Mountain Biking for Klutzes

I am usually wiling to try most outdoor sports, but up until a few weeks ago mountain biking was not on that list. Bikes and I have always had a love hate relationship. I didn’t ride a bike that had handlebar breaks and gears until I was 22. That started with my legs pumping; my bike barely moving; my friend yelling, shift and me yelling back, how? Eventually, I learned to shift. But considering my unsteadiness on just a road bike, mountain biking seemed out of the question.

It would’ve remained in the not ever list had my brother not recently picked up biking. And when he picks something up, I have to pick it up. (Side note: I have to find him some guy friends.) For those of you none klutzes out there, let me explain what makes a klutz. My brother and I have the same experience when it comes to mountain biking. However, on our first day he naturally knows when to brake, how to lean, and when to hover over the back of seat. Me, now that’s a different story.

At my first steep turn, thoughts rush my mind: which way do I lean, crap my wrong pedal is up, shouldn’t I be closer to edge. In desperation I slam on my brakes to fix my pedals and tip over — the hardest way because I chose the wrong way to lean. And this is what makes a klutz, the inability to do multiple things at once.

This isn’t to say that I can’t eventually master it. I am a ski instructor after all (which, if my college instructor knew would give him no end of laughter considering my first lessons). I’ve accepted that it takes me longer to learn things. That what comes more naturally to other people, won’t for me. While my brother when up tougher trails, I stayed on mine doing it again and again until I could get down it without walking and almost without touching ground.

One tip to those of you mountain biking for the first time. If you know how to bike, don’t over think this and ask every person you can how to do it. Just pick an easy trail and, for the love, hit both brakes evenly.

I refuse to give in to my klutziness since my only other option is to not do any outdoor sports, and that’s no life at all.

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