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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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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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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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

Ladies Beginners Skills Course 13th April 2013

April 30th, 2013 by

After a few weeks of poor weather it looked like the Ladies Beginners Mountain bike course was going to be rain free! Fingers crossed! Holly had been given a gift voucher and although had ridden off-road several times before was keen to learn the proper technique to off-road riding. Liz is fairly new to mountain biking and was looking forward to learning the skills necessary to have fun riding off-road. 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 them riding the Green trail just so I could see how they got on before we headed into the forest. First thing we covered was 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. Holly and Liz could feel straight away that knowing a few basic skills made them feel

more confident on a bike, especially when braking. 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 P1110707 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 were both looking more flexible and relaxed and I could see their confidence growing. P1110704     Next we moved on to cornering. Firstly I got them all to ride a coned slalom course so I could see how they rode before giving them tips to make cornering much smoother and easier. It took a little time to get them both confident getting away from their saddles and leaning the bike away from them. P1110719P1110724             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 Holly and Liz were looking far more confident manoeuvring their bikes around and started flowing smoothly round the corners. P1110750 P1110731 P1110747P1110761 P1110771P1110737 Next we covered gear changing and the basic technique to climbing with a smooth pedal stroke. Both ladies used their gears effectively to make 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 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

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of bermed corners on a gravity assisted piece of trail so body position, speed control and looking 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

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of their comfort zone. However, after a few tips and attempts their confidence grew and they started cornering with more flow. P1110802 P1110786   To end the session we rode a small section of the Blue trail to see the improvements in their riding from the mornings Green run. Straight away it was obvious that they were both more confident. Automatically getting in the “ready for anything” position as they tackled the trail. They both flowed through the trail with good speed and eased around the corners. A very enjoyable morning and for me as a coach it’s lovely to see the confidence grow in all of the riders as the session progressed. Hope to see you out on the trails soon. Have fun 😀

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Mountain Bike Skills Session – Rachael

April 10th, 2013 by

Spring was definitely not on its way for this mornings tuition!! Instead, a lot of cold showers, however it didn’t put Rachael off turning up for her booked mountain bike skills session. Rachael had been on a mountain bike holiday to Sardinia which was great. It was a little more extreme than she was expecting so decided to book a coaching session with me to get back to basics and build her confidence to be able to tackle more difficult terrain in the future. 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. We had a bit of a warm up cycle to start with as it was so cold and wet before we stopped to go through the ideal body position which is best adopted when riding off road trails. Rachael grasped this well so we moved on to gear changing. Sounds simple but it is so easy to be in the wrong gear at crucial times. We rode a slight incline working on our pedal stroke and changing gears at the right time to keep the traction going through the tyres and keeping it nice and smooth. Rachaels’ poor hands were freezing so she found it a little tricky manoevering the gear lever. Before reaching our introductory 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

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traction from our tyres. With Rachael having skied before she had no trouble understanding where she needed to shift her weight. Riding the corners several times started to build her confidence which was great so we headed onto Stickler 3 to work on linking some corners together.

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Rachael was keen to work on some switch back corners so we used some tighter bermed corners which challenged the whole cornering technique ie: speed control/looking/footwork/body position. After working on the swithback a few times we carried on and rode more singletrack to put all the basic skills learnt into practice. It was a very cold and wet morning but Rachael was starting to flow down the trails looking more confident. Hope to see you out on the trails 🙂

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1-1 Mountain Bike Coaching – Elaine

April 10th, 2013 by

Elaine

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is a lover of the great outdoors. She runs, cycles, does adventure races and triathlons. With an injury keeping her from running she was out on her mountain bike more and decided she wanted to learn the necessary skills to build her confidence for off road riding. 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. Firstly we briefly covered how to change gears smoothly whilst using an efficient pedalling technique for going up hills off road efficiently. At the top of the climb it was time to explain the ideal body position to adopt when riding off road. Elaine picked this up really quickly which was great as this meant we could move on to the core skills to cornering. On the way to the introductory corners we went through how to use your brakes safely and confidently and adjusted Elaine’s brake levers so they are easier to reach when in the control position. 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 we started with a simple one just to

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get the basics correct. To begin with Elaine stayed fairly straight on her bike with not much movement. However, after a few tips she started to lean the bike and shift her bodyweight around which was great. P1110200P1110208               Moving on to the four corners it gave Elaine the opportunity to

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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. P1110216 P1110222               Elaine worked well through the corners and looked more confident moving away from the saddle and leaning the bike over as the trail tightened so she could get the best grip. With her confidence growing we moved onto Stickler to work on linking some corners and using tighter bermed corners to challenge her “looking” and “footwork”technique.   P1110231P1110230 Another aspect of off road riding Elaine wanted to learn was to get over obstacles such as roots/logs/step ups on the trails so we spent a bit of time running through the technique for this. With time running short we headed to Seagull and covered the “cone of movement” going over a mound in the trail and followed the trail to the green gate before heading back to the Look Out. See you on the trails soon.

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Forest Rider – 15th September 2012

October 19th, 2012 by

A lovely morning in Swinley Forest for the Forest Rider Course with Steve and Ben. Ben had taken up mountain biking 6 months ago having not been on a bike for 15 years. He had never been taught and wanted to learn the basics to become more confident. Steve didn’t learn to ride a bike till later on in life and had just started venturing off road and wanted to know the techniques of off road riding to become more assured riding the trails. After a safety check on our bikes and making a few adjustments to brake levers so the wrists could be dropped when in the “control” position we rode out into Swinley Forest along one of the fire tracks. Firstly we covered gear changing and the basic technique to climbing. After a few minutes playing with gear changing and pedal stroke ie: spinning cranks in a circle rather than a square,

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we rode a small climb. They both found that gear changing and a smooth pedal action gave a real benefit to mastering climbs. 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. Ben picked this up quickly and looked more flexible and relaxed on his bike. Steve initially found it difficult to feel comfortable standing on the pedals, out of the saddle as he was use to sitting down

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most of the time. However with practice his confidence grew.               Following on from 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. With the brake lever adjustments already made both Ben and Steve were quite surprised that knowing a few basic skills made them feel more confident. Next we moved on to basic cornering. This highlighted the issue that both Ben and Steve were staying in contact with their saddles for most of the cornering, which was restricting their cone of movement. We spent time focusing on getting the outside foot down and moving bodyweight to increase the grip and control throughout the corner. Steve did find this a bit unnatural and challenging but had progressed by the end of this session. Ben felt confident leaning the

bike over and was cornering smoothly in control.               Moving on and to put the skills learnt into to practice on a basic bit of Singletrack we headed to the Seagull Run. We stopped at the drainage dip along the trail to practice being in the “control” position when such

trail features appear, and how to ride them with confidence and control. The first few attempts they were quite tight in the shoulders but soon started relaxing which made a smoother transition.               Both gents said the biggest learning points for them was body position and brake adjustments. A very enjoyable morning. Hope to see you out on the trails soon. Have fun 🙂

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Ladies Beginners Course 1st September 2012

September 26th, 2012 by

A slightly overcast morning in SwinleyForest for the Ladies Beginners Course but the sun did make an appearance! Catherine had ridden at Swinley before but is fairly new to mountain biking. She wanted to learn the basics to enable her to go mountain biking with her husband. Louise and her daughter Tasmin where new to Swinley and mountain biking and wanted to learn how to ride safely off road. 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 cycled out into Swinley Forest along one of the fire tracks. Firstly we covered gear changing and the basic technique to climbing. After a few minutes playing with gear changing and pedal stroke we rode a small climb using our gears as we went. All of the ladies used their gears effectively to make it to the top of the climb. They all found that gear changing and a smooth pedal action

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is a good thing to master to make hills easier. (more…)

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