After a spell of very poor weather over the last month it was great to be coaching a Ladies Beginners Mountain bike course in the dry, although we did get a little hail! I met the ladies on a chilly Saturday morning all keen to learn some mountain bike skills. Sam had been given a gift voucher from her friend Emma and Louises’ was a birthday present from her husband. After a safety check
on our bikes making sure they were in good working order, making a few adjustments and a briefing about Swinley Forest and ground nesting birds we headed out. First 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 made adjustments to the groups brake levers set up so they were easier to reach whilst keeping the wrists under-rotated. After this we did a little exercise with braking to show how important it was to have your body weight in the right place when braking. Next we moved on to the fundamentals of cornering. To begin with we rode along a fire track just getting to grip with dropping one leg & leaning the bike away from the body before I introduced a coned slalom course. It took a little time to get them to feel confident leaning the bike & getting away from their saddles but they soon were carving fluidly down the course. Next we covered gear changing and the basic technique to climbing with a smooth pedal stroke. After a quick practice of controlled gear changing we moved on to a couple of corners to further develop the groups cornering technique, introducing speed control, footwork, body position and looking. Despite occasionally not getting things quite right on the corners all the ladies were looking far more confident manoeuvring their bikes around. With lots of enthusiasm to learn more we headed to another area of the forest and introduced linked cornering. The section we used had a series of bermed corners so body position, speed control and looking were all crucial. To end the session we rode the Green trail. Straight away it was obvious that they were more confident. Automatically getting in the “ready for anything” position as they tackled the trail. They all flowed through the trail with good speed and eased around the corners.
A very enjoyable morning. Hope to see you out on the trails soon. Have fun 🙂