Riding on wood (without falling off!)

GyatsoLa
GyatsoLa Posts: 667
edited October 2011 in MTB beginners
I'm coming back to mountain biking after a long break, and enjoying riding the trail centres here in Ireland. The one thing though I'm having real difficulties with are timber 'north shore' type sections. On my first ride across one in wet weather I touched my front brake and found myself picking splinters out of my hands, the front wheel just went under me. Maybe I lost my nerve because of that, but I just can't seem to be able to run through them with confidence, especially when the surface is a bit wet and slippery (and now we're heading into winter, this will I guess be the normal situation).

So what is the best technique for riding wavy timber sections? I'm guessing no braking, ever... Any advice appreciated.

Comments

  • The Rookie
    The Rookie Posts: 27,812
    1/ Roll gently, no braking (and if you do, rear only, a rear slide is easier to catch) and no sharp movements
    2/ Some tyre compiunds are 'less worse' than others, what are you rolling on
    3/ The more rubber, the more grip, what tyre pressures are you running and how much do you weigh?

    Wet wood is the lowest grip surface you'll ride on, not much better than sheet ice and you need to treat it with respect!

    Simon
    Currently riding a Whyte T130C, X0 drivetrain, Magura Trail brakes converted to mixed wheel size (homebuilt wheels) with 140mm Fox 34 Rhythm and RP23 suspension. 12.2Kg.
  • cooldad
    cooldad Posts: 32,599
    Nail some chicken wire on it first.
    I don't do smileys.

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  • GyatsoLa
    GyatsoLa Posts: 667
    1/ Roll gently, no braking (and if you do, rear only, a rear slide is easier to catch) and no sharp movements
    2/ Some tyre compiunds are 'less worse' than others, what are you rolling on
    3/ The more rubber, the more grip, what tyre pressures are you running and how much do you weigh?

    Simon
    I'm running Nobby Nics, which I find pretty good on most surfaces (haven't used enough different tyres to really compare). I usually try to run them at the lower end of the rated psi's, but as I'm about 185lbs, I guess I can't run them too low.

    I hadn't thought of using rear wheel only... sounds a good idea (but hard to switch over from my usual habit)
  • GyatsoLa
    GyatsoLa Posts: 667
    cooldad wrote:
    Nail some chicken wire on it first.
    Is there a Camelback available with enough room for 300 metres of chickenwire? Might be a gap in the market for that.
  • ride_whenever
    ride_whenever Posts: 13,279
    The mule could probably carry it.

    I've found spinning a low gear and staying seated helps me.
  • GyatsoLa wrote:
    cooldad wrote:
    Nail some chicken wire on it first.
    Is there a Camelback available with enough room for 300 metres of chickenwire? Might be a gap in the market for that.


    Nail it onto your Tyres then! :lol:
  • Dave_P1
    Dave_P1 Posts: 565
    Take it steady and don't touch the front brake.
    Also, if it's wet and has a shine to it, chances are it will be like ice!
  • aongo
    aongo Posts: 28
    Hi GyatsoLa, I'm not long mountainbiking either and really enjoying Ireland's (too few) trail centres too - the chance to ride an all-weather speedy setup makes a change from my usual muddy slogs!
    The boardwalks I've encountered (while no doubt experienced bikers here might laugh derisively at their width and tiny height off the ground) were a total head-screw for me too... regardless of confidence on singletrack, I just went to pieces on wood (no pun intended).

    What I found really helpful is the usual advise - look as far ahead as possible (not at your front wheel & drop on either side) pick a gear that gives a certain amount of power without having to either stomp or spin like a madman to deal with any humps, dips or bends.
    Then just practice them... there's no point in doing a day's biking in the likes of Ballyhoura, of 20 - 40+km and being tired when you finally get the biggest section of boardwalk on the green run home... Take some time to loop a boardwalk alone section a couple of times and get the practice in...

    That and youtube some videos of true northshore - handmade, on verge of collapse, 6" wide, 20' off the ground, accessed from a jump and taken at 20mph+ puts the whole lot into perspective! :)
  • GyatsoLa
    GyatsoLa Posts: 667
    Thanks aongo, you are right about Ballyhoura - on most of the trails you hit the longest boardwalk sections when you are at your tiredest, which doesn't help. In general, I think the design at Ballyhoura is fantastic, but I do think they've underestimated how freaked out some people are by timber - I was riding a while back with a friend who was coaching some 15 year old kids, and those kids found the short sections really scary, I wouldn't be surprised if it put them off. Still, I suppose you've gotta learn sometime.
  • From the master you must learn.... http://www.pinkbike.com/video/5173/

    He uses the name Jedi on here, he has skills, he will pass them to you, if you come seek him out.

    www.ukbikeskills.co.uk

    How to avoid falling off wet wood? Dont ride on it. simples.
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  • GyatsoLa
    GyatsoLa Posts: 667
    Tom Howard wrote:
    From the master you must learn.... http://www.pinkbike.com/video/5173/

    He uses the name Jedi on here, he has skills, he will pass them to you, if you come seek him out.

    Jeez, and I thought I was slow, he never gets above 3mph :shock:

    Nice vid though!
  • Mojo_666
    Mojo_666 Posts: 860
    GyatsoLa wrote:

    Jeez, and I thought I was slow, he never gets above 3mph :shock:

    Nice vid though!

    He is riding some stuff only a few inches wide and some of it close to 20 feet off the ground. Having seen this stuff in the flesh I am quite surprised how fast he actually rides some sections, sections I might add I was less than comfortable walking on. Some of it I would not have walked on, ridden on or even shimmied across on my butt to be fair.

    Go pay him a visit and learn how its done, it might very well be the best money you ever spent on mountain biking.

    http://www.ukbikeskills.co.uk/
  • The Rookie
    The Rookie Posts: 27,812
    GyatsoLa wrote:
    I hadn't thought of using rear wheel only... sounds a good idea (but hard to switch over from my usual habit)
    The rear brake should normally be your first port of call on anything vaguely slippery, then bring the front in progressively if it isn't enough.

    Simon
    Currently riding a Whyte T130C, X0 drivetrain, Magura Trail brakes converted to mixed wheel size (homebuilt wheels) with 140mm Fox 34 Rhythm and RP23 suspension. 12.2Kg.
  • Mojo_666 wrote:
    GyatsoLa wrote:

    Jeez, and I thought I was slow, he never gets above 3mph :shock:

    Nice vid though!

    He is riding some stuff only a few inches wide and some of it close to 20 feet off the ground. Having seen this stuff in the flesh I am quite surprised how fast he actually rides some sections, sections I might add I was less than comfortable walking on. Some of it I would not have walked on, ridden on or even shimmied across on my butt to be fair.

    Go pay him a visit and learn how its done, it might very well be the best money you ever spent on mountain biking.

    http://www.ukbikeskills.co.uk/

    +one billion potatoes to this. Seek the Jedi and learn from his mind tricks...

    seriously though, get a session with him and it will revolutionize your riding.

    Paging Jedi to the forum!
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  • Jedi
    Jedi Posts: 827
    thanks for your kind words guys
  • Anonymous
    Anonymous Posts: 79,667
    GyatsoLa wrote:
    Riding on wood (without falling off!)
    :lol::lol::lol::lol::lol::lol::lol::lol::lol::lol::lol::lol::lol::lol::lol::lol:

    Aaaahh. breathe. haha. Awesome.








    :lol::lol::lol::lol::lol::lol::lol::lol::lol::lol::lol::lol::lol::lol::lol::lol::lol::lol::lol::lol::lol::lol::lol::lol::lol::lol::lol::lol:
  • GyatsoLa
    GyatsoLa Posts: 667
    Thanks for the advice everyone (mojo, I was joking about the 3mph, I am very impressed with that riding and especially the set-up, its a work of art).

    And if I'm ever in herts, then yup, I'd love some coaching to know how to do that sort of riding, although I'd most likely make a terrible fool of myself.