27 Oct 2015
HOW TO RIDE SINGLETRACK FASTER THAN EVER
Everybody loves a bit of singletrack – the narrow, snaking trails where rides get fast and fun. But you need more than just a strong set of legs and lungs to be fast. In fact, the secrets to speed can be counterintuitive…
Learn not to pedal
Rocks, roots and turns can make pedalling impossible, but there’s still extra speed to be had. Pumping downslopes – by pushing down and forwards on the pedals – can give you a substantial boost. It’s all in the timing. Keep practicing – you’ll be in no doubt once you get it right, as you’ll surge forward.
Drop your saddle
You’ll lose pedalling efficiency, but gain room to lower your centre of gravity and to move independently of the bike. Both things are key to maintaining control – and that, on rough or loose ground, is actually the key to speed.
Lean the bike hard
With a road bike, you lean in to corners to keep the tires as upright as possible, but a mountain bike works the opposite way. Pushing the bike down into the corner tips it onto the shoulder of the tire – which is then forced into the dirt for grip – while your body stays relatively upright. This way, slides make the bike want to lay down underneath you (which is relatively easy to stop). Do it the road bike way, and your weight drops down the inside of the bike – and that’s hard to stop.