ONtrail Logo

NEW SKILLS - Skill Building 101

Learning a new skill is always challenging. Or at least it should be. Add age, low-average athleticism, and a fear of failure to the mix and new skills can suddenly seem overwhelming.

Why stand at the top of that chute? Why keep staring at narrow bridge? Why keep trying to bunny hop over that log? Why add new skills?

Why ride further, faster, and more difficult features than the last time?

Because it makes you a better rider.

Skill building applies to every rider and every type of ride. Don’t get me wrong, mountain biking requires more skill than a beach cruise, or riding gravel for 100km (and yes, I’ve done both). But the ability to simply lift your front wheel, whether over a curb, or a root is a skill that’s essential for a smooth ride. The first time you lift your front wheel and ride up onto a curb instead of getting off your bike at every intersection is worth celebrating. As it is when you ride over a log. You soon start to realize that being on your bike is more fun than getting on-and-off your bike. Then you want to ride it even more.

Those who use their bikes as a tool for getting from A-B might not appreciate skill-building, but we do. We appreciate how every little skill makes the journey easier, smoother, and faster. We appreciate that sidewalk rides can lead to gravel paths, to single track and to downhill day. And we appreciate that every one of those step-ups in difficulty requires a corresponding new skill set.

If you’re perfectly happy riding along the sidewalk or along the beach or gravel path, then you’re probably content with a narrow skill set. But that’s not why we’re here. We’re here to ride on trail. And to do that you’re going to want, or rather need, to continue to learn new skills. The feature that humbled you on the last ride, is still going to be there next time. And the time after that. So, you have two choices, keep walking your bike around it, or learn, develop, and master a new skill that will help you stay on your bike. You’re not always going to keep it rubber side down, and that’s scary.

But mastering fear is a skill too.

Check out our ONtrail calendar for a list of skill building courses in your area.