In the previous article, we discussed the basic techniques of braking, climbing and descending. In this article, we will discuss the basic skills to handle obstacles while biking in light of backcountry and urban tracks.
Logs: You have to shift backwards while pulling the handlebar and swiftly pedaling in complete harmony to clear the front wheel of your bike. Once the front end clears the log, swiftly lean forward and pedal rear wheel up / over the log until it’s cleared. Never ever try to apply brakes in this process unless you want to maneuver some interesting acrobatic, may be leading to embarrassment.
Rocks: Clearing rocks can be more difficult than potholes. Your focus with a relaxed mind and constant pedaling is important for clearing rocks. Use your elbows and knees for absorbing shock but remain seated as it will balance the weight on the rear wheel, allowing you to handle new obstacles without any chances of slipping or skidding. You should try to clear the rocks with sufficient speed or be prepared to meet the grounds as the grooves are known for throwing cyclists on crossing at the slow speeds.
Water: It’s very important to understand the depth and bottom surface before proceeding to cross the stream or water body. The hidden rocks and unseen depths may cause your fall right in the middle of the stream. If you are sure that there are no chances of getting washed up, attain a good speed and pedal steadily to cross the water body. After you have crossed the water body, use slight brakes to remove the water from the rims.
Leaves: The wet leaves can create trouble for you. The leaves on the trail may look very good but can cause slippage, particularly during the rainy seasons. However, there is no need to be scared of wet leaves as they are not ice, which can be really dangerous and unpredictable. You just need a bit attention while crossing wet leaves.
Mud: Make sure you never leave your trail to unnecessarily ride through muddy areas. It leads to trail erosion and widens the path. However, when you have to cross the mud, your success depends on your speed and pedaling strength. Once the front-wheel parts the ooze, pedal through the mud before you are completely stuck.
Curbs: The curbs are very enjoyable obstacles for bicycle riders, but you need to be careful just like crossing the logs.
Curbside drains: There can be no problem in crossing curbside drains, but make sure that your wheel is not caught up in the grate.
Dogs: The dogs love to play and race with bicycle riders, but you may be really in trouble if they are under attacking mode. If you cannot escape from the chasing dog, just end the chase by stopping and leave their territory by walking. They will most likely stop on ending the chase and an authoritative yell of “Go home” works. You can also consider squirting water on their face, right in the middle of the eyes.
Cars: There is no problem in crossing vehicle drivers, but it may be a real disaster to dodge furious or irresponsible drivers. Most of the car owners don’t want cyclists in the middle of their driving course and hopefully you will also like to avoid unexpected moves. You should be very careful while riding and clearly signal before changing tracks.
Potholes: The grates, back-road canyons and Potholes have to be avoided. Your skills as a good terrain biker don’t make you invincible. Potholes are known for damaging tires, rims and causing the unfortunate crash of the cyclists over the handlebars.
Once you follow these basic riding tips, your chances of one-up on your buddy will improve on your next ride together unless he or she got the skills of Hans Ray or John Tomac. In that situation, you will definitely need much more than these basic guidelines.