Author: Billy Johnson

Top 5 tips for getting started with trail riding

Do you want to get into trail riding, but you’re not sure how to get going? We spoke with the expert coaches over at the off-road riding school Phoenix Trails for their top five tips to get started with trail riding.

And don’t forget, if you’re looking to get into trail riding, the ABR Festival 2023 (23-25 June, Ragley Hall, Warwickshire) is one of the best places to do so.

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With 10 off-road schools on hand ready to offer instruction throughout the weekend, it’s the perfect way to improve your riding skills. Best of all, access to every school is included in the price of your ticket.

You can find out more below, but first, here’s the top five tips to get started with trail riding.

 Tip 1: Look where you want to go

Whether you’re riding on roads or trails, the same rule applies: Look where you want to go.

It might seem scary to ignore what’s right under your front wheel, but don’t worry, the bike will find its way if you keep your eyes on the target.

Keeping your vision up also gives you more time to plan your route and avoid obstacles, and it suddenly feels like you have more time to decide how to tackle the trail in front of you.

When you’re tired, your vision tends to drop to just a couple of feet in front of your front wheel. When that happens, stop, reset, and go again.

Tip 2: Move your body

Traction is like gold dust when you’re trail riding, and to help your tyres bite into slippery ground, you need to give them as much help as possible.

A good way to do this is to move your body weight on the bike. In most cases, when you are sitting on the seat, you want to be as far forward as possible to put pressure – and grip – on the front tyre.

This is the case most of the time, including cornering, but there are some exceptions when the opposite applies: when you really need traction on the rear tyre to clear a slippery section or when you are going downhill, you need to move more of your weight to the rear.

Tip 3: Keep calm and stand on the pegs 

When you start trail riding, standing on the pegs feels rather alien, but if you look around you, all the experienced riders do it, so there must be something in it.

As it turns out, there is. Standing on the pegs gives you better vision of what lies ahead so you can plan your line earlier. It also lets you move more freely and control your centre of balance.

At first, standing on the pegs will feel odd, but it soon starts to feel natural, and crucially, it allows the bike to move under you while you’re still controlling your balance and vision.

Tip 4: Don’t get stuck in a rut

There are not many trail riders who genuinely enjoy riding in ruts, but it’s something that’s impossible to avoid entirely, so if you want to get into trail riding, you need to know how to handle ruts.

The key is to remember that you get no style points for standing on the pegs, and there are no penalties for dabbing your feet when you need them.

If the rut is proving challenging, just sit on your bike, put your feet down and walk the bike through.

If you feel it going wrong, don’t try to style it out and ride through the problems – that will end up with you and the bike on the ground. Instead, just stop, have a breather, and then go again. It’s not a race!

Tip 5: Enjoy!

Trail riding is one of the best things you can do on two wheels – it’s difficult not to have a great time doing it. But it’s not all about the riding.

The beauty of hitting green lanes is that you’re riding through some of the most beautiful parts of the country, surrounded by amazing landscapes, nature and wildlife, so don’t forget to take your time and appreciate your surroundings every now and again.

If you take regular stops, you will have a chance to recharge yourself and be more ‘on it’ for longer, and you can enjoy where you are, too.

Learn to ride off-road at the ABR Festival

The Phoenix Training Off-Road Zone is the place to go if you want to learn some new skills during your stay at the ABR Festival. Whether you’re a complete newbie or an off-road veteran, there’s always something you can learn, and the following skills schools will be on hand to give you the tuition you need.

Here’s the list of off-road skills schools who will be at the ABR Festival 2023:

  • Phoenix Trails
  • Sweet Lamb KTM Adventure Bike Experience
  • Yamaha Tenere Experience
  • BMW Off Road Skills
  • Triumph Adventure Riding Experience
  • Ducati Adventure Academy
  • Honda Adventure Centre
  • Desert Rose Adventure Riding Academy
  • Dirt Wheels
  • Inch Perfect Trials

So, if you’re looking to get into trail riding, the ABR Festival 2023 is the perfect place to get your boots dirty in a supportive community that knows how to have fun. There’s no egos and no pressure, so come along and give it a shot.

There’s less than two weeks until it all kicks off, so get your tickets today by clicking here. Don’t wait any longer, because there’s only a very limited amount of tickets left.