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Riding stairs

RabidBunnyRabidBunny Posts: 20
edited July 2010 in MTB beginners
I like to think I'm fairly confident when I'm out, willing to give anything ago (which could be another way of saying I don't mind falling off). However I've noticed there's one thing I always come to a complete stop at whenever I encounter them - steps.

Two or three steps are usually a jump, but anything else I'll either find an alternative route or dismount and walk down. I see plenty of other people riding them and can see the usual things of keeping weight over the rear wheel, not touching the front brake but still can't get over the hurdle to try myself.

As anyone got any pointers to approaching steps?


  • underdogunderdog Posts: 292
    Start small, so instead of jumping those 2 or 3 steps, ride them, then 4, then 5 and so on. Also like you mention don't grab at the front brake and put your eight over the rear wheel.
  • NorthwindNorthwind Posts: 15,475
    Good advice that. I had the same weird fear, I found a set of steps that had a fairly steep roll in to them and out on the other side which took away some of the "edge" fear- I knew I'd be fine once over the edge but there's something about the sharp edge of the first step that bothered me. Other than that it's really just a slope.

    (it might seem embarassing but don't let it get you down, loads of people have the same sort of reaction to woodwork, features which you know would be easy on dirt can be harder to get into when they're made of other materials).
    Uncompromising extremist
  • stubsstubs Posts: 5,001
    Might sound daft but have a go in the dark. There is a set of steps at Rivington that drop down from Rivington Tower could I go down them could I hell. My hands just wouldnt let go of the brakes and I would be stuck there for ages till I bottled it and went down the path.

    A few years back I went for a night ride with a mate to try out our new LED lights my mate went down no problem. I sat there for a few minutes wimpering then just went for it I couldnt see more than a few steps ahead and that took all the fear away. If you cant see something you cant be afraid of it.

    Its amazing what you can clear at night that when you see it later in daylight makes you go a bit wobbly.
    Fig rolls: proof that god loves cyclists and that she wants us to do another lap
  • RabidBunnyRabidBunny Posts: 20
    Thanks for the advice, I gave it a go this weekend and whilst there are still some nerves I'll admit it wasn't too bad. Kept it short for steep steps but did have a go at a longer flight where it was quite a shallow gradient (about half a bike length).
  • .blitz.blitz Posts: 6,588
    Count to 3, go on 2.

    I would also agree with the comment about riding in the dark. In the daytime I stress too much about what's in front of me but at night it doesn't seem so bad.
  • AnonymousAnonymous Posts: 79,692
    front brake is your best friend on very very steep stairs. It will allow ou to control your speed.
  • cavegiantcavegiant Posts: 1,546
    I ride loads of long flights of steps on my commute, it is quite simple, just requires that push.

    One thing I find quite fun is riding up steps, start small 2-3 steps, then work your way up.
    My current limit is about 10 steps up,

    For going down, treat it like normal stuff, I ride both brakes on the way down, even trackstand for one of the hard corners.

    Steps are easy, great traction and you have a rail to grap if all goes to the censored .

    if it makes you feel better, I have trouble getting the bottle to drop off more than a couple of steps.
    Why would I care about 150g of bike weight, I just ate 400g of cookies while reading this?
  • The faster you go the more ramplike/flat the stairs seem, so you need to fully commit.
    Its harder to ride a long set of steps slowly than it is to rind them a bit faster.

    As said, start smaller... say 5 steps, and move up.
  • sbondasbonda Posts: 61
    Mate, all you need are bigger wheels... you'll not even worry about steps then, up or down!
  • AnonymousAnonymous Posts: 79,692
    sbonda wrote:
    Mate, all you need are bigger wheels... you'll not even worry about steps then, up or down!
    MONSTER truck/bike!
  • captainflycaptainfly Posts: 1,001
    I accidently took a woodland staircase at 20ish mph I had to hop off it to the left to brake because there was no run off at the end, dropped the chain and feel over when I went to pedal out of the corner :oops:
    But it is just like a more regular rock garden, if you have enough room at the end stand up, keep it fast and light with you weight far back and they are quite good fun.
    Mongoose Teocali
    Giant STP0

    Why are MTB economics; spend twice as much as you intended, but only half as much as you wish you could afford? :roll:
  • XtreemXtreem Posts: 3,066
    Some stairs won't allow you to go fast over them (talking about hardtails).

    From personal experience, I found that going fast over rectrangular stairs makes
    the rear end bouncing like crazy which causes me to lose the feet off the pedals.
    The same happens with larger, deeper square stairs.
  • x-islex-isle Posts: 794
    Steps is one of those places where I would recommend not to use too much front brake, and you don't hear me say that very often as downhill riding is front brake more than back, as long as the front wheel keeps turning your fine. The problem is, with the front wheel constantly changing point of contact over the terrain, it's very easy to lock the wheel. However, don't be too tempted to just use the back brake or you'll end up skidding down out of control with no way of stopping.

    The way to do steps is to get back off the saddle, however, you need to stay very loose on the bike and let the bike pivot under your body.

    Once you get it right, you'll see that your upperbody doesn't move, your legs and arms are extended and compressing while the bike pivots to the terrain below. Get it right and you'll instantly know that you've nailed it and wonder what all the fuss was about.

    Hope that helps a little.
    Craig Rogers
  • SplottboySplottboy Posts: 4,208
    We did a promotional photo shoot for a charity ride on the streets of London, then indoors.

    At the top of 7 floors, I decide to take the stairs down...

    Only got down one flight.

    Didn't realise that the brakes don't really work at all.
    So, stopped myself with a combination of my front wheel...and helmet covered head.

    Had a bloody sore neck for weeks.
  • TurricanTurrican Posts: 755
    I love Steps off all types long / short even ones with bends or shapr turns.
    Ive ridden ones from car park what spirals down ive ridden very long ones witht turns in it and very steep ones too BUT there was a time i wouldnt / couldnt ride any and has taken me good number off years to master riding them but then again i came from XC to freeride / DH and now have the confidence to ride. Well technique is Drag your rear brakes for speed but dont lock em as you skid and slide and then an off , also drag your front brake to keep control and also to keep speed down, reason for this is some times cant just bomb down the steps so d have to control speed. Hang bit off seat BUT not too far off it other wise you will unweight the front and then the front can wash out, Stay loose and let the bike and suspensions front and back if have rear sus do their jobs. dont do sudden turns as again can wash and crash.
    SO just practise with small easy steps build up confidence etc there not as scary as think its just a slope going down, so as Optimus Prime says " lets roll" .

    PS hopes makes sense as im typing and watching tv :D
    I don't have a bike addiction problem.....bikes seems to have a problem with just can't seem to stay on.
  • John MooreJohn Moore Posts: 580
    If you're clipped in clip out or even fit flat grippy pedals until you get used to the steps.

    Remove your saddle completely then start 3 steps up and roll down them, as you get more and more comfortable go up a step or two
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