Lindsey Voreis, a mountain-bike coach at AllRide and a member of the Survivor Africa cast, came to Alabama recently to teach a series of intermediate women’s mountain-bike clinics at three of the state’s best singletrack destinations: Coldwater Mountain (Anniston), Monte Sano State Park (Huntsville), and Oak Mountain State Park (Pelham). Here are a few of her top riding tips. Follow Lindsey on Twitter and Instagram @lindseyvoreis and search for #ladiesallride to see photos and tweets from clinics around the country.
Tip #1: One finger on the brakes only. Treat them like a dimmer switch, and use both brakes. None of this "Don't use your front brake" nonsense. "Your front brake has about 70 percent of your stopping power," Voreis says. If you use only your back brake, you’re probably going to skid, and a skidding bike is not under control. Coach: Lindsey Voreis of Bend, Oregon. Trails: Anniston Trailhead at Coldwater Mountain.
Tip #2: To lay the bike down in a corner, think, "Low, look, lean." Standing on level pedals, elbows out in the “attack” position, get your center of gravity low, look where you want to go, and lean the bike into the turn, counter-leaning your hips to the outside of the turn. Twist your whole body and both knees to the inside of the corner, pointing at where you want to go. Advanced: push the frame into the corner with your outside thigh. Rider: Jennifer Talley of Niceville, Florida. Trail: Bunny Trail at Coldwater Mountain .
Tip #3: For the basic front-wheel lift, think, "Load, explode, pull." Compress the shock. As it rebounds, explode and extend your arms. Continue the front wheel's upward momentum by pulling up with your arms. If your wheel still feels "heavy" and doesn't come off the ground, think about "lightening" your feet. Rider: Amanda Solliday of Birmingham. Trail: Trailhead at Coldwater Mountain .
Tip #4: Flat pedals encourage a better awareness of your feet. Drop your heels and brace your feet against your pedals, allowing your strong legs and core to support you. This gives your arms the freedom to put your front wheel where you want it to go. "Heavy feet, light arms," Voreis says. "The handlebars are not there to hold you up." Rider: Maaike Everts of Birmingham. Trail: Rock Slot at Coldwater Mountain .
Tip #5: If you break a derailleur, turn your bike into a singlespeed. First, remove your derailleur. Next, use a chain tool to push out a pin holding together the links of your chain. Remove the chain and feed it around your middle (or smaller) chainring and a middle gear in the back. Remove the extra links so your chain fits snugly (but not too snug) and use a quick link to rejoin the chain. (Note: We had never done this before and used the tools and manual from our Hero Kit .) Pedal softly back to the car. Hope it's all downhill. Then: Get manicure. Wench with wrench: Kim Cross of Birmingham. Trail: Chillowee at Coldwater Mountain .