3 Essential Skills for Beginner Mountain Bikers

Katy Curd shows us three things we can practice in the back garden that will make the world of difference to our mountain biking skills

If you are planning on hitting the trails for the very first time or perhaps you are looking to improve and develop your skills on the trails, there a couple of things that will make the world of difference. We enlisted the help of current 4X World Champion, Katy Curd, to run through them:

60 Seconds with Katy Curd 4x World Champion


Positioning, ie your position on the bike will make a huge difference no matter what level of trail you are riding. Even the tiniest changes can make a big difference when it comes to carrying speed and float through the trails.

Katy Curd demonstrates the ideal position on the bike. From here you can easily move forward and back, side to side in order to conquer tricky terrain and obstacles

Here are the main things to remember with regard to position:

1. Keep your pedals level and stand up as tall as you can

2. The majority of your weight should be on your feet. If you were to let go of the bars you should still be standing.

3. Do not let your backside drop too far back, or forward for that matter. When riding downhill, your arms should be bent with your chin over your stem.

Don’t be tempted to swing your bottom out over the saddle going downhill instead bend your arms and keep your chin over the stem

4. Your front wheel should be light so keep the pressure off. This means the bike will skip nicely through obstacles etc.

5. Find that loose grip. You may be scared but gripping onto your handlebars for dear life is not the answer. Keep that grip lose so your body can absorb shock.


Becoming more comfortable on your bike will ultimately make you a better rider. You should practice moving forward and back on your bike and then from side to side.

Katy says that practising your movement on the bike will give you confidence when it comes to learning other skills

This may seem pretty basic but is actually fundamental in order to succeed a mastering a wealth of other skills.

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Speeding down new trails can be a pretty scary prospect so us mere mortals tend to go for the clutching brakes for dear life approach. But it is far better practice to learn to stop quickly and become confident at it.

Practising your braking will give you an understanding of your control on the bike. If you don’t already, get into the habit of one finger braking.

Here are a few tips:

1. Aim to come to a stop without skidding.

2. Dip your heels and pop your bum off the back as soon as you come to a stop

3. Apply the front and back brake equally

4. Always use one finger braking. If you are used to using two fingers, snap out of the habit by moving your brake levers in so you can only reach it with one finger.

If you fancy learning more from the pro in person, why not sign up for one of Katy Curd’s coaching courses in the Forest of Dean. Katy also coaches at two skills camps per year in Sierra Nevada Spain with Pure Mountains.



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