Bike advice: you don’t always want it, but you always get it. Just as with best ADV advice ever received, I’ve gotten some really good off-road advice over the years, and some of it is gold even without the context. Here’s a collection of off-road advice I found most useful and used the most – whenever I was able to think clearly instead of just holding on for dear life, that is:

  • Never grip the handlebars – hold the bars like you’re holding baby birds in your hands
  • Let the bike move underneath you; move with it, not against it
  • Leave the clutch alone: when going down a steep hill, don’t ever pull the clutch in and leave the bike in gear for more stability (this one took a while to sink in, but once it did, what a game changer!)
  • Pick your own lines, even when following a more experienced rider – you don’t have the same skills and the same plan, so don’t follow blindly
  • Pick a long line, not a short one – look through to the furthest point, not just a few meters ahead, to cover more ground more efficiently
  • If you’ve picked a shitty line, don’t panic and ride it out – it’s no use trying to change it last second and losing it in a rut
  • When in doubt, throttle out…in sand or gravel, not so much on boulders
  • Mud is about finesse, not power
  • Work on your balance rather than your muscles
  • Ride within your limits, but always push your edge at least an inch
  • When crossing water, focus on what’s underneath and ignore the water altogether unless it’s deep or there’s a strong current
  • Riding sand is like skiing – go with the flow
  • As long as you have control of the front, ignore what the rear is doing

What’s the best off-road advice you’ve ever received? Share the wisdom in the comments below!

Featured image: Lennart Vonk

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