Superb Afternoon coaching Jane

March 22nd, 2012 by

  Beautiful afternoon to be teaching mountain bike skills. The trails were dry and quiet and the birds were tweeting. Jane had picked a perfect time to have a day off. Jane’s first sport is sailing closely followed by ski-ing. But as a lover of the great outdoors she also enjoys doing a bit of cycling and wanted to learn some

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basic mountain biking skills so she can ride off road confidently and in control. We began the session with a quick briefing about SwinleyForest followed by talking about the bike set up and completing a safety check before setting off. Using a gradual incline we firstly covered how to change gears smoothly whilst using an efficient pedalling technique for going up hills. At the top of the hill it was time to explain the ideal body position to adopt when riding off road. Jane picked this up really quickly which was great as this meant we could move on to cornering technique. Before reaching our introductory

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corners we went through how to use your brakes safely and confidently. We then started moving our weight around the bike to introduce where our body position should be to gain the best traction from our tyres. With Jane having skied before she had no trouble understanding where she needed to shift her weight to get round the corners and I could see her confidence growing which was fantastic. Having nailed the basics to cornering we moved onto Stickler 3 to work on linking some

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corners together. Jane was smoothly changing her body position and using her footwork well so I then chose a tighter bermed corner to challenge her “looking” technique. Jane was slightly apprehensive at first as this corner does have a trail feature (a big tree) on the inside of the corner that can put you off your flow. However, after a few attempts and using the building blocks already learnt earlier she was happily getting round. To complete cornering for the day it was off to the “four corners” with its tricky rooty entrance. With a few tips on how to tackle roots Jane tackled them confidently and did a few smooth runs round the corners. Descending was the next thing Jane wanted to cover so we headed to a medium sized hill. Few teaching points and Jane rode down with great control. We then went to a bit of singletrack that had a small roll in to demonstrate moving your body position when you find the trail drops away. Time was unfortunately running out so it was time to head back. As Jane was growing in confidence and eager to give anything a go I gave her two choices; either up a fire road climb or attempt a technical singletrack climb that has most people getting off there bikes just looking at it. Jane chose the latter which was brilliant and really showed her grit and determination to try something new. She made two gallant efforts but today wasn’t going to be the day to conquer it…….although with a bit more practice I am sure it won’t be long until she will be at the top! It was a fabulous afternoon and lovely to meet you. Hope to see you out on the trails when you’re not sailing 😀

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Michael & Neil’s Skills Session

March 18th, 2012 by

  Michael and Neil decided to make the most of the good weather we are having and booked on a pairs skills session. Both of them are experienced road riders/triathletes so very used to handling a bike on tarmac but realise that handling a bike off road is a different kettle of fish! Although they have been riding mountain bikes for about a year they wanted to learn the new set of skills needed to be able to flow fast and smoothly through singletrack. The morning began with a safety check

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on our bikes and a quick chat about the kind of tyre pressure required for off road riding. After reducing the psi in their front tyres we headed out to the trails. Knowing that both Michael and Neil were used to sitting comfortably on their road bikes the first thing we covered was the body position to adopt when mountain biking. When riding off road technical trails it is essential to get your body position/footwork correct so the bike can move freely beneath you so you are poised and “ready for anything” the trail may throw at you. Both of them grasped this quickly so we moved on to some braking practice and introduced the basics of cornering. To begin with we rode a flat wide corner to get the feel of getting the outside foot down. Michael and Neil had no trouble with which foot to get down round a corner so we quickly moved on to a singletrack section of linked corners. Here I got them to concentrate on moving their body weight and leaning the bike a bit more. It was then a quick blast on the Full Nine Yards to reach Stickler 2. Using one of the larger sweeping corners it

was time to put their new cornering skills in to practice. The first few times through were a bit clunky but with a few coaching tips they were riding it with a lot more flow. Next we looked at a tight “S” bend which highlighted the importance of looking. With Neil and Michael soaking up all the information well it was time to take in a few of the flowing trails and headed to the expert mountain bike area. Here we covered a bit about how to descend on narrow, loose terrain in a controlled manor. Having descended from the highest point in Swinley in was time to go back up so climbing up the wall with no run up certainly got the lungs burning. After catching our breath it was time to finish cornering with a blast down Deer Stalker which is always great to ride and start heading back to the Look Out. On the way we stopped off at the pump track to show how we can make riding more energy efficient by learning how to pump. Both had a few attempts and were getting to grips with it and with a bit more practice I am sure they will be enjoying coasting through bits of trail saving energy as they go. Thoroughly enjoyable morning. Great to meet you both and hope you get a chance to get out on the trails soon to practice 😀

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Private Session with Tony and Charlie (aged 8)

March 12th, 2012 by

Both Dad, Tony and Son, Charlie had ridden in Swinley a few times before – but struggled with a few of the trails so decided to come out on a coaching session. We covered the basic safety checks and briefing before heading out to the trails. We spent a short while just focusing on body position, braking and bike set-up. As is common with youths’ bikes, Charlie’s had been set-up without any consideration that he has smaller hands than the mechanic that set the bike up. It needed the brake levers closer to the bar and also set at the correct angle. Once we’d made the necessary adjustments, Charlie was able to use the brakes in a more controlled and safe fashion. Basic cornering followed the braking exercises; changes to foot work was the order of the day for both Tom and Charlie. Linking the foot work with the shift in body position became more

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natural and both of them were starting to flow through the corners. We then headed over to “Stickler” to sample the challenges of the switch back on “Stickler One”. Here the focus turned to “looking through for the exit”, and both Tony and Charlie developed their looking skills with a few runs through the corners. As both were taking in the new found skills quickly and smoothly we decided to up the stakes a bit and headed onto “Stickler Two” where the bermed corners get progressively bigger and tighter. Charlie soaked up the cornering techniques and was whizzing through the corners like an expert in no time at all. We finished off the cornering on “Stickler Three” with the final deep bomb hole and berms, both Tony and Charlie flowed through the berms with style and confidence. On our ride back towards the LookOut

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we tried a few exercises with pumping and manual front wheel lift. Then discussed how you can develop this into the bunny hop. Final debrief at the car park and it was time to head for home. It was a pleasure doing the coaching session and I hope to see you both out on your bikes soon.

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Ladies Beginners Course

March 8th, 2012 by

They forecast rain and they were right! Lots of it!

However, it didn’t put off Gemma and Rebecca coming on the ladies beginners’ course.

Gemma and Rebecca are fairly new to mountain biking and wanted to learn the basic techniques to give them the confidence to tackle more off road singletrack.

To start with we carried out a safety check on our bikes making sure they were in good working order. After a few adjustments and bolt tightening we rode out into Swinley Forest along one of the fire tracks.

Firstly we covered the body position to adopt when riding off road……..”ready for anything/control” position incorporating being out of the saddle, dropping the heels, wrists and looking ahead.

Although the ladies found this a bit unnatural to begin with by the end of this practice they were both looking more flexible and relaxed on their bikes which was great.

Following a brief introduction on how to get round corners with confidence and flow, Gemma and Rebecca practiced shifting their bodyweight around the bike riding round a short coned course.  They both got to grips with this very quickly so we moved on to a rooty bit of singletrack to introduce some trail features that will be encountered when riding in SwinleyForest.

Riding over roots is something that a lot of people get nervous about and Rebecca and Gemma were no different.  The wet conditions didn’t make it ideal to learn how to ride rooty terrain but with a few simple coaching points the ladies rode this section with ease.

We then headed up the trail and talked about gear changing and the basic technique to climbing.  Riding a small climb gave us an opportunity to get warm but we were so wet it would take more than a small hill to take the chill off!

Being cold and wet didn’t dampen Gemma and Rebecca’s enthusiasm and they were both keen to keep going. We rode to a section of Stickler 3 to introduce linked cornering and some more technical sections of singletrack.  By the end of this practice they were linking the corners nice and smoothly.

The ride back to the Look Out against a blustery head wind still  didn’t manage to warm us up so it was a quick debrief and home for a hot chocolate!

It was really good to see the ladies confidence grow as the session progressed.  Hope to see you both out on the trails in better weather!



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A chilly pairs session

February 3rd, 2012 by

Karl & Ian A freezing session today – a balmy 0deg C – Karl and Ian had ridden at Swinley a few times before, but mentioned that they were struggling with the bermed corners, and maintaining the speeds. After basic bike and kit check we headed out towards the trails. Initial 30mins was spent assessing and correcting basic body positioning, bike set up, braking techniques and cornering. Once we’d removed a few old habits, and got them thinking about how they were riding we were then on the linked corners in the single-track. (more…)

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Course Dates Now Agreed

January 23rd, 2012 by

We now have got our dates for our courses running through to June. We shall get them published on the booking calendar soon.

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Pairs Session 29th Dec – Neil & Jason

December 29th, 2011 by

Great Pairs session today at Swinley, the weather held off and the trails were

not the normal mud fest for December. Session focused on body position, cornering, and looking. We started at the

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top of the Full Nine Yards, sessioning the

first 4 corners. Progressing onto Stickler and the tight switch-back. More to follow …

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