From Outsider to Rider in 8 Easy Steps

Intro to MTB for ladies

Ladies are you nearly sold on MTB? Here are Full Sus’s final words on how to get into mountain biking, courtesy of Biking in the Bosch’s Joanna Dobinson. Before you know it you’ll be out on the trails having fun!


1. Decide on price range

Decide on what you have to spend, remember bike finance is an option too and consider the type of riding you’re likely to be doing. If you’re planning on riding races and trails look from the middle of the range and up.

Entry level bike:  4-8 K

Middle of the range bike: 9-15K

Top of the range bikes: 16-140K


2. Go to a ride before you buy

Mountain biking is an expensive sport, but bike shops will test you test ride before you buy. Test out different brands, see the difference between soft tails (shock at the front and rear) and hard tails (shock at the front only) and feel how different sized wheels ride. You get ladies specific bikes too, so try them out! This is a great way to make sure you get the right bike before you fork out thousands of moola.


3. Shop around

Once you have decided on your brand and style of bike, shop around at reputable bike shops, who offer excellent after sale service. Some shops will offer to beat the previous quote to get the sale, so don’t be afraid of starting negotiations. But go informed ladies or take a friend who is.


4. Essential accessories

The most important accessories to buy with your bike, on the same day you buy it, are basic spares like a multi-tool (it’s like a pen knife but instead of blades and bottle openers it contains allen keys and chain breakers), a pump, a spare tube and tyre levers. If you buy an expensive bike it’s definitely worth paying the extra money to get tubeless tyres fitted, which will decrease the chances of getting punctures. Shops will often throw in a water bottle cage and saddle bag for your spares and a free service after a month, so ask for these be included in the price if they don’t offer it.

Make sure you don’t leave the shop without good gloves, a helmet and cycling shorts. I don’t recommend buying clip-in pedals and shoes as a beginner. The shop wants the sale but you will take the bail! Rather get used to your  bike  and technical riding with tekkies and the flat pedals that come with the bike, and  buy shoes and pedals later on, trust me your knees and wrists with thank you.


6. Bike fitment

Go for a bike fitment soon after purchasing you bike. This is crucial to get you comfortable on our bike. It will give you better control and enable you to get more power out of the bike and more out of the trail.


7. Go Ride!

Then hit the trails girls! Start out with jeep tracks and feel how your bike responds to different terrains and surfaces (clay roads, pine needles and sand all provide a different challenge!) when you’re feeling more comfortable try venturing onto single track, it’s where the true riding fun begins!


8. Skills clinics

I highly recommend going to a reputable skills clinic early on. The skills coach will get you into the correct position on your bike and teach you valuable skills and riding technique before you pick up bad habits. This will build your confidence and get you safer on the bike!


Sus the key skills

When it comes to mountain biking, 3 things are very important to remember! Think about and do these three simple steps when you ride, and you will be flowing down techy single track in no time!


A. Speed is your friend!

The faster you go, (within your limit of course,) the more control you’ll have.

If you go faster over obstacles, and choose the correct line, you hardly feel the obstacle, whereas if you over think and go slowly over an obstacle it can kick you off your bike and cause you to fall.


B. Look ahead

Your bike goes to where you look ladies! So look ahead and choose a smooth line and never look where you don’t want to go, because if you look down the cliff or at that sneaky tree stump, guess where you and your steed will end up…

Always look about 4 to 10 meters ahead of you so you can choose the best line before you get to it.
C. Get into the Attack Position
Sounds serious and it is. Being in attack position could save your life! Get into the attack position when you ride downhill, especially on technical single track. You basically float above your bike which means that your bike can hit obstacles and move below you from side to side and you ‘float’ above your bike with perfect control.
How to get into attack position:

  • Ride down a slight downhill
  • Stand up on your bike with your pedals at 50/50 or even for even weight distribution
  • Knees slightly soft/bent
  • Elbows slightly bent and out
  • Relax your hands (and your whole body will relax!)
  • Head up and look ahead
  • Butt just above saddle and be sure to have some weight on your handle bars for better traction!
  • Shoulders low and back level


Read more about getting into the attack position on in the November issue of Full Sus on


Joanna Dobinson
Joanna Dobinson

Biking in the Bosch

Biking in the Bosch specialises in single track riding, and getting the fear out of you and the fun factor back in! Joanna coaches skill clinics for beginner and intermediate riders, male and female, ages eight and up. Look her up on Facebook at Biking in the Bosch, email her at or follow her on Twitter @joannadobinson1.

For skill coaches in your area check out the Full Sus Classifieds at

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