Today I had the pleasure of coaching two families who are off on a mountain bike holiday together in the Summer. In the morning I was coaching Liam, Henry, Lizzie, Dave and Will who have already had a few lessons. After lunch it was Kevin, Janet, Michael and David’s turn to experience proper off road mountain biking for the first time. LIAM’S CROWD The beginning of the morning was a refresher of the core fundamentals of mountain biking, ie: body position, footwork, looking. It was great to see
that they were oozing with confidence. The children were showing Dad how to relax on the bike! Swiftly we moved to the “skills” area to introduce a few bomb holes and the technique to use when you find the trail in front of you disappears. We started with the first one and everyone managed
it in control and style. Moving on to the next roll-in which was at the end of a few linked corners gave a better idea of what to expect on a piece of trail. The all important “look ahead” was crucial. Everyone rode this one well and managed to look ahead and adjust their body position. We moved to the next slightly steeper roll-in so this time it was important to shift your weight back, drop the wrists and heels so as not to do a “superman” impression! We had a few goes at this to really concentrate on relaxing, looking ahead of the trail and shifting our body weight back slightly. All buzzing from this (and no unscheduled dismounts) we went and rode some single track with some lumps, bumps and rooty sections to try out the new skill on a proper trail. We headed down the Crowthorne highway, linked that to the Seagull run and then on to stickler 3. Time flies when your having fun and it certainly did this morning but before heading back we stopped along the Full 9 yards at a drop off with a bit of an edge. We had a look at it and talked on how to ride it safely and in control. All of them rode down it confidently and Lizzie showed a bit of “girl power” by riding up it as well. With time running out and the chocolate animal biscuits (yum!) wearing off we rode the full 9 yards to the
raised man hole cover enjoying the twists and turns. With legs getting tired I gave them a choice, fire track or single track to get us near to the Look Out. It was a resounding “singletrack”. So a blast back through seagull we headed home. I really enjoyed this morning and the enthusiasm you all have for mountain biking is fantastic.
Keep practicing and enjoy yourselves. 😀 KEVIN’S GANG We began the session with a quick briefing about SwinleyForest and how it is part of a special protected area for ground nesting birds and other wildlife. Following
this we completed the “M” safety check before setting off. First thing I explained was the ideal body position to adopt when riding off road. As David beautifully described at the end of our session: off the saddle, pedals level, wrists down but able to reach the brakes and heels down. Next it was teaching them how to use their brakes with confidence and safely. The whole family picked this up really quickly which was great as this meant we could move on to cornering technique. We rode to our corners along a fire track which had a few small downhill bits. With the new “ready for anything” position sorted they all rode these with confidence. To start off with I got them to practice shifting their weight from one side of the bike to the other by dropping one leg down. I added a little slalom course with cones to exaggerate this before we attempted a real corner. Mum showed the boys how to do it by quickly picking up this skill. Now she had to add “looking” to this to make it perfect. David (12) started getting it nailed and was beginning to get the “looking “ sorted too. Once Michael (15) started extending his outside leg he was then cornering smoothly and getting good grip with his tires. Dad was struggling a bit on the right hand corners but it all clicked into place on the left hand corners. It was time to move on and ride some singletrack. To get to the Crowthorne Highway we had to do some climbing so we covered how to change gears smoothly whilst using an efficient pedalling technique for going up hills. Our reward would be a fun bit of trail with a few lumps, bumps & roots. With grins from ear to ear we arrived at the 4 corners. With a few tips on how to ride the
tricky rooty entrance everyone linked the corners in great control. With enthusiasm at a high we moved onto Stickler 3 to work on a tighter bermed corner to challenge their “looking” technique. This corner does have a trail feature (a big tree) on the inside of the corner that can put you off your flow but after a few attempts and using the building blocks already learnt earlier the gang were happily getting round. Next challenge would be the slightly bigger bermed switch back which can see riders tighten up. We first chatted about lines to take, the importance of looking and shifting your body weight to get the best grip. As they rode this section more I could see the skills coming together and their riding getting consistently smoother. We carried on to Stickler 1 with more twists to work through and the bridge. No problems encountered and all eager for more singletrack. Time was unfortunately running out so we headed down the Seagull run before heading back to the Look Out. It was a fabulous afternoon and lovely to meet you all. Have fun practicing your new skills. May see you on the trails soon 😀