorate your love of riding both physically and mentally.
Mountain biking can take you to some beautiful places a road bike couldn’t, such as, forests, woodlands and mountains. So embrace the scenery and leave the traffic behind!
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