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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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 🙂

1 Comment

Sunny morning for coaching George & Ian

April 2nd, 2012 by

  What a cracking day for Ian to take off work to learn some mountain bike skills with his son George. Ian and George have ridden in Swinley Forest as they live close by but don’t know the trails very well or how to link them up. They decided to have lesson so they could make the most of the brilliant mountain bike facility on their doorstep, to build their confidence and riding experience together with learning how to link some of the trails. After a safety check on our bikes followed by a few adjustments to brake positions and tyre pressures we hit the trails. We did a brisk ride along a few fire tracks to get ourselves warmed up before starting to coach the fundamental skills of mountain biking. The first thing we covered was “body position”. When riding off road 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. By getting this correct it is easy to manage the energy coming up from the trail, through the bike into you. Both of them grasped this quickly and Ian was amazed that something so simple made a huge difference to his confidence. After this we did a few braking exercises to show that being in the correct position on your bike was important to braking effectively and in control. By the end of these simple exercises I could see that Ian and George had grown in confidence which was great. Next stop was to introduce the core skills to cornering. To start with we used a flat wide corner to establish the skills required. After a few attempts their basic skills were developing nicely so we moved to a lovely section of linked corners. Here they worked on moving their body weight correctly, speed control and looking. Each attempt they got smoother and more controlled. It was then a quick blast on the Full Nine Yards to reach Stickler 1 to work them on the tight “S” bend which highlighted the importance of looking. With what they had leant earlier on cornering they were now able to feel when the flow wasn’t quite there and started to self analyse which was brilliant. We then popped into Stickler 3 to finish cornering for today on a bigger bermed “S” bend. George and Ian’s immediate thoughts were “looks pretty big!” Both of them are always up for a challenge so both rode it without an issue. Sometimes things may look a bit daunting but using the right skills and positive thinking give you the confidence to achieve and stay in control. Great effort! So with cornering completed we then went for a ride to try to find the downhill section that Ian had ridden previously with George.

Ian wanted some coaching on how to ride down it smoothly and in control without locking the back wheel and skidding down. We found it and it was definitely a very technical lose

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descent with roots, stumps and worn away gullies. Before riding it we first looked at line choice and I gave them a few tips to enable them to ride it in control and relaxed. First time down went well although they both looked a little tense. Ian and George were both keen to have another go. This time they were both more fluid, relaxed and in control. Third time down this run was followed by another interesting trail with roots, stumps and drop offs before we headed back to the car park. A quick run

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through of what we had covered in the session and finding out the key things that had helped their riding. For George it was the leaning/moving his bike when cornering, for Ian it was adjusting his brake levers, body position and learning to relax his arms. All in all a really enjoyable morning in the sunshine. See you on the trails soon.

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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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