5 tips for riding in a train on the trails

Flowing down the hill in a ‘train’ of riders is exciting — here’s how to keep it fun and avoid a pile-up!

When you’re five inches from your mate’s back wheel, debris and muck is flying past your face, and the trail is pinging you from left to right faster then a pinball, it’s essential to stay focused. If you do get sucked into making a silly mistake you’re not just going to eat dirt, you’re also going to get run over by the person behind you!

Always look where you want to go. Don’t get distracted by your mate’s poor line choice or sketchy wobbling, or you’ll find yourself getting pulled off your line.

If you look where you want to go rather than at the obstacle you want to avoid, you’ll naturally go where you’re looking. This is called target vision and can be used in your favour — but can be your undoing, too.

If you’re riding with mates and you trust each other enough, see how close you can ride to the person in front. The closer you are, the wilder it’s going to get, making this a great way to get cheap thrills! Just try your hardest to avoid any multi-bike pile-ups...

1. Wacky races

Once you’ve got basic trains dialled, mix things up by swapping positions mid run. When the rider in front takes the wide line around a turn, cut the corner (stay on the track though!) and overtake.

If you find yourself being passed, let them through — the more you swap places, the more fun it’ll be for everyone!

2. Capture the moment

POV footage can be boring, but not if you’re tailgating your mates and racing them down the trails!

The best angles are with the camera on your chest, pointing at the rider(s) in front, or under your saddle, capturing all the action going on behind you. You never know, you might catch some spills!

3. Roosting

When you’re following so close, you’re inevitably going to get splattered in roost, mud or dust from your mate’s back wheel, so make sure to wear goggles or glasses — you won’t want to miss a second of the action!

4. Train tracks

Look for trails that are fairly wide, with plenty of turns and not too many technical sections, at least to start with.

A wider trail will give more opportunities to pass your mates and ride side-by-side. Plenty of turns means plenty of smiles (and close shaves!).

If it’s not too technical, you’ll be able to ride faster, with more flow.

5. Sharpen your skills

Not only can riding in a train be great fun, you can also become a better rider from messing about with your buddies.

Follow a mate into a jump that you’ve never done to get the right speed, or see where you’re going wrong with your line choices.

Similarly, you can learn from their mistakes and adjust your riding to avoid doing the same.

This article was originally published in Mountain Biking UK magazine, available on Apple Newsstand and Zinio.

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