Pro Tips: With Trials World Champion Hans Rey
Hans is a former Trials World Champion and inductee of the Mountain Bike Hall of Fame. He is widely considered to be a pioneer of both the mountain bike freeride movement and the trials riding scene. As a professional rider and ambassador for the sport, he continues to inspire others to ride and travel. Photo by Samuel Confortola/Carosello 3000
“Your arms and legs will always be your best and most important suspension. No matter how much travel your bike has, one has to be active on the bike. Don’t let the bike ride you.”
HANS REY’S RIDING TIPS
Like everything in life, learning and mastering skills takes time, and one needs to master the basics first, just like in math class. That being said, there are some shortcuts. Not everything has to be learned the hard way; plus, modern bike equipment and better-built trails contribute to faster success. Remember that your body language and movement are most important. Your arms and legs will always be your best and most important suspension. No matter how much travel your bike has, you have to be active on the bike. Don’t let the bike ride you. You have to ride and control the bike, and your body initiates every move. Learn to be comfortable on your bike.
Don’t set your goals or expectations too high. You want to feel comfortable and confident when riding slowly, balancing or negotiating minor obstacles. You want to feel comfortable standing up, braking or getting on and off your pedals. Look and think ahead, so you can be prepared for the next move. Learn to be in the right gear and learn to scan the trail (including the run-out) for hazards—and prepare for them accordingly.
You want to be able to visualize what you are about to do. It has nothing (or little) to do with luck. If you can’t picture yourself riding a certain section, you’re probably not ready for it. Focus on the task ahead; focus on the ideal line. Keep potential hazards and dangers in your mind. Be aware of them, but don’t focus on them (like the guy who hits the only tree on the ski slope). Focus on what you want to do, not what you don’t want to do. But, most of all, have fun and don’t take it too seriously. Make it a game.
When riding on an easy trail, look for alternative lines. That’s a great way to learn to better read a trail and discover potential line choices and options. Obstacles and challenges can become fun. You don’t have to be threatened. Knowing how to negotiate them gives a rider more options on a trail ride. Push your own limits, but take your time. It’s more fun to do so with a friend and push each other.
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