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 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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