When you are climbing a steep ascent in the bush on your mountain bike you need to move your weight forward on the bike. This is to avoid the front wheel from lifting off the ground.

The trick here is that if you move too far forward on the bike, your rear wheel can then slip and you can lose traction for a second, then you will be walking up the climb.

So it is all a matter of compromise and weight distribution. When you are ascending a steep climb, you need to make a few judgments: how steep is the climb, how loose is the climb, and how technically demanding is the climb? Then it is a matter of getting the right combination of weight distribution, speed and balance to conquer the hill.

So, move your bottom forward on the seat to get more weight on the front wheel. In really steep situations you can even sit on the very tip of the seat. This will help keep your front wheel on the ground to avoid losing steering control.

If it looks like you may lose rear wheel traction, then be slightly further back on the seat and bend your elbows to bring your head and body closer to the front of the bike. This in turn applies more weight to the front wheel. If the hill is not only steep but also long, then you need to be able to control your speed so you will not run out of fitness before you reach the top of the climb.

So pace yourself. Just give yourself enough speed to be able to climb the hill and keep your correct course, and then when there is a steeper, looser, more technical section, you will have the power to increase your speed to traverse this as well.

Happy Cycling!
Howard Duhs

Riding in the bush requires a bit of body language. Apart from the fact that you need to stay relaxed on the bike, you also need to be able to move around on the bike.

When you are travelling down a very steep descent, you need to get your weight back over the back of the bike. This is to avoid a very undesirable "over the bars" situation.

When you approach a very steep descent, make a deliberate effort to push your bottom off the back of the bike saddle. This moves your centre of gravity further back and allows you to descend the hill without going over the bars. The steeper the descent the further you need to move your weight back.

On extremely steep descents you can even lay your stomach on the seat with your bottom almost touching the rear wheel. This allows you to negotiate descents that you previously thought impossible.

Keep in mind that you often need to shift your weight back further than you first thought because once you are on the descent, there is more weight on your arms and front wheel, and this in turn is trying to throw your body over the bars. This is something that I suggest you avoid at all costs.

Happy Cycling!
Howard Duhs

Off road cycling requires a bit of what I term "Fuzzy Logic." That is, to a degree let the bike go where it wants to go. Don't always fight the bike. Let the front wheel float to where it wants to go. This sounds easy and it is.

To do this, always ride in the bush relaxed. That is keep the arms and upper body loose and relaxed. Don't ride stiff armed and tense. This is energy robbing.

Keep your arms relaxed and slightly limp at the elbows. This is your suspension to your body and allows the front wheel to float over the loose stuff and find its own way.

This is generally safer, easier, faster and less fatiguing than keeping your arms rigid and trying to make the front wheel go exactly where you want it to go.

This is especially advantageous in loose, rocky ground. So next time you are out in the bush remember the term "Fuzzy Logic"

Happy Cycling!
Howard Duhs