On Monday, we covered covered three things - ABC bike checks, heavy feet / light hands, and braking basics
By now, everyone should be starting to feel comfortable performing an air / brakes / chain bike (ABC) bike check. This check should be done before riding every time. If you need a reminder, captain Colin's video is available below.
Heavy feet / light hands builds on the neutral and ready positions we talked about in week 1. Focus your weight through your feet, typically with a slight drop in your heels when standing with level pedals. Your hands should feel like you are neither pushing nor pulling on the bars. Whenever I feel like the bike isn't handling quite right, I check my heavy feet / light hands first.
For braking, in week 1 we talked about cover brakes - making sure you have a finger on both brake levers while riding on single track. Braking usually happens in the ready position - if you're standing too tall, you won't be able to control what happens with your body. On Monday we talked about "modulation" - braking by gradually squeezing the lever instead of all or nothing to keep our tires from skidding. We also talked about dropping our heels and moving backwards on the bike to resist being thrown forward. The GMBN video below adds some things about where to position your brake levers and a longer demonstration on braking techniques. Don't copy the skidding rear wheel though - it is just a demonstration. Notice the difference in stopping distance when the rider modulates the brakes instead of just skidding. You will have more control of the bike and do less damage to the trail if you learn to ride without skidding around. Skids are a sign you are not riding in control.
Check out this video from GMBN
You can guarantee that if your bike breaks down on the trail, it's usually started raining, you've forgotten an essential tool and the mosquitoes are out for blood. Be smart like Colin and remember to do your ABC Bike Check before every ride.