Although we may spend the majority of our riding time seated on the bike, we need to rise and stand over the bike when performing even basic maneuvers. This allows us to maintain balance by moving the bike under us in response to the terrain. We utilize one of two riding positions on the bike depending on the challenges that lie ahead.
A Neutral Position on the bike allows us to ride confidently over gentle or relatively easy terrain. Maybe a gradual descent down a dirt road, fire road, or field. We could encounter something unexpected. When standing over the bike in the Neutral Position, we are balanced and prepared. Here are elements of a good Neutral Position:
- Pedals level and equally weighted. One foot in front of the other creating a wide platform.
- Hips high and centered over the bottom bracket of the bike.
- Slight bend in knees to absorb bumps.
- Elbows bent out slightly for stability. Not towards the ribcage.
- Head up with eyes scanning the terrain.
- Relaxed grip on handlebars with one finger on each brake lever.
- Crouched with hips and shoulders low
- Deep bend in knees and elbows without compromising strength.
- Knees out slightly to allow for more movement of the bike between the legs.
- Eyes committed to the riding line ahead.
- Slight contraction or tensing of muscles in arms, legs, and torso.
- Our mind is confident and attentive.
As I do instruction with more riders, I find that extra attention to the Ready Position makes a huge difference. Enough that I have made changes to my own riding behavior and see benefit. When faced with a significant challenge on the trail, I now get into a Ready Position earlier. Then have an extra moment to focus on the next skill I need to execute. It is easier to remain balanced. Therefore, I am able to ride more challenging terrain faster and with less wasted energy.
Thanks for reading!
|Descending with balance, confidence, and control.|