Birds on Bikes is a Facebook group set up by Sarah Selwood who wanted to find other women to go out mountain biking with. The group has grown and grown and Sarah kindly volunteers her time to create opportunities for women, of all abilities, to get together with other women and ride their mountain bikes. The Group is all about having fun, a good chat and obviously CAKE! 😉 Mountain Bike Tuition hooked up with the Birds and organised a couple of bespoke courses for different abilities. Read on to find out how the “New Recruits Birds on Bikes” skills session went. Unfortunatley due to illness a couple of the riders couldn’t make it so it was just Lydia and Lisa. Both of them have been riding off road for a relatively short time and had joined the Group as it organises great rides and welcomes any level of rider. After a safety check on our bikes making sure they were in good working order
and making a few adjustments to brake levers so they were easy to reach we headed out. Firstly I followed Lydia and Lisa as they rode the Green trail just so I could see how they got on before we headed into the forest. After this we covered the most fundamental skill to off road riding…….. the body position. Sometimes its referred to as the “attack” position”, I prefer “ready for anything/control” position which does what it says………you are in control and ready for anything that you may encounter on the trails. It took a few minutes for them to really feel at ease in the “ready for anything” stance as they had been used to sitting on the saddle when riding. Before long they all were looking more flexible and relaxed and I could see their confidence growing. Next we covered braking and the best way to brake efficiently and in control. We did a little exercise with braking to show how important it was to have your body weight in the right place when braking. We then rode down to the next coaching spot in the forest and
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Lisa and Lydia to practice being in the “ready for anything” position as we went. Already they were starting to relax and become more confident. Introducing cornering was the next skill we were going to look at. I got them to ride a coned slalom course to get the technique correct first. Lydia was confident moving away from her saddle and was happy carving her way down the course. Lisa at first was cautious about leaning her bike over but with a bit of encouragement started to look at ease. They both worked hard on this technique around the cones so we then introduced a couple of sweeping corners. Here we could work further on the technique of speed control, footwork, body position and looking. Both Lydia and Lisa were looking far more confident manoeuvring their bikes around and started flowing smoothly round the corners. Next we covered gear changing and the basic technique to use when climbing. Both Lydia and Lisa admitted that hill climbing wasn’t one of their strong points. I then pointed to the hill we were going to climb and they both laughed! Lisa said that she had never made it to the top before so this was going to be a test to see if applying the technique would help her get further than she used to. Well I am pleased to say that with great determination. a nice smooth pedal action and affective use of their gears they both made it to the top of the climb with ease. With a quick breather we talked about descending and the body position which should be adopted to feel confident going downhill. With time running short we headed to a bermed corner on the Blue trail to finish the session. The section we used had a left hand bermed corner on a gravity assisted piece of trail so speed control, looking, footwork and body position were all crucial. At first the ladies struggled a bit with getting their looking and footwork right as the trail took them a little out of their comfort zone. However, after a few tips and attempts their confidence grew and they started cornering with more flow.A very enjoyable morning and for me as a coach it’s lovely to see the confidence grow in both the riders as
the session progressed. Hope to see you out on the trails soon. Have fun 🙂