Crashing Like You Mean It (How Not To Get Hurt)
Even the most experienced MTB riders occasionally crash. So, if you find yourself going over the bars or washing out, you’re in good company. The best riders just know how to do it without getting hurt (at least most of the time). The reality is, riders who crash seldomly will more often get hurt when they do happen to go down. Frequent and minor crashes can actually help you learn to crash safely. You first have to crash before you can learn how not to crash. That comes with practice—practicing crashing that is.
Before practicing crashes and bails, get your protective gear together. Helmet. Check. Goggles. Check. Knee and elbow pads. Check and check. If you’re looking to crash on bigger features you might pull out ankle braces and a chest protector.
Now, find an easy, smooth trail or surface with a small slope, or create a controlled environment with MTB features like Yardi Scout close to a grassy area for softer landings. Next, you’re ready to try out these tips for learning how to crash a mountain bike like you mean it (and not get hurt)!
Learning how to quickly jump off your bike can help prevent injuries when faced with a rough trail or obstacle. To practice dismounting, as you ride, starting slowly and then increasing speed as your confidence grows, practice jumping off your bike, but continue to hold onto the bars so you’re standing next to the bike.
I would probably place the leapfrog style dismount right here, as it’s pretty similar to the quick dismount
Tuck and Roll
The best thing you can do to prevent an injury when you crash is to wrap yourself up, keeping all your limbs tucked in, including your head and chin, and try to dissipate the impact by rolling out of it. To practice the tuck and roll, start down the slope, grab the front brake and practice falling off the bike and tucking and rolling.
Feet on the Ground
A front wheel washout can happen at any corner. To practice managing washouts, ride at an easy pace, then steer to one side and quickly step off on the opposite side of the bike to run out of the crash.
Leapfrog the Bars
Going OTB is one of the falls mountain bike riders fear most. In this type of crash, you want to get your body up and over the bars as soon as possible. A great way to practice getting comfortable jumping feet first is to set up a horizontal bar to jump over. As your confidence builds, you can practice leapfrogging the bars of your bike by riding at an easy pace, stopping the bike, and quickly and safely jumping over the bars, landing with both feet in front of the wheel.
Here are some other extremely important tips that can help keep mountain bike riders injury free during a crash or fall:
- Ditch the bike to the side if you are airborne and expecting to crash. You don’t want the bike underneath you when you land. Bikes can be repaired and replaced.
- Even in small hiccups, it is better to let go of the bike completely. The force of the bike bouncing off the ground can dislocate your shoulder if you are holding tightly to it.
- Do not outstretch your arms and legs to absorb the impact.
- Start your crash early so you can bail to either side rather than falling over the front.
- If you go over the bars, try to do it feet first.
Deciding how you’re going to crash before you actually crash can help prevent injuries!