The thrill of the the unknown is worth chasing

We’re all so used to taking on our favourite loop week-in week-out but there are so many fresh trails out there just waiting to be explored.

Tackling a trail you’ve never ridden before is challenging but is great for your bike handling skills and confidence. With these three easy tips on how to ride a new trail you’ll soon be seeking out fresh dirt on every ride.

1 Remember Roy

TV host Roy Walker had a catchphrase, ‘say what you see’. Try it on the trail — by talking, or at least mumbling, to yourself about what’s happening in front of you, you’ll be forced to look further ahead to find the next thing to talk about, stopping you from fixating on what’s just in front of you.

This is important because you’ll be able to see well in advance what’s ahead and make judgements on where to position yourself on the trail. The further down the trail you look, the faster you can go.

2. Slow is fast



Adjust your brake levers so the actual braking occurs further into the lever stroke — it’ll help you better modulate the brakes and prevent that nasty, grabby feeling.

Now you’re ready to go slow to be fast. It seems counter-intuitive but keeping a constant speed is better than hard braking followed by acceleration, especially on an unfamiliar trail where momentum is likely to be your friend.

Keep the brake levers covered and look for where to do your braking — no roots, loose rocks and broken sections of trail; go for solid, grippier dirt.

3. All thumbs

While you may be tempted to hold on tight for whatever might be round the next corner, it’s worth concentrating on keeping your grip firm but your thumbs free.

Not only will this avoid the dreaded death grip, which stiffens your arms and increases arm pump, but it’ll also mean your thumbs are free to operate the shifter, allowing you to be in the right gear for the next unexpected climb or descent.

UNknown trail grip tape

If you’re running a dropper post with a remote lever, having a thumb free is essential for instant saddle height adjustments. If you find that in the heat of the moment your thumb is slipping on the dropper post lever, try sticking a small patch of skateboard griptape to it for better purchase.