Have you ever experienced going on a terrain that has a steep or “ladder” drop on it? Did you go for the drop or looked for a safer way around it? If you chose the latter, then you have just wasted your energy when you could ride down the drop and enjoy the thrilling experience.
When you want to practice riding drops in a rough and steep terrain, there’s only one rule to follow: start with low and easy drops and gradually increase the height of the drop along with your confidence in riding it.
How to Ride Drops Using Your Mountain Bike
- Scout for an easy roll-out – Make sure that the drop is not too high for your first drop. Take note of how steep the area is and how rough the land would be when you’re going to land. Also, imagine what the terrain would be like when you undershoot or overshoot your landing.
- Read the area – Try going around the route without riding your bike and get rid of any large obstacles like rocks or roots that may get in your way or in your landing spot.
- Mark your way to the drop – When you’re ready to go for a ride down the drop. Mark with a line your way to the drop. This will make it easier for you to know your timing and if you’re already close to the drop.
- Get ready before you go in for the drop – Make sure that you have the right gear for the drop, determine the right speed and timing and your body position. Your speed when going for the drop should be reasonably fast. If you travel too slowly, your front wheel might end up rolling off the edge as soon as you fall to the drop. If you go too fast, you may end up overshooting your landing target.
- Ready position – The first thing that you should do when getting ready for the drop is to adjust your seat low for you to paddle faster and will make it easy for you to lower your chest.
- Attack position – You should do this when you’re already almost two seconds before the drop.
- Keep your grip on the handlebars light and bring the center of your weight on your pedals.
- Slightly bend both your knees.
- Make sure that your arms are relaxed and bent.
- Focus on the landing and keep your chest low.
- Push your hips back and slightly lift your handlebars up. This is to ensure that your front wheel will be light as it goes over the edge of the drop. Keep your front wheels level until your back wheel leaves the drop-off.
- Keep your weight on the rear of your bike and maintain your body position.
- When you’re about to land, extend your knees so that it will soften and embrace the impact. Your legs will be your suspension and it will absorb your landing effect.
The drops that you should look for are the ones that have a bit of a sliding effect to it. Make sure that there are no gutters or areas that could catch your tires. The most important thing that you should remember when you’re practicing your drops is to have the proper position of your body and estimate how fast you should go.
When you already perfected your technique on a small drop, you can then gradually increase the height of the drop. Look for an area where there are no large roots, rocks or other obstacles that could give you any trouble. And always remember to have fun while riding your mountain bike.