Nailing Those Berms!
Berms: those wonderfully challenging and exhilarating parts to a trail that give an immediate rush and sense of accomplishment. But from time to time they can be mildly terrifying. You don’t want to be the one to slow the group down, bottle it at the last minute or crash into that tree you hadn’t spotted right at the end of it. You need commitment, confidence and control so follow these 'oh-so-simple' tips to Nailing Those Berms.
Eyes should be focussed, looking ahead and continually assessing
Do not look at your front wheel! The temptation to look down to ensure you don’t hit a tree root or pot hole can be overwhelming but don’t do it! Those obstacles you’re fearing probably aren’t there as berms are manmade and usually well maintained by the mountain bike trail pixies! Look forward and assess your berm way before you get there. Assess the end point as you come into it, turning your head toward the end will naturally steer your shoulders to a better position. Don’t only focus on the end point though otherwise you run the risk of colliding with a tree you hadn’t spotted. So as you ride through the berm start to look beyond the end goal and start to consider what’s next.
Body: balanced, weighted and pumping
Align your shoulders and hips as you come into the berm to give you that steady balanced body that will help with controlling the bike and its direction. Some schools of thought advocate balanced feet with flat pedals throughout the whole berm but this is regularly contested. Keeping your outside pedal down and putting more weight on it allows you to lean into the berm. It also grounds you more and ‘sticks’ you to the berm better. As you begin to pull out of the berm balance your pedals so they are flat and begin to pump them to give that little bit of extra power to see you through to the end.
Bike: brakes off, stay off and don’t give in
If you need to lose any speed, do so beforehand. Don’t be tempted to use the brakes during the berm, it will result in a jilted, stuttering motion to your ride and you will lose flow, speed and the sleek manoeuvre that is needed to sail through the corner. Have your hands hovering and ready but do everything you can to resist giving them a light squeeze as you take on the berm.
So there it is, simple steps to breezing through that berm. Confidence, control and commitment!