5 Tips for Women Who Want to Mountain Bike
Here are 5 woman-to-woman tips from Cycle 360’s Sacha Horsthuis to make your mountain biking adventures fun and successful.
So, if you want to get on a mountain bike but not really sure where to start, grab a quick cuppa because we have some tips for you!
1. Clothing: Chamois or no Chamois, knickers or no knickers?!
Okay, before we even get to the bike, let’s start with what you should wear to go mountain biking.
If you’re not quite ready to make the investment into full kit, that’s fine! You can wear almost anything on a mountain bike but thin layers are sensible and some tough shorts or leggings, and some flat-soled shoes.
But if you’re ready to start stocking up on MTB apparel; ace! We recommend getting a pair of mountain bike shoes first. This is because MTB shoe soles are made with rubber that’s designed to give you a better grip on your pedals, thus giving you more confidence when riding.
And then there’s chamois (pronounced “shammy”) in bib shorts or full-length leggings. It’s a soft cushioning sewn in, providing a supportive layer between your sit bones and your bike seat. For those who are pro-chamois, they’re an absolute must have in your cycling wardrobe. For those that are anti-chamois, it’s like wearing an adult nappy and can feel weird the first time you wear it! From a woman-to-woman, invest in good chamois and don’t wear knickers underneath for maximum comfort!
Regardless of which top you’re rocking, make sure you’re comfortable, can move about and you feel good. We all know feeling good is half the battle in trying to motivate us to get out in the first place. Check out some of Cycle 360’s women’s mountain bike clothing here.
2. The Bike: where the chuff do you start?
Any off-road bike is suitable for riding in plantations, and if you’re riding in a plantation or on gravel, then your mountain biking!
As you start to progress, you can opt for a hard-tail or full-suspension mountain bikes. Hardtail mountain bikes do not feature a rear shock, whereas full suspension bikes feature front and rear shocks. Determining whether a hardtail or a full suspension MTB is right for you depends on how and where you’ll be riding.
Mountain bikes are also all priced differently depending on the weight of the bike and the capabilities of it. But, leave that to the experts, that’s what the Cycle 360 sales team are there for.
Here’s a nice entry level mountain bike, and here’s a higher-end hard-tail mountain bike if you’ve progressed and got the budget.
3. Intimidation: no such thing, it’s more…no mud no fun, right?!
The intimidation factor is a major issue when it comes to getting more women into mountain biking. And we get it, for a long time mountain biking was seen as this hardcore, “men’s” world.
But that’s just not the case anymore.
And we know, trying something new is scary. But when you give in to that anxiety, inevitably, you’ll miss out.
So, let’s us have a look at where is this intimidation coming from: Are you afraid to feel inferior or to embarrass yourself? Do you feel like you just “can’t do it”? Do you feel like you’ll compare yourself to others and that you’ll never stack up? Because this is all completely normal! In ANY sport.
But here’s the most important bit: women mountain bikers love to welcome new women mountain bikers. We seriously do!
In fact, we all love to see someone out there giving it a go, embracing the challenge and overcoming their fears.
So, get involved. Embrace the dirt, get those endorphins pumping and just DO. IT.
You can get involved in the Cycle 360 MTB Series here!
4. Strava it!
A great way to reinforce your newfound confidence and progression is by getting your ride on Strava. You can do this just by downloading the app on your phone and then hitting ‘record’ on your phone (you can even do this in aeroplane mode so it doesn’t eat your battery). Pop your phone in a bum bag or jersey back-pocket and off you go!
Recording your rides means you can compare each time you go out, you can look back on where you went, where you struggled and what your accomplishments were.
If you’re ever doubting yourself or your abilities on the bike, Strava is a great way to look back at where you started and truly see how far you’ve come.
5. Find a Friend, Join Women’s Cycling on Facebook
Most importantly, as women we need to organise more meet ups! Join this group on Facebook, which is for women on the Isle of Man interested in riding bikes, learning to ride, and/or racing. It’s a great platform to share routes, skills and top tips and plan meet ups wherever we can. The idea is to keep it collaborative and social with photos, advice and race results from sportives, epic challenges, and those racing/riding in the UK too, as you never know who you may inspire!
And remember: all of us have the capacity to effect positive change, simply by speaking up. Don’t let the fear of comparing yourself to others stop you from getting involved. Small changes yield big results.
Feeling inspired?! Read all about Cycle 360’s MTB Series here.
You can also check out our last blog on A Step Towards Change for Women’s Cycling on the Isle of Man, here.