So I’ve done some pottering around on my new bike, and there are some things I am learning. And learning fast as well.
For context, I learnt to ride on a nice polite friendly hybrid bike in the enclosed safety of a primary school playground in Reigate. Riding a full on mountain bike on gravel tracks and muddy paths is wildly different.
So what have I learned since I brought Angus home and began exploring?
Riding on gravel/mud is nothing like tarmac
I really didn’t appreciate this until the first time I tried to push off on mud. Good lord. It took a huge push to get going! More grippy tyres and a very different surface are something I need to get used to. Mountain bike tyres dig into whatever you’re riding on, which is what they’re meant to do, but pushing off takes more effort. Lots of wobbles at the moment! Need more practice.
Your car will never be clean again
And you’ll need a bigger one. See photo. Yes that was when Angus was nice and clean but he still doesn’t fit in my boot. Now, I admit I have yet to take Angus anywhere for a ride that we can’t get to under our own steam, but people I’ve met have dispensed wise advice to me.
Mountain bikes are heavier than skinny hybrids
They really are. I think this is why my steering currently sucks. Angus is heavy. I need to work out. I also need to work on my steering. Bit wobbly!
Suspension is a game changer
Wobbles aside, I’ve enjoyed my off road potters. Having never ridden a bike with suspension before, I had only ever experienced bone-shaking jarring when riding on a rougher surface. But with a suspension fork, everything changes. Even the most rutted road seems smooth. Suspension forks are also why mountain bikes are so heavy, I reckon.
You will get random bruises
Seriously. These little buggers show up every time. Where do they come from? How do I have one on my knee when I don’t consciously remember whacking my knee? Why is there one on my ribs? What’s happening to me?!
I’m very much a novice to cycling in general and especially mountain biking. Angus is an entry-level machine, and he’s pretty much perfect for me to learn the ropes on. I will be having some lessons in the new year to improve my sorely lacking skills, but for now, my weekend pootles will be focused on getting used to the weight of the bike, riding off road and improving my steering.
I am also horribly unfit. Like horribly unfit! But that’s why I got Angus (to get fitter but in a fun way) and I am just starting out. Everyone starts somewhere!