Video: Get Your Friends Into Mountain Biking Without Hurting Them

Mar 23, 2021
by Pinkbike Originals  


Jason Lucas coaches us on how to get our friends out riding, while considering the fact that this is their first time. Use these quick tips for your next ride with a first-timer to make sure they come back for more!








161 Comments

  • 238 2
 What? The goal isn't to show off as hard as i can?
  • 49 0
 Surely he's mistaken!
  • 42 1
 Definitely take them up all the climbs
  • 102 0
 "Dont brake"

"Just send it"

"You got this"

"Pedal Pedal Pedal"
  • 53 0
 @spro-bro: Don’t worry, it’s all downhill from here..... except the uphill parts.
  • 10 0
 @thustlewhumber: more speed!
  • 15 0
 "Dont brake"

To be fair, that is excellent advice
  • 45 0
 @thustlewhumber: "Just apply pressure, while I look for my first aid kit."
  • 7 0
 isn't that the whole point of having your SO try mountain biking?
  • 20 0
 @thustlewhumber: duuuude, you didn't pre-load, I told you to pre-load!
  • 6 0
 @kcy4130: Safety top 10. It can’t be first, or we wouldn’t be doing this.
  • 10 1
 "just pull up"
  • 18 0
 @crysvb: That's 'How to get your friends on Friday Fails.'
  • 6 0
 @crysvb: and lean back, really far
  • 7 0
 "It's only a little bit farther."
  • 12 0
 "Totally rollable."
  • 34 0
 @thustlewhumber: "just let your Ibis do the job!"
  • 9 0
 @Woody25: "To be faaiir"
  • 9 0
 @jeffpegan: A to be faaaairrrr
  • 7 0
 @jeffpegan: TO BE FAIIRRRRRR
  • 5 0
 @jeffpegan @ninesix @hornedreaper33 I'm imaging you all singing that in perfect three part harmony
  • 4 0
 @Woody25 @jeffpegan @ninesix @hornedreaper33

So you're takin' yer buddy out fer a ride the other daaaay...
  • 113 0
 Something I learned after pissing my wife off a bunch was changing the phrase from "You should do it this way" to "In that kind of situation I try this"

It gave the learning experience a more collaborative vibe.
  • 48 0
 That works in my everyday life too with my girlfriend. She still doesn't ever listen to me, but at least she doesn't hate me when we're done with whatever we're doing.
  • 12 0
 The cousin to this is, rather than "don't do that", try "things to look out for" or "here are some risks to this particular section".

Reviewing these phrases, trail sections and not walk-shaming anyone ever are keys to avoid having your wife stopped from flailing down a 75 foot cliff only by impaling herself on spiky deadfall.
  • 44 1
 I think a lot of well intentioned people also don't know how to examine what they are actually doing on the bike and translate it, which results in a lot of frustration between riders.

I was out riding once and watched this couple on the trail and one of them was having a lot of difficulty with clearing this root on a climb. The other just kept saying "LIFT YOUR FRONT WHEEL!" and the partner just kept saying "I don't know how to do that!!". I think there were almost tears. I intentionally de-gendered this because I've seen it go both ways.

Learning to ride bikes can be really frustrating, but it's even more frustrating when people act like things that are simple to them are simple to everyone and poorly communicate how to execute different skills. There are steps there, but not everyone remembers them because it's become committed to muscle memory.

Also, can we as a community agree to stop telling everyone shit advice like: "Put your weight back" and "Don't use your front brake". It's 2021, we have well balanced bikes now and can stay centered, we also have brakes that give you a lot of control.
  • 4 6
 @TheLookingGlass: sounds good. can I have her as my girlfriend? please!
  • 12 20
flag BenPea (Mar 23, 2021 at 8:00) (Below Threshold)
 @shinook: what about all the times not putting your weight back and using the front brake means certain death? We're not all on the same trails.
  • 32 0
 @BenPea: Any trail that has a "certain death" element to it is the WRONG trail for both beginners and even most moderate riders. If it's steep enough to require having your arse wayyyy out over the rear tire during the descent, then you should NOT take anyone who doesn't have the necessary experience to do so without being told to do so.

Obviously.
  • 8 0
 @shinook: this is called the "curse of expertise" and is incredibly common mistake teachers or coaches make.

We get so used to doing something it becomes second nature and in doing so we often forget what it took to learn it for ourselves.

A perfect and humbling example of the curse of expertise is try teaching 7 year olds who've never seriously watched basketball how to shoot a free throw. It's something many of us as adults take for granted but there is a lot to learn there (how to hold the ball, where to stand, not jumping on the shot, dribbling etc etc etc).

Biking is probably worse because most of us having been doing it since we were about 5-6 years old and learned skills along time ago that other adults may not possess.
  • 3 0
 @shinook: You have to be careful with the weight forward and use front brake advice. Novice riders often make large weight shifts when told to put their weight a little more forward. At least that's what happened with my brother in law, he went over the bars immediately, he hadn't mtbed in 15 years or so. Oops.
  • 32 0
 Things couples should never do together: launch boats, park RVs, teach each other how to ________ when you've been doing it a long time.

My wife went to a woman's MTB camp. She gained basic skills and confidence that we can then build on riding together. Those fees paid off in spades.
  • 1 0
 @kcy4130: I'd never tell them to put their weight forward, rather to focus on being centered.

The "put your weight back" advice to most beginners is often interpreted to shoving their arms out and forcing their butt back preemptively ahead of a feature. The result is that you roll into that feature "at the end of your rope", meaning when you come back down the other side of it, you are unable to return to a centered/balanced position and the bike has nowhere it can move under you, since you are stretched out. It also reduces front braking power.

What most people mean when they say "put your weight back" is allowing the bike to roll away and move under them, but the way it is interpreted by people that don't know better is completely different and results in more crashes than they think it prevents because they don't have the means to absorb and have no front traction

This article covers it really well:

www.pinkbike.com/news/zeps-how-to-mythbusters-position-balance-steeps-heavy-braking-2016.html

@BenPea : this probably applies to your comment also. I doubt you are "putting your weight back" when you ride the way that beginners interpret that phrase. The steeper and sketchier it is, the more you need balanced body position and front brake control
  • 1 0
 @shinook: Yeah, he was doing the arms strait, butt as far back as possible position, which in his defense was sorta the right way ride steeps back when he last rode 20 years ago. I don't remember exactly how I phrased it, but obviously not well. Centered is a good word. Oh well he was fine, going 1 mph, no big deal.
  • 1 0
 Good advice. Don't should all over the people you care about
  • 3 0
 @pourquois-pas: Canoeing together down a narrow, fast, winding, river with lots of overhanging branches is another good way to test a relationship.
  • 5 0
 Ironically my wife’s bike handling abilities improved every time I made her cry on the trail.
  • 1 0
 smartest money I ever spent was putting my wife in a skills clinic. She has now has a foundation to build off of without all the drama of me "telling her" how it do something.
  • 1 0
 @Lastpikd: (realized not a skills instructor but still wants to take the credit) you sound like you're talking about a toddler
  • 1 0
 @unrooted: Oh and her skill didn’t improve when you guys had a good ride? The irony is that you’re getting all sadistic about going out and riding a bike in the woods with a loved one. Hate to say it but I hope you’re just being a troll.
  • 1 0
 @pourquois-pas: + rent a double kayak
  • 1 0
 @pourquois-pas: why your comment has not reached 1000 up votes I do not know.
  • 1 0
 That’s just great communication in general advice. It’s amazing how subtle changes in word choice/phrasing can help any situation.
  • 1 0
 @unrooted: lol she's probably really motivated to be faster than you now, just so she can avoid you
  • 78 1
 When I bring my best friend for a ride, I just go at my normal pace, blast the DH, only stop when I need a break. When I get to the bottom of the trail I turn around and she is right there grinning ear to ear. She's a dog though, and I do have to share my water
  • 75 0
 You can't injure your friends while one a ride if you have no friends
  • 63 0
 I've gotten plenty of people to go mountain-biking without killing them. Let's see, there's my ex-wife, my ex-girlfriend, my other ex-girlfriend, my former friend, another ex-girlfriend...
  • 55 0
 My mantra when taking the wife or kids out in the trail is “it’s only bikes, bikes are fun, if you’re not having fun we’re doing something wrong” and I listen to them when they aren’t having fun. Also, I end up with a pack stuffed with snacks for the million breaks we take. But then there’s always that one rock garden, roller, or drop that gets cleaned for the first time and the joy they get is awesome. Usually it’s something I wouldn’t even notice I rode over, but to them it’s FT Hill. And relived repeatedly at post ride ice cream stop.
  • 55 1
 Flat pedals, always start them on flat pedals.
  • 38 3
 toe clips?
  • 3 13
flag nvranka (Mar 23, 2021 at 9:39) (Below Threshold)
 I mean I started on clips?
  • 1 0
 @Lukefuelex: :O Hope you're kidding! Wink
  • 12 0
 @mybaben: Usually I just weld the cleat of their clipless shoe to the pedal. You really don't want them to slip a pedal and get a shinner. Then they'll never want to ride with you again!
  • 1 1
 @goldencycle: LMAO!! Good lord!! Wink
  • 1 0
 Daggas? Right?
  • 42 0
 Is there a precursor video to this entitled, “How to make friends”. I feel like this was a more graduate level course. Thanks.
  • 36 0
 But then there won't be any Friday Fails!!
  • 3 1
 The Horror!
  • 28 0
 The canned NICA recommendation is something along the lines of: in order to get a sense of how a beginning rider feels riding over a certain feature, ride over it yourself with your arms locked rigid and eyes fixed on your front wheel. It does change the way things feel to be sure.

*edited to correct typo.
  • 1 0
 LOL!!!! That's great advice. Smile
  • 7 0
 Or you could try switching stance on the pedals and see how you fare.
  • 2 0
 As a NICA rider, I can attest to this. I watched some of my newer teammates struggle with this and this technique helped me understand the issue.
  • 32 1
 Just rent them an Ibis and let it do it’s work. They’ll be fine.
  • 27 0
 so my goal shouldn't be to flex on my friends by doing like thirty bunny hops and a bunch of endos in the pakring lot and then drop them on the climb.
  • 16 0
 No, you should ride behind them and get bored. And then pay for their beer because they don't have a cooler.
  • 2 0
 But how else will they know what their $5000+ enduro bike is capable of?
  • 24 0
 Thanks pinkbike. I will make sure to remember these tips in 6 months so my friend doesn’t break his neck again on our next ride
  • 18 0
 It's easy to forget how easy your easy trails aren't until you try to ease someone into the sport for the first time. Read that again.
  • 6 0
 Bingo. The smooth "flow" trails I ride are actually littered with rocks, roots, off-camber turns, narrow bench cuts, and the occasional drop or double. You've really got to dial it wayyy back when starting someone out. I find it also helps sometimes to put them on the nicer bike and for you to ride their crappy beginner bike (if you're the same size). Or rent them something fancy the first few times so it isn't the equipment that's holding them back.
  • 18 0
 But what if I want them dead?
  • 10 0
 It is a bit presumptuous.
  • 10 1
 Wanting someone dead is probably a good sign they shouldn't be your friend
  • 5 1
 It is just a joke
  • 9 0
 @jmtbf: But what if I owe them money?
  • 9 0
 @geephlow: then it is not a joke
  • 17 0
 STOP! Do not try to take away our Friday Fails!
  • 35 1
 The goal is to turn them into Saturday Senders!
  • 14 0
 @jasonlucas: fine. We can support that. But let ‘em go thru the Friday Fails first. It’s a vital community service
  • 3 0
 @jasonlucas: a brilliant idea to start Sunday saves! a newbie, teetering on the edge of sketchiness, having not enough experience to stay on the trial but enough basic knowledge to hang on for one banger save!
  • 1 0
 I was just talking about Sunday Saves last Sat when everyone was talking about crashing while my 14yr daughter that is new to riding was standing with us. Everyone loves a great save.
  • 12 0
 Secret of a happy long lasting relationship. NEVER teach your significant other how to do a sport. There are quality instructors out there just waiting to take your money and make their first couple of tries at something fun! An they know more than you too.
  • 3 0
 Yup, let someone else bite that bullet.
  • 1 0
 You can add to that, don't try to talk them into it unless they're interested on their own. Mountain biking is dangerous and it's not for everyone.
  • 11 0
 My first ride with my wife was pretty much everything you shouldn't do.... I just got my new to me full suspension bike and was very keen to get out and ride the intermediate tech trail. I brought the wife along with me and she was to ride my old hardtail on the trails. Being new to the area and trail network (just moved for work) I figured it would be safe to let her ride the green "beginner" trails (NOTE: these trails are half root and rock, difficulty labels arent the best in this network) and I would ride the intermediate trails and meet her where they intersect. 25min into my ride I have 6 missed calls from my wife and I pick up the 7th call, she is in tears and wants me to come find her. and her phone is nearly dead...shit.

*Queue the dramatic thunderstorm rolling in*

I power through the remaining intermediate loop, stash my bike in the parking lot and start back tracking through her loop to catch her. Just as light was fading we happened to link up primarily from just dumb luck since she didnt know which way was to the end of her loop.

Fortunately, I got her out without injury just plenty of frustrations....

In summary:
-Wrong equipment (medium bike for her a 5'1" is too big)
-No supervision
-Wrong trail section to start
-I totally had something to prove while on my ride


Frankly, I am just surprised she didnt slap me with divorce papers then and there, instead she stuck it out and shreds with me all the time.
  • 10 0
 If you're a teenager, just get them to do one radical thing on the ride and I guarantee you've got yourself a riding buddy. 1 foot of air is what got me hooked
  • 13 7
 What? You have friends who don't ride?
"Friends" = those I ride with. Co-workers = those I get paid to be around a few hours a day (between rides). Family = those I was born/married into and see on holidays (unless they ride). And yes, I did marry a friend, a hot Cat 1 racer who can hang with the guys on and off road and whom I still ride with after 23 years of marriage.
  • 20 0
 stop bragging you lucky bastard
  • 2 0
 I married a collegiate National champion who went on to train at the Olympic center. We had tons of fun... then we had our second child 9 years ago. Been trying to get her back on a bike since. Even built her a Yeti Betti last summer. Kids are riding now which is helping but still.... You’re super lucky... and maybe haven’t had kids yet! Lol
  • 7 0
 To properly initiate them you have to take them down the hardest trail on your mountain (preferably a double black if not a red triangle)
  • 8 0
 Alternative: They get killed in the gnar and you get a free bike.
  • 4 0
 beginner bike tho :/
  • 2 0
 @mariomtblt: maybe he has rich parents?
  • 8 1
 if you started mtb in the 80s, you quickly accepting getting hurt was part of it. largely as you couldnt stop
  • 1 0
 I agree this is true but its not something you probably want to point out or have happen to beginner riders
  • 9 2
 Easiest way to have success is to bring a friend with a bmx background.
  • 10 0
 That's the easiest way to feel inadequate!
  • 5 0
 I'm trying to flex on my friend here not have him flex on me haha.
  • 5 0
 @ddmonkey: seriously, my BMX riding buddy was towing my ass through jump lines his second day at the bike park.
  • 3 0
 It really helps to jam up climbs as fast as possible and then turn and wait for your friend while they huff and puff to keep up. Then clip in as soon as they catch up to you to rest.
  • 3 0
 I'm having fun coaching my girlfriend, just need patient and know when to push her into doing things she's not comfortable and when to tell her to walk.
  • 4 0
 Anyone else keeps thinking of the Turbonegro song?
www.youtube.com/watch?v=o6EFg5eWWlM

All my friends are dead Cool
  • 1 0
 My sister and her friend are coming to town in the summer. They want to rent bikes and try mountain biking. I'm wondering if I should take them to the bike park so we can ride a ton or take them on a trail and risk tiring them out in 20 minutes on the climb.
  • 2 0
 From experience, take them to the park first. We did a group ride with my friends girlfriend who freaked out and almost threw up because of the sloped mountain side we were on along with developing bike skills. Some of this was due to a fear of heights and not biking (WI transplanted to CO). I convinced her to go to a local bike park with us next time and she was able to session some stuff while I watched and gave pointers. Went over a lot better and enjoyed it.
  • 1 0
 I’ll second the park from experience as well. The greens and eventually mild blues are awesome for beginners who don’t have the base fitness or desire to “earn their turns” and just want to have fun.
  • 1 0
 I can't overstate the value of coaching for new riders. If it's available, it's the best for all involved. There's a huge difference between knowing how to do something and knowing how to teach something. I'm very spoiled to have a couple very talented coaches local to me that are also personal friends of mine. Giving a friend an hour or two long session with them gets them further than a couple days of me trying to teach beginner skills.
  • 1 0
 Seems like mtb can be a relationship stress test. I've seen a friend's wife have a panic attack in the middle of a ride. Also seen a guy encouraging his gf to climb from up above, she looks at him, turns around and starts riding back down.
  • 2 0
 Two things:

Good luck finding that buddy a bike right now. Hope you got a loaner in the shed.

I would never take a beginner down a blue trail on the shore. Your shits cray up there.
  • 1 0
 I have my niece so afraid of the front brake, I might have over preached that one LOL.

I still don't think she really knows how to "ride a mountain bike" and that is definitely my fault.
She rides the lift all day and clears all the jumps so that makes me mad.
  • 4 0
 I ride with a guy who comes from bmx, he is not only deathly afraid of a front brake, but also thinks its completely unnecessary.
  • 3 0
 literally the best thing about riding with friends who dont mtb is to show them a drop that they think no human could do and then send it like a super hero
  • 1 0
 I remember when I went to rent a bike for my GF at the time and the shop didn't bother to do any adjustments for her. Suspension was probably set to 85kg but she's maybe 51kg..so basically sitting on a hardtail. Obviously depends on the place, but my overall experience with rentals has not been the best.
  • 1 0
 I could have used this video years ago. Took my girlfriend at the time, now wife, to a local trail she fell into a river and dislocated her elbow. Paramedics had to help her out of the woods. She still wants to bike. Good times on the trail!
  • 1 0
 It can be hard for those of us that grew up riding to truly know what it is like for a new rider. I know I have failed a number of times at this and felt really bad about it. I picked trails I thought were straight forward but created more challenges than I knew. When my wife was getting into it I took her down a trail, she fell on her head, and I just didn't want to be part of it after that so signed her up for a women's riding camp which she loved and hooked her in the sport. I also remember telling people "It's actually a little easier if you go faster- that way you bump over stuff and don't get hung up in it." Made sense to me. Then I moved and learned how to ski as a 34 year old and people tried to tell me the same thing. Totally useless if you don't feel safe holding or controlling speed. Knowing how to ride and teaching how to ride are two totally different thing. I've since taken my level one coaching and have gotten a lot better at seeing outside of myself into the experience of someone else. Empathy!
  • 1 0
 I have to turn off the gas a bit going with my wife. She gets frustrated that I can climb longer and descend faster... well, before winter, so maybe we will be even in the spring.
  • 3 0
 I’ve had zero success over the years introducing new friends to mountain biking.
  • 8 0
 And you have to make new friends all the time after killing them off Frown
  • 3 0
 What was the trail in the video? I have previously failed in beginner trail selection.
  • 8 0
 Mostly Empress Bypass on Seymour! It’s a great one for beginners.
  • 2 1
 mmoon: "Hmmm, 'Ladies Only'...that sounds like a mellow one!"
  • 1 0
 @geephlow: I didn’t realize bobsled was blue until we got to it. I should have gone to empress bypass for sure.
  • 2 0
 All good advice, but the big question is how Tom got on with his intro to hockey equipment. Nice touch with the Episode 4 original stormtrooper theme.
  • 4 0
 @iammarkstewart I think we need a spin-off "how to get your friends into Hockey without killing them". I would appreciate that very much.
  • 2 0
 @Tombrad: This is not possible.
  • 2 0
 @Tombrad , @DirkMcClerkin is correct even though he's not Canadian. It's Canada, it's hockey...someone's gonna get hurt realll bad...
  • 4 1
 its already going to be hard enough to find tires, tell your friends to take up mountain boarding!
  • 3 0
 Bradshaw! How do you keep those beauty hairdo so water repellent? Never-Wet spray? Car wax? Muc-off?
  • 2 0
 That's Bom Tradshaw, and I suspect it's a dangerous amount of bourbon and cola....
  • 4 0
 just lean back and let the bike do the work "
  • 2 0
 I take newbies on " easy" North shore trails. Generally that's the last first ride and the last ride. Or they take to gnar like ducks on water.
  • 4 0
 Rule number one is STFU and let them ride dont judge them
  • 3 0
 Giving it your all: Tom spraying water all over himself while it's snowing Eek
  • 1 1
 Great video . i was ready to trash the video for presenting a subjective view of what the author THINKS mountain biking is to HIM. But to my pleasant surprise he didn't do that at all . a very reasonable and sane approach for a beginner . I'm still a beginner even though i started riding my bike in the hills of marin county in the fifties . i just never graduated to the jumping , flipping , high speed descents because it never interested me. So i'm glad to see that there are riders that realize the broad range of riding styles ,,, still.
  • 3 0
 You mean, I can’t make learn the hard way my I had to?
  • 2 0
 I've found some friends respond great to a trial by fire style introduction but if you're uncertain don't do it haha
  • 1 0
 There are guys like that for sure. I took a workmate out on my old bike; a generally fit/sporty type so he asked me not to go too easy on him and show him a "not boring" trail. At which point he proceeded to try going way faster than he should haha. I felt bad for a moment because he was battered from all the crashes by the time we got to the bottom but turned out he loved every minute of it Smile
  • 2 0
 My friend bought an enduro bike... But he prefers the road, no matter how hard I try to convince him how much fun MTB is. Frown
  • 2 0
 I would have liked to feel concerned about this topic, but I have no friends Smile
  • 1 0
 Isn't this the part where the Black trails features get removed and made into green trails cause ol mate on his $20 Vinnes bike can roll over it on his first attempt.
  • 4 2
 Everyone I've taken has gotten hurt and hasn't been back.
  • 1 0
 That sqeaky sound while he was pedaling had me frantically reaching for my grease gun. Diabolical.
  • 3 1
 Pinkbike really wants to sabotage their friday fails here.
  • 2 0
 Get your friends into mtb, and they will never have money again
  • 3 0
 "Face down in a bush"
  • 7 0
 Are we still talking about mountain biking?
  • 3 0
 all my friends are fat
  • 3 2
 E-bikers?
  • 2 0
 How does one have friends who don't bike, though?!
  • 1 0
 @jasonlucas you forgot - have plan for beverages and/or food immediately after!
  • 1 0
 I have a friend that has a brand new, one ride bike for sale. Not his cup of Joe..
  • 2 0
 awww, he looks so happy
  • 1 0
 my intro to riding the Shore was Upper and Lower Oil Can. ????????
  • 1 0
 I need a hair cut! Thanks for the reminder
  • 1 0
 Hurt them!! not even one more
  • 1 0
 "You will be fineeee i promise" crashes:
  • 1 0
 That CCM helmet is money. And oh so Canadian
  • 1 1
 More riders, less components available, sorry no friends on powder day.

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