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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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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Liam and family session

April 9th, 2012 by

Easter break saw Liam with the 4 kids come to Swinley, William and Lizzie had been on a course at another centre, Henry and David were new to skills sessions. 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, braking and bike set-up. As is common with children’s bikes the brake levers are always set up too far away for their hands to reach the levers. After a few adjustments we were sorted. Basic cornering followed the braking exercises; changes to the body position, “dropping your outside foot” and “looking” helped the group start to flow around the corners. (more…)

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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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