Riding without crashing
You’ve got to commit yourself – if there is any doubt and you hesitate then you just increase your chance of having an off. Also get your weight back as far as you can go on the tricky steep stuff. I find a dropper post is great for this and I get my weight as far back as I possibly can when stuff gets steep and bumpy – the saddle is literally pressed into my gut sometimes. Also learn to pop quick manuals. I can’t manual for a long period – maybe 5 seconds or so, but that is more than enough if you come up against an unexpected step or small drop to just pop your front wheel up and roll off the step on your back wheel so you land flatter. That’s the theory anyway, but has worked for me so far!
All sounds very simple when you say it like this, the reality is different I know!
Oh, and build up speed slowly – When you see pro’s and good people at it they’ve ususally sessioned runs many times and know them like the back of their hands. They make it look easy because they’ve practiced (obviously it helps that they are great riders too).Posted 3 years agosmett72Subscriber
In particular – Stop judging rides by how technical they are and try to enjoy just being out.
Completely agree with teasel on this.
Also on the different challenge front, I get just as much satisfaction from getting to the top of a climb as I doing descending it.Posted 3 years agoeuainSubscriber
Glad you’re back up and going!
Definitely enjoy the scenery more – long summer evenings now so lots of potential to forget the gnar and head out into the bigger hills and stunning scenery. Loads of routes out and about that are not too technical but you quickly end up in the middle of great countryside.
Do you have a road bike? A great way to get some strength back without too many of the tumbles that are so common in MTB.Posted 3 years agoiaincSubscriber
I think your 3 points are pretty spot on. I am in similar situation after hopitalising crashes in Dec and Feb. I must admit I’ve done a lot more on road and cx bike that MTB since as definately lost some bottle. I wish I could pop a 5 second manual too :).
I have realised at age 48 that keeping both wheels on the ground is the way forward, so less steep techy stuff for me now and moving forward. More scenery rides etcPosted 3 years agojonathanSubscriber
Sometimes I’ve found it’s not what you ride but how you ride – and I think your points pretty much cover it.
Cut out anything that makes you/encourages you to go faster than you’re happy with. But this doesn’t necessarily mean riding less techy stuff (obviously within limits) but you can concentrate of riding them really well and controlled, just slower than you perhaps would do normally. It lets you explore lines a bit and break down your riding – which often feeds back into better riding when you want to pick up speed again.
Just exploring is great too – especially on your own (with no one to moan about the route and finding a dead end, or riding the same bit twice etc). Time on the bike is what counts, but spending some of it exploring new trails (even just local ones) and new places means more info in the bank for later.
You can definitely think of it as a positive thing rather than just something that’s “slowing you down”Posted 3 years ago
Any good tips for minimising the risk of crashing whilst riding off-road?
A couple of months ago I stacked it and broke my arm. I’ve still got a fair bit of physio to look forward to in order to restore the full range of movement, but I’ve got enough back now for basic trail riding. The problem is that the doctors reckon it will be at least 6 months before the fracture is strong enough to withstand even a small fall.
Having seen the impact that the break (and things like not being able to drive) had on those around me I really don’t want to be back in the same position in a few weeks.
Obviously nothing in life is without risk, but I reckon it should be possible to keep riding but reduce the risk to a level that I consider acceptable. The strategies I’ve identified so far include:
1. Ride on my own. This isn’t a big hardship as that’s basically what I prefer anyway, but I also know that, if I ride with anybody better than me (which is pretty much everybody) then I find it impossible to resist trying to follow them down stuff that I’m not sure about. Basically, it’s much easier to make myself walk a section when there is nobody watching 🙂 Those sections will still be there when the arm is back to full strength.
2. Dump Strava. The detailed breakdown of segments and times with leaderboards tends to encourage me to think about time more than how well I was riding and I can always go down a section faster by taking more risks.
3. Look for different challenges and pleasures. Stop judging rides by how technical they are and try to enjoy just being out. Maybe ride some more real mountains (we’ve got plenty up here).
Any more?Posted 3 years ago
Thanks for all the supportive comments folks. I must admit, I expected at least one MTFU by now 🙂
Just to pick up on a few points (although I’ve read and taken them all on board):
euain: Do you have a road bike?
The funny thing is that, until a couple of years ago, I was 100% a roadie. Rapha kit, Audax, Etape du Tour, I loved them all. But since discovering the trails my desire to ride on the road has dropped right off. Maybe it is time to dust off that road bike though. In ten years of riding the Aberdeenshire roads I only crashed twice and both times was on ice.
jedi: anyone who thinks hooning down through trees is a safe thing to do is mental
You’re not wrong there mate. Mental, but also addictive 🙂 That’s the problem I guess. I need to kick the habit for a bit. But only for a bit. I’m clear (in my own mind at least) that my 3 point plan isn’t supposed to be a permanent thing. It’s just a case of getting through to Christmas without re-breaking the arm. Then I can go back to being an idiot 🙂
smett72: I get just as much satisfaction from getting to the top of a climb as I doing descending it.
So do I if I’m honest. Perhaps I just need to stop feeling guilty about that.
By the way, I deliberately left skills off my list. It stands to reason that some skills can be used to get you out of trouble. But we are very good at risk compensation and I’ve not seen any evidence that more skilled riders crash any less often than less skilled ones. If anything you just tend to crash at higher speed as you get better. I think that what is required is a (temporary) change of mindset to allow myself to enjoy riding within my limits, whatever they may be. Of course it may be that, by slowing down and focusing more on how I’m riding rather than how fast I’m going, my skills may improve just as much as if I were permanently pushing my envelope. But that would be a bonus and isn’t the purpose of the exercise.Posted 3 years ago
trail_rat: stupid as this sounds but – learning to crash will help you not injure your self
I think there is a lot of truth in this. However, I think I need to let the fracture get back to full strength before practicing my falls 🙂
onewheelgood: Maybe a session with Jedi will help you stop crashing?
If I ever find myself down that end of the country with time to spare I’ll certainly give Tony a call. It just looks like a fun way to spend a few hours, if nothing else 🙂Posted 3 years agoioloMember
Don’t be tense on a bike.Posted 3 years ago
Let the bike do the work. Be a bit like a rag doll passenger.
Don’t hold on tight to the grips.
Always look ahead on the trail. If you look down at the front wheel you won’t see the hazzard until it’s too late.
Ride more. The fitter you become the easier it gets.dang100Member
Also get your weight back as far as you can go on the tricky steep stuff. I find a dropper post is great for this and I get my weight as far back as I possibly can when stuff gets steep and bumpy – the saddle is literally pressed into my gut sometimes
up to a point – for really steep stuff yes but I’ve recently been finding more control and grip if I have my weight further forward than feels natural. if your front wheel is washing out you probably have your weight too far back.Posted 3 years agojonathanSubscriber
OK people – read the post at the top, not the thread title. He’s not asking for technical riding tips, he’s not even suggesting he crashes too much. He’s looking for ways to minimise the risk of crashing whilst his broken arm heals.
A roadie would be on the rollers.. but he needs more interesting suggestions than that!Posted 3 years agost colinSubscriber
It depends on your own level of riding. Falling off is part of the sport I guess. I usually ride with 20% of my limits most times I ride and that will ultimately involve a few spills. Knowing how to fall helps, but only when you know it’s coming. Enjoying it is the main thing, no matter your skill set.Posted 3 years agomaxtorqueMember
After breaking myself last year, then trying to get back to my normal full speed probably too soon, and crashing really quite a lot, this year i’m doing it differently:
1) Get my skills nailed first. Thanks to Tony and some coaching, I definitely now know what i SHOULD be doing in any given riding situation, even if i can’t do it yet.
2) Aim to be CONSISTENT not FAST: Forget about going fast, ride at a consistent pace that allows you time to ensure you are applying your skills in the correct way at the correct time. Until you absolutely can instinctively “do the right thing” every time going fast is bad news
3) Work on your fitness, especially core strength, both on and off the bike if possible. Those showy “Moves” take muscle, and as you get tired, you loose some co-ordination. If you are going fast at that point, it can end in tears
4) Ride. A lot, in as many different places with as many different people as possible! Important this bit. Those Pros you see hucking over cliffs or 60foot booters or whatever, they didn’t just start doing that on day 1. Lots of practice is needed, working up a little bit at a time. And by riding new trails to you, you learn to start LOOKING correctly (easy to forget on your local and well known trails), and this encourages a natural, relaxed and neutral position on the bike, ready for what ever the trail might throw at you next 😉
If you do this, suddenly, without realising it, you WILL be going FAST too! Watch the Pro’s again, they look smooth and effortless on the bike, because they are instinctively doing the right thing at the right time. When that happens, FAST just becomes fast, and you can then allow you mind to move forwards up the trail, working with is coming next, and not what is happening now.
As of today, i am definitely riding better than i have ever done, and more importantly i know exactly where my limits, weaknesses and skills lie, which is important for staying on the bike and not crashing.
My jumping still sucks, but at least i know that and can try to improve 😉
And i guess, i should add, all that^^ sounds a bit clinical, and although it is worth going into things like this with a clear mind and a clear intention, most of the time i’m just enjoying riding my bike. Having some objectives on a ride doesn’t stop you having fun!Posted 3 years agonemesisSubscriber
How often did you crash before you broke your arm? If it was regularly then clearly it makes sense to be looking at changing your riding for the moment.
If not, you could make things worse if you consciously try to change your riding. Just something to think about.Posted 3 years ago
Don’t try so hard.
I went through a similar thing and have commented on here once or twice already. I narrowed my problem down to trying to blast through everything and hoping the bike gets me through it, thinking that was what “riding on the edge” meant.
I now focus at riding more composed, being smoother, riding further back from “the edge” and – to be frank – I’m no slower a rider for it. I just turned it all back down from 11 and then slowly turned it back up again.
I think I’m a better rider because of the experience.Posted 3 years agoARTSubscriber
A couple of months ago I stacked it and broke my arm. I’ve still got a fair bit of physio to look forward to in order to restore the full range of movement, but I’ve got enough back now for basic trail riding.
Me too! Here’s what I’m doing.
First ride last weekend – was flat, non-techy riding, just blooming great to be back out on two wheels quite frankly. Just about to go out for a ‘pootle round the block’. Literally a bit of lanes, gentle bridleway, and tracks. So riding, but nothing that involves too much impact or potential for unplanned dismounts cause I can feel the limits pretty quickly. I expect to build up gradually.
Once I’ve got a bit of strength and stamina back (so turbo for the legs, some yoga, gym etc for core and the other bits, when I’m allowed to lift weights) I’ll be off on a skills course. This isn’t cause I’ve forgotten what to do – I’ve been riding 20 years and have done lots of skills stuff in the past – it’s just that I can really see the value in going back to basics while you are building the confidence back up. All the pros ‘rehab’ themselves back into riding – no reason we should be any different.
Plus what they said ^^^ sometime you really do need to slow down to go faster. Going slow and concentrating on ‘form’ and actually the raw pleasure of being back out on a bike will be plenty.
Healing vibes 🙂Posted 3 years agoscoobmwSubscriber
Awesome threadPosted 3 years ago
Great three points you raised. Suspect in identifying three things yourself you’ve done the job already 🙂
On the question you asked – I think you have a great opportunity to practice practice for now, knowing you don’t want to be going full speed. Just look at the things you think you should be consolidating maybe an do them at 80%, embedding all those skills again. Just a thought re a different goal for a few months.
jonathan: OK people – read the post at the top
Thanks Jonathan, I appreciate what you are trying to do although I’m sure the advice on skills was given with the best intentions. It seems intuitively obvious that, if you improve your skills, you can use that improvement to reduce your chances of crashing. The problem is that, in practice, most of us don’t do that. As we get more skilled we just ride more technical trails (or ride the same trails faster). So, we tend to keep the risk of crashing about the same but the consequences get worse.
So, what I’m really interested in here is how you get yourself into a mindset where you can enjoy riding tamer trails more slowly. Besides my three point plan I suspect that it is also important to put a time limit on the process. That way you can tell yourself that you are not wimping out. It’s not a matter of not having the nerve, it is a planned period of rehabilitation, designed to put you in a better position to attack those tougher trails in the end. After all, they are not going anywhere.
A few people asked how often I crash. The truth is, not that often but it depends on which bike I’m riding and brings me to a question that I’ve been deliberately avoiding, namely, what bike to use for the rehab phase?
When I broke my arm I was riding (or to be more accurate, had just exited) my Five. I built this bike up last September and I think I’m right in saying that this was my first crash on the Five. That was part of the problem. It is so forgiving that I was starting to think that it didn’t matter what I did, it would always get me through.
On the other hand, my FF29 is a bit like a thoroughbred racehorse. When you’ve got it under control it is fantastically fast, but most of the time it just wants to throw you into the bushes. In fact I’ve recently picked up a secondhand Cotic Solaris frame and am in the process of transferring everything over from the FF29, to see whether the Solaris is a bit less flighty.
In theory I think a hardtail 29er should be the better rehab bike. The bigger wheels don’t get tripped up so easily. I tend to ride the hardtail more slowly over technical stuff. The extra feedback should help in developi9ng those core skills that I undoubtedly lack and I don’t feel such an idiot bimbling along a forest track or walking a technical section as I do on the Five. However, so far, experience has tended to contradict that theory with the Five resulting in far fewer crashes than the FF29 and I rather suspect that the bike is irrelevant to this discussion. It’s more just about getting in the right frame of mind.Posted 3 years agojambalayaSubscriber
At 51 I try and crash as infrequently as possible ! Ride with control and composure (as Chiefguru says), those are actually skills I started to develop after a session with Tony (Jedi). We can all go fast, doing so under control is the key. I would suggest you focus on being in control and build the speed as your confidence and skills improve. Being nervous means you’ll crash more. Tony pointed out how my weight (body position) and visual skills changed when out of my comfort zone leading to less control leading to … a crash ! Look at tree, ride into tree. Been there done that. It’s a balance as being confident and composed enough to ride certain features with the right amount of speed helps a lot
Book a session with Tony, he will be perfect for you and where you are.
Forget Strava, if you want to track your ride use Endomondo. I would only use Strava to track a climb, if you want to test yourself downhill enter a race.Posted 3 years agoVan HalenMember
1) you will always crash at some point.
2) you may or may not hurt yourself.
3) there is not much (other than learning to crash – which is a painful process in itself) you can do about the outcome of crashes.
adrenalin is addictive. you can ride within yourself but every now and again its fun to do something stupid.Posted 3 years ago
As we get more skilled we just ride more technical trails (or ride the same trails faster). So, we tend to keep the risk of crashing about the same but the consequences get worse.
Not sure I agree. Developing riding skills is not just about riding more technical trails or riding faster. The key thing is riding with less reliance on luck and hope to get you through. Any fool can point a £3k bike down a pretty technical trail and hold on until they get to the other side. Skilled riders can do it with utmost confidence they are in total control and can respond to any unexpected events that might cause non-skilled riders to crash.
Case in point is how many “ordinary” riders hoon down the Fort William DH track week in week out. I suspect a lot of them get down more by chance and fancy technology than by skill.
Don’t over-think it. Lots of us have been where you are now. Give it time and your mindset will shift and you will once more enjoy the pleasure of just riding. Don’t give up. Just ride.
Trust me, your story sounds so, so similar to minePosted 3 years agogazcMember
OP – i found going back to the basics, riding a rigid ss bike on local/fun trails really helped me brush up my bike handling skills. not necessarily trying to go faster, but trying to improve line choice, momentum and ejoying the ride. maybe you ride a rigid ss bike anyway, maybe not. but even doing this definitely helped me on my full susser for bigger/more tech stuff. if you have a hardtail/hack/commuter already this would do. no need to buy anything newPosted 3 years ago
Thanks again folks. I suspect this thread is drawing to a natural conclusion, but I just wanted to point out that it’s not a problem with having fun. In fact it’s rather the opposite.
ART’s post reminds me very much of where I was a few weeks back. For the first few rides it hurt just to hold onto the bars. There was no chance of pumping the bars, shifting my weight back or doing anything more than riding along slowly. But the sheer joy of riding again after a couple of months off meant that was enough. The problem is that now, unless I really try and muscle the bike about, I don’t actually feel much pain riding and it is getting harder and harder to resist just going for it. However, I know that if I keep pushing it then at some point in the next month or two I’m going to crash and, if the doctors are to be believed, that will probably result in being back off the bike for another couple of months (not to mention the inconvenience for the rest of the family). It was bad enough not being able to ride in February and March. Not being able to ride in June and July doesn’t bear thinking about.Posted 3 years ago
I know that if I keep pushing it then at some point in the next month or two I’m going to crash
Therein lies the problem (and a familiar one at that). You’re assuming that if you keep pushing you’re going to crash. With that attitude you probably will crash. Keep it steady until your attitude changes.
Not being able to ride in June and July doesn’t bear thinking about
You’re in control of your own destiny.Posted 3 years ago
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