I’m used to teaching middle school science to a bunch of a teenagers that have no interest in it, but changing over to being a mountain bike instructor is a totally different experience. I feel like I am inadequate when it comes to teaching it. My new guinea pig was my sister this weekend. We went to the local bike shop and rented a bike for twenty bucks.
First of all, the bike was extremely heavy, so I felt really bad for my sister, but she was such a trooper. The main thing I would suggest before taking a rookie out is to make sure they have the right gear. Helmet is a must, gloves are nice, and I highly recommend finding spandex for them. I forget how it took me days for my rear end to feel better after riding a mountain bike (especially if you are riding a hard tail).
I took her on a basic trail that was a three-mile loop and then we upped the next ride to a six-mile loop. Mike and I discuss the difference between road and mountain miles and we claim that you take mountain miles and double it to make it similar to each other.
For example, a 9 mile mountain bike ride is the same as an 18 mile road ride. You have to do more miles in road to feel the burn of a 9 mile mountain bike ride.
Anyway, she did great. I kept her in her middle gears and then when we hit uphill, had her switch down to the lower gears, but never touched the big ring. I didn’t use my big ring until I started racing. (In case you don’t know, the big ring is when you have a harder gear to pedal in and it takes a lot of leg work).
I’m so proud of my sister for trying out biking. She did a great job and put forth a great effort. She told me she wants to do it again when she comes back! 🙂 Such a trooper!