If The Front Wheel Lifts Off The Ground on a Steep Dirt Path...

Catalyzt

Well-Known Member
Region
USA
...and I have to leap/fall off the back of the bike so that I wind up clutching the bars like the reins on a rearing horse...

I guess that means I am now e-mountain biking, huh? 😜 I'm no longer gravel-biking or canyon running or doing some other hybrid-thing.

I have a deep, atavistic, and very spiritual sense that... I have no clue what I'm doing. So, what... I guess I have to learn, watch YouTube videos or something, and pay attention to shifting my weight, get the right shoes or whatever. I could totally have gone down yesterday; for the first time I didn't feel stupid wearing motocross armor.

I got pretty high up in Brand Park, crossed the floor of the San Fernando Valley and climbed higher than the ridge I cross in the Hollywood Hills. I figure I have the range to go about 5 or 10 miles further. I've got to really think about it, though, because there are some sections of these trails that were a little intimidating.

Another thing: I'm slowly learning that at this point, I can take two out of three-- narrow, steep, and rocks-- but with narrow + steep, there are some spots where I can go up, but I'm not so sure about getting back down. I've learned to recognize this when hiking, of course, but I don't have enough experience to anticipate this on e-MTB. It's a little like skiing, that moment when you look down and say, "Can I really do that?" but you have to make the decision on the way up, not at the top. And I know from skiing that trails sometimes look very different from the lift than they do on the trail. The trail maps on the apps are also quite confusing, and often what looks like an easy escape route on my phone is not an option at all, at least for me at my present level of skill.

Very silly to be getting into this at 63. This is a blast!
 

RandallS

Well-Known Member
Region
Canada
City
Calgary
Not silly at all - but common sense dictates you find your limits and work towards expanding them.
We just don't heal as well at our age.

I'm not too proud to walk up or down a trail where I've exceeded my skills or comfort zone.
But a lot of the mistakes I made 6 or more months ago, I am not making now and am also having a blast!

Enjoy, and don't forget to pop into the MTB sub forum
 

Catalyzt

Well-Known Member
Region
USA
Try to ride the wheelie all the way up the slope. Feather the back brake so you don't flip out.
Not there yet, and may not be for a long time, but I hadn't thought of that: You can be applying power to the rear wheel and applying brake at the same time to compensate, at least somewhat, for inconsistent power delivery that's just part of pedaling a bike and how assistance works, and also to compensate for irregularities in the terrain, maintain balance with only one wheel on the ground.

It's not like I'm learning to drive and my Dad is yelling at me not to use the brake and accelerator at the same time-- this is a completely different situation.
 

Catalyzt

Well-Known Member
Region
USA
Scoot forward on your saddle and pull your upper body closer to the bars to move your center of gravity forward.
That might work; I might not need to have a wheel in the air on this hill, or maybe only for a split second.

This particular hill is interesting, because I've been working on it for months. First, I had to get between the two little rocks near the bottom. Once I learned how to do that, I had to learn to apply just the right amount of leg power and assistance when it got abruptly steeper. For the last three weeks, I was stuck at the two big rocks near the top-- you have to break to the right, go slightly into the weeds, and then jog left so you take the front wheel through a four-inch gap between the rocks at about a 45 degree angle to the main line the trail is taking.

This week was the first time I ever got past those two rocks, and I got closer to the top than ever before. There's just one little steep stretch maybe 30 feet long where it got way from me, and if I could shift forward, that might be enough to solve the problem.

The other thing about this hill: It saves me 1.2 miles and 150 vertical feet of less interesting asphalt riding.
 

PedalUma

Well-Known Member
Region
USA
Dropper post!
What I do instead on very steep descents is to slide off the saddle and ride lower behind it. For the climbs use a riser/drop/flare gravel handlebar in the dropped position so your weight is low over the front of the bike to keep the front down as you stand off the saddle.
What fun!
 

Luto

Active Member
You are way too far back. If you are sitting, perhaps your seat is not over the cranks? If you are standing, you should be able to almost hand stand on the handlebars on hills like that. Either way your front-back balance is way off. Perhaps try on flat ground hopping a bit. When you can get the both wheels off at the same time you will be balanced.

When going up hill you only need enough weight on the back to maintain traction. You should be balancing maintaining traction and "pulling" the bike up hill with your cleats-pedals (or flats-shoes). Perhaps you are just pushing down on the pedals and not keeping a circle with your feet, all the while sitting back with a seat that is too far back.

Remember Banana seats?
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jabberwocky

Well-Known Member
That might work; I might not need to have a wheel in the air on this hill, or maybe only for a split second.

This particular hill is interesting, because I've been working on it for months. First, I had to get between the two little rocks near the bottom. Once I learned how to do that, I had to learn to apply just the right amount of leg power and assistance when it got abruptly steeper. For the last three weeks, I was stuck at the two big rocks near the top-- you have to break to the right, go slightly into the weeds, and then jog left so you take the front wheel through a four-inch gap between the rocks at about a 45 degree angle to the main line the trail is taking.

This week was the first time I ever got past those two rocks, and I got closer to the top than ever before. There's just one little steep stretch maybe 30 feet long where it got way from me, and if I could shift forward, that might be enough to solve the problem.

The other thing about this hill: It saves me 1.2 miles and 150 vertical feet of less interesting asphalt riding.

It should be extremely rare where your wheel has to come off the ground while climbing. If it is, its almost always a technique issue. I've been MTBing for 20 years and have climbed some really steep stuff and even on my really slack trail bike (which naturally puts your weight further back) I can still keep the front wheel planted.

Slide forward on the saddle (as far as is comfortable; you don't need to be perched on the nose of the saddle) and really pull your upper body close to the bars, kind of like you're doing a row machine. On really steep climbs I can have my chest just inches from the bar. Dip your head forward if you need to. You want to find that balance point where you have just enough weight on the front wheel to maintain control; more than that is removing weight from the rear wheel which can cost you traction.