Jumps Course 15th Feb

February 16th, 2015 by

A great day was had by all on the Jumps Course – coached

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Ladies Beginners Skills Session 22nd March 2014

March 24th, 2014 by

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

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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.

Louise - Good relaxed Control Position

Louise – Good relaxed Control Position

Sam - Ready for anything

Sam – Ready for anything

Emma - Relaxed, under rotating wrists, heels down, looking ahead

Emma – Relaxed, wrists & heels down, looking ahead

(more…)

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Sunny Day for Coaching MTB Skills

March 17th, 2014 by

  With the trails drying out and the sun shining it was a good day for coaching. Barbara and Ian ride a lot on the road but are getting more into mountain biking. They are planning to do the off road Coast to Coast route this year and wanted to pick up some tips and techniques to be able to flow through the trails and ride for longer. With the welcome and briefing about Swinley and the ground nesting birds covered we went through our basic safety checks (M check), helmet checks and a bit of bike set-up before heading out to the trails. Starting with a little warm up and a slight climb we briefly covered the basics of climbing/gear changing smoothly before focusing on the control position, braking and bike set-up. Brake levers adjusted to assist with the under rotation of the wrists. Basic cornering followed. With changes to the body position, “dropping your outside foot” and “looking” helped Barbara & Ian start to flow around the corners. We corrected a few habits, and got them to move away from their saddles and lean the bike. P1130468P1130462 Once they were happy with the concept of being balanced around the corner, we then moved across to the single-track corners. (more…)

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Nikki’s MTB Lesson

December 4th, 2013 by

On a fresh morning I met up with Nikki for a skills session. She has been riding on the large fire tracks but lacked confidence on her bike so decided to get some coaching. After a safety check on our bikes making sure they were in good working order we headed out. First we covered braking and talked about 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. .Nikki could feel straight away that knowing a few basic skills made her feel more confident on a bike, especially when

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braking. Next 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 Nikki to feel at ease in the “ready for anything” stance as she had been used to sitting on the saddle when riding but she soon was looking confident, more flexible and relaxed on her bike. Next we moved on to cornering. To begin with we rode along

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the fire road to see how far we could lean the bike over to start getting a feel for the control you have on your bike even when you lean it over Nikki was a little apprehensive at first about leaning her bike and being away from her saddle but she grew in confidence. The next challenge was to put this movement on the bike whilst riding round a corner. Here we could work further on the technique of speed control, footwork, body position and looking.

Nikki Practicing Cornering

Nikki Practicing Cornering

Nikki - Great footwork & starting to get the lean

Nikki – Great footwork & starting to get the lean

Continuing to work on cornering Nikki was starting to look more confident manoeuvring her bike around and started flowing smoothly round the corners, especially the left hand one.
Nikki - Mastering a lefthand corner

Nikki – Mastering a lefthand corner

Nikki - Smiles all round when it all comes together

Nikki – Smiles all round when it all comes together

Next we covered gear changing and the basic technique to climbing with a smooth pedal stroke. Nikki used her gears effectively as we climbed the hill and reached the top with no problems. With a quick breather we headed on to a bit of the Blue Trail to introduce her to riding through the narrow single track which gave her the opportunity to put her new skills to the test. We worked on some of the linked corners through the trail which Nikki enjoyed and she was definitely improving. With the coaching session coming to an end we headed back to the car park via a fire road descent. A few coaching tips before we rode down gave Nikki confidence to flow freely down the track safely, confidently and in control Nikki looked far more confident and had progressed throughout the morning Hope to see you out on the trails soon. Have fun 🙂

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Matt’s Skills Session

October 19th, 2013 by

Matt came out for a skills session as he has an off-road duathlon race in a month’s time and wanted to get to grips with the riding skills needed on a mountain bike oppose to a road bike. We covered the basic safety checks and briefing before heading out to the trails. We spent a short

while just focusing on the control position and bike set-up. We discussed the idea of

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the platform for your feet, and how you adjust this as the terrain becomes steeper, while still focusing on the “under rotation” Basic cornering followed; here we introduced a few techniques to help with the corners. We changed his body position to a more balanced set up, as well as using the hips and heels to increase the corner grip and control. Matt picked this up really quickly and was becoming more confident that when you lean the bike over, so long as you have your body weight in the correct place the tyres give loads of grip.

Matt learning the fundamentals to cornering

Matt learning the fundamentals to cornering

We went to the four corners to link the cornering together with quick transitions and introducing the importance of looking.
Matt - Good body position & looking for exit

Matt – Good body position & looking for exit

After linking the four corners together, we had a short blast along the Blue trail to Stickler. The bermed corners were then utilised to further work develop the “looking” aspects of the corners, getting Matt to consider the apex of the corner and then scanning through the exit.
Matt - Ooops, bit of brain frazzle

Matt – Ooops, bit of brain frazzle

We then introduced a bit of pumping so Matt could gain free speed just by using the energy he put into his bike. Matt picked this up well and could feel his bike accelerate when he got the timing right.
Matt - Pumping the trails

Matt – Pumping the trails

Moving on to the tight bermed corners in Stickler initially proved a bit of a challenge, returning to old habits, but after a few runs through Matt had mastered it.
Matt - Back to old habits!

Matt – Back to old habits!

Matt - Nice one! :-)

Matt – Nice one! 🙂

We came back via the delights of the Blue run, enjoying the large bermed corners and a few of the bumps along the way. Good Luck with the Duathlon. Sarah 🙂

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Mountain Bike Skills Session with Sally

October 18th, 2013 by

Sally has previously been riding canal paths, wide tracks in the New Forest etc but has recently found the new Blue trail in Swinley Forest. Some of the trail features were proving a little tricky and thought a 1:1 lesson would be a good idea. We began the session with a quick briefing about Swinley Forest followed by talking about the bike set up and completing a safety check before setting off. To start with we went through the “control/ready for anything position” on the bike. Off the saddle, balanced over the centre of the bike letting it move around beneath us. Sally got to grip with this in no time and felt it made a huge difference to feeling in control riding along the trail. We then started moving our weight around the bike to introduce where her body position should be to gain the best traction from our tyres when we want to turn. Before climbing up part of the blue trail we went through how to change gears smoothly as well as the technique to use for getting to the top of climbs. As we rode to the next bit of trail Sally was starting to automatically get out of her saddle to smooth out the trail and have more flow. Moving on to cornering we started with a simple one just to get the basics correct. It took a few attempts to get her body position correct but Sally was soon looking confident leaning the bike over.

Sally - 1st try. Footwork good but more lean needed on bike

Sally – 1st try. Footwork good but more lean needed on bike

Sally - Better position on bike for cornering

Sally – Better position on bike for cornering

Moving on to the four corners gave Sally the opportunity to practice making the quick transition from a left hand corner to a right hand corner whilst controlling her speed. It also introduced the importance for looking down the trail and accentuating the lean of the bike to get it around tighter corners. (more…)

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Mountain Bike Gift Voucher for Diana 23/8/13

September 9th, 2013 by

Diana has only been mountain biking for 4 months and recently lost her confidence after a fall so her boyfriend bought her a Skills Gift Voucher so she could learn some of the techniques for safe off road riding and to regain her confidence. Diana had told me that she struggles with balance, is quite wobbly on the narrow tracks and lacks confidence on drops since her tumble. After a bike and equipment check where we discussed bike set up ie: seat height, brake levers, tyre pressures we headed off to the trails. The first fundamental skill we covered was the ideal “body position” for biking off road. Being up out of the saddle helps manage the lumps and bumps that are on the trails. Diana was naturally adopting this position and was quickly moving confidently around on her bike. We then covered braking. After spending a few minutes practicing she could really feel the benefits of dropping the wrists and heels which makes braking more efficient and safe. From here we moved on to cornering. Starting with a simple flat wide corner it enabled me to slightly adjust her cornering technique before moving onto some linked corners

Diana shifting her riding position to ease round the corner

Diana shifting her riding position to ease round the corner

Diana - outside foot down, leaning the bike.

Diana – outside foot down, leaning the bike.

Before Diana rode the linked corners we discussed the rooty entrance and how best to tackle such trail features. Diana rode this section several

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times and at first looked tense in her upper body but by the end of the coaching on this section she was more confident gliding over the roots.

Diana tackling the roots with confidence

Diana tackling the roots with confidence

On the linked corners Diana was improving her technique each time and was soon relaxing her shoulders, moving her bodyweight around the bike to gain the most grip and was riding far more smoothly.
Diana - good weighted outside leg & looking. Need to work on getting away from the saddle more.

Diana – good weighted outside leg & looking. Need to work on getting away from the saddle more.

Next we tackled how to adapt your body position when the trail ahead of you drops away. After a demo it was Diana’s turn. To begin with she was a bit apprehensive but once she had adjusted her bodyposition on her bike, controlled her speed and looked through the section she was riding it really well. It was great to see her confidence grow.
Part 1 - Looking committed & confident as the trail disappears!

Part 1 – Looking committed & confident as the trail disappears!

Part 2 - Chin up looking ahead for trail features.

Part 2 – Chin up looking ahead for other trail features.

We then headed across the forest to Stickler to carry on the cornering theme at a switchback corner to work on the importance of “looking” and to challenge Diana further.

As this section stepped outside of Diana’s comfort zone her first attempt took her back to old habits which meant she struggled to make it round the corner smoothly. However with a bit more coaching and more practice she started to corner better.

Looking for your "exit" great......body position not so good. Be confident to lean the bike & get outside leg down.

Looking for your “exit” great……body position not so good. Be confident to lean the bike & get outside leg down.

Diana had mentioned previously a part of the trail that she really had difficulty riding. With the improvements Diana had made I was convinced that she would now be able to ride it with confidence so we headed to the “Whoops”(that’s what I call them!) on Stickler. With a quick re-cap on how to adjust your riding when the trail drops away Diana gave it a go. I am pleased to say she rode them brilliantly and with a new found confidence…..whoop whoop!!
Whoop Whoop - Looking good!!!

Whoop Whoop – Looking good!!!

It was great to meet you and I had a great morning. Have fun practicing the techniques you picked up and may see you out on the trails soon 🙂

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MTB Skills Morning with James & Kate 17/8/13

September 3rd, 2013 by

James and Kate are used to riding road bikes but had recently enjoyed riding off road on forest tracks at the New Forest so bought a couple of mountain bikes. We began the session with a quick briefing about Swinley Forest followed by talking about the bike set up and completing a safety check before setting off. To begin with I got them both to ride the green trail so it would give me

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an idea on the sort of level of off road riding they currently had. They both rode it well and were already getting off of the saddle to manoeuvre their bikes so this was a great starting point. To start with we went through the “control/ready for anything position” on the bike and how to use the brakes safely and confidently. We then started moving our weight around the bike to introduce where her body position should be to gain the best traction from our tyres. Moving on to cornering

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we started with a simple one just to get the basics correct. James and Kate picked this up quickly and looked confident leaning the bike over so we moved to the linked corners. The four corners gave Kate and James the opportunity to practice making the quick transition from a

left hand corner to a right hand corner whilst controlling speed. We also looked at line choices and visual irritations on a trail that may affect your confidence and commitment and spoke about how best to tackle them. Kate worked

well through the corners and looked more confident moving away from her saddle and leaning the bike over as the trail tightened so she could get the best grip. Despite cornering really well on the flat sweeping corner earlier James struggled a bit with the tighter corners and started drifting back to his saddle rather than pushing the bike away. With a bit more practice he was progressing but needed to build on this technique After this we looked at how to adapt your body position when the trail disappears in front of you i.e.: bomb hole/roll in. Following a demonstration of shifting your body weight & adjusting your pedal position James & Kate rode this section of the trail with confidence. To finish off the session we went to Stickler and looked at a few different types of corners on the trail where speed control and looking were crucial to ride them smoothly and efficiently. As Kate & James rode these sections I could see that their riding had really progressed since we rode the green trail at the beginning of the session which was great. Hope to see you out on the trails 🙂

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New recruits mountain bike skills course for Birds on Bikes.

June 21st, 2013 by

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. Beginners mountain bike skills course Beginners mountain bike skills course Beginners mountain bike skills course Beginners mountain bike skills course 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. Beginners mountain bike skills course Beginners mountain bike skills course 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.

Mountain Bike Tuition coaching Lisa on the berm

Lydia riding the berm!

Mountain Bike Tuition coaching Lisa on the berm

Lisa riding the berm!

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 🙂

1 Comment

MTB Skills Coaching with Adam – 11th June 2013

June 15th, 2013 by

Adam used to do a lot of road riding but with the roads being quite unpleasant to ride on due to too many dangerous and impatient car drivers he decided to start riding off road. Like many of us once you have tried mountain biking you love it. Adam booked up a skills session as he had started competing in a few mountain bike endurance races and wanted to learn a few tips to get faster and more efficient on the trails. We started back to basics to iron out any bad habits he may have picked up. The first skill we worked on was his body position on the bike…..”control” or “ready for anything” stance and how to adapt this to get round corners. Straight away Adam found it much easier to move the bike around by being out of the saddle and shifting his body weight. By adjusting the position of his brake levers also helped with braking. We covered cornering next, starting simple to get the technique correct. Adam was pretty smooth cornering to the left but needed to work harder on the right hand corner as he tended to dip his shoulder and not shift his body weight over enough. The 4 corners gave Adam the opportunity to practice making the quick transition from a left hand corner to a right hand corner whilst controlling speed. Adam worked well through the corners and looked confident moving away from the saddle and leaning the bike over more as the trail tightened so he could get the best grip. P1120386P1120393               Once the 4 corners were mastered it was on to “Stickler” with the many singletrack corners to work through where you need smooth pedal strokes to transition between each corner and focus ahead. Here we also introduced a bit of pumping so we could gain free speed

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just by using the energy we put into our bikes. P1120405 Adam was using his footwork well to corner but did start going back to his saddle whilst in the corners so we worked on getting out of that habit before we moved on to a bermed tight s-bend to put all the earlier work on cornering into practice. P1120400P1120408                 To manage these corners well and to keep a good flow and momentum it was important to be focused, looking for your exit, footwork and leaning the bike. Adam’s first attempt took him a bit high on the first exit because he was not looking far enough around the corner for his

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exit which made it more difficult to keep momentum and tackle the second corner. He needed to scan all the way round the corner to the exit, turning his hips (steering with his belly button) and leaning his bike over. Whilst coaching we watched a few other riders come labouring through these corners having to pedal and waste energy. One rider fell off purely from the fact of being sat in his saddle, entering the corner too fast, not in the correct body position and not looking. Luckily he didn’t hurt himself but it gave us a good example of how not to corner! So with a few more coaching points Adam was coasting around these corners with ease whilst conserving energy but not losing any speed. P1120413To practice pumping the trail a bit more we rode a section of “Tank Traps” without pumping, then re-rode it pumping. Adam was getting more efficient at this skill and could feel the free energy and acceleration he was getting. On the way back to the car park we looked

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at how reading the trail ahead can help build up a picture of what may be ahead. At the end of the coaching Adam was much more relaxed in his shoulders/elbows, his footwork was good and he felt he was gaining speed and cornering far more efficiently. Good luck, practice and enjoy 🙂

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