How To Progress Your MTB Skills | Blog | Bike Glendhu
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How To Progress Your Mountain Biking Skills

If you’re a beginner to intermediate rider who’s looking to level up in confidence, tidy your technique, and refine your ride, then this blog is for you! Mountain biking is a learnable skill, and it’s only natural to hit a plateau when you’re repeating the same old, same old.

Here we outline some tools you can use to progress your mountain biking, so that you can experience that thrill of newness again!


Pre-Ride, Re-Ride, Free-Ride

If you’re still cruising blues and curious (or hella scared) to try out a black run, here’s what we suggest; pre-ride, re-ride, free-ride! It’s a framework used to warm you up to a new trail so that you can ride it safely while having a ton of fun.

Pre-ride: Scope it out first! You don’t have to send it blindly down a black… Unless you want to, of course. But we’d recommend doing a solid recce first. The intention with pre-ride is to approach a new trail (very) slowly to get comfortable with its technical features. You could hop off at certain points to do a more thorough inspection if needed (stick to the side, so that you don’t interfere with other riders).  This is your opportunity to look at the scope of the trail and plan how you’re going to navigate your way down it. Call it mental preparation!

Re-ride: Once you’ve done a couple of recce laps, you’ll start to feel comfortable with the upcoming features and re-ride is about approaching the trail with a slow but steady pace to build muscle memory when hitting various features. This builds confidence and allows you to trial and error parts of the trail safely. Here’s where you can make those smaller adjustments to your timing and technique, this will allow you to feel more comfortable on the trail.

Free-ride: Now it’s time to hit the trail at pace with your sendy (and well-prepared) attitude. Having done the groundwork first, you’ll be feeling confident to cruise the trail in full flow and enjoy it!

Progress your mountain biking skills


MTB Coaching

Let’s be honest, doing everything yourself is hard yakka, this also applies to figuring out how to be a better mountain biker. Investing in a coach or skills lab is by far the best thing you can do to progress. There are a few ways you can do this; you can hire a coach to work with you one-on-one or you can join a group coaching program in your local area. There are unique benefits to both options, while one-on-one may offer you more tailored, focused support, group coaching can be fun, and social and offer a diverse range of technical teachings to suit the group.

At Bike Glendhu, our coaching sessions are delivered by the crew at BlackFox Ride. With decades of combined coaching experience, everyone learns something new, from the absolute beginner to the established rider. Check out our packages online and book a session here.

Mountain Bike Coaching in Wanaka


Get Your Race On

Entering a race is a social, challenging, and adrenaline-spiking way to build confidence on your bike! Confidence is one of things where you can’t just sit around thinking about it… You can only access it through action. The doing is the knowing they say! By putting yourself out there and stepping out of your comfort zone, you are actively expanding your belief system of what’s possible. If you’re someone who has a case of the ol’ classic imposter syndrome, we wrote a pretty epic blog about how to ride without your inner critic – check it out here.

In the meantime, if you’re curious about racing and unsure where to start, we’d recommend a enduro-style race. If you’re climbing hills and riding down them on a MTB, you’re essentially already doing an enduro. Learn about enduro racing here.


Join A Bike Gang

You are a mix of the top five people you spend time with, so if you want to get better at biking, surround yourself with better bikers! Don’t worry, there’s no need to go deleting friends on Facebook, just designate sometime in the cal for new social activities that other riders go to. There are always little tips and tricks to be shared amongst friends, so get out there and get networking!

Bike events are great places to meet new peeps, check out our Events page to see if any upcoming community events tickle your fancy. There are always other options like MTB community groups on Facebook that you can seek out in your local area.

Mountain bike events in Wanaka


Expand Your Horizons

Bike Glendhu is designed for riders of all levels, so once you’ve progressed up the trail ranks here, you can start turning your attention yonder to some of the heavy hitters in the area such as Cardrona Bike Park (Cardrona Valley) and Skyline (Queenstown) which are built for more advanced riders.

It’s good to ride in environments that challenge you but don’t push yourself too far out of your skill threshold, this is when accidents happen (which can knock confidence). Now is a great time to circle back to the pre-ride, re-ride, free-ride ethos, regardless of what you’re rolling into. It’s always good to gauge the scope first and take it at a pace that suits your skill level.

Mountain biking in Queenstown


And remember folks, while practice makes better, what truly inspires growth is enjoyment! Make sure you’re having fun along the way and don’t put too much pressure on yourself. We’re always here for a fun lap or serious send and have a range of trails to suit your mood on any given day. Check out our trail map here or book your day pass online to come and get amongst the action.