Tuesday, 28 September 2010

Beginnner course 280910

Today I was joined by two very cautious women, Emma who only got a bike in July after 20 years of not cycling and Sarah who had fallen off her bike twice, both times resulting in fractures. The key was to gradually build their confidence up, sort out body positioning and other core skills. Sarah confessed to always going very slowly but found that with the right technique increasing her speed wasn't difficult. We progressed on rockier and harder terrain and steeper slopes and at the end she tackled the drop-offs and even enjoyed it! Emma had to get used to her saddle being higher and a new way of getting on and off the bike, something that sounds trivial but off road can be quite hard work. She had no problems with riding steps and drop 0ffs and also got faster and more confident as the day progressed. I was so proud when they both rode down the last descent which has plenty of scary features such as rocks, boulders, drop offs, mud and water. They looked really relaxed!

Hi Emmy,
Thank you so much for the couse today. I've learnt so much about controlling the bike by weight distribution and I feel so much more confident tackling tricky downhills using the techniques you taught us. I only bought my bike 3 months ago after just over 20 years without one, so you must be a good teacher! I'd recommend the course to anyone wanting to build their confidence and learn some key skills.

Your blog post is a very accurate account of the day! I found it really challenging, but you were so patient and encouraging. I managed to do stuff that I would never have imagined myself doing, and what's more, it was fun!

A great day, in a great location, with a great teacher - thanks!


Sunday, 26 September 2010

Intermediate course 250910

Peter and Michael, both in their 60s showed that age isn't relevant when it comes to riding off road. Both were very experienced and attended the course to check whether their self-taught skills were correct and hopefull add new riding techniques. Being quite local, loose and rocky descents as well as big drop-offs weren't an issue for either of them. By showing them how to "pump" the bike, and play around with weighting and unweighting the bike at the right times, they were bunny hopping and jumping off drops by the end of afternoon.

Stephen had a lot of experience of road cycling and had recently started mountain biking in Cumbria where he is based. To prepare himself for the very technical terrain up there he had opted for the intermediate course. Despite injuring his coccyx during the wheelie practise he bravely carried on and did the biggest rear wheel lift I've ever seen! Sean made us all laugh with his extreme enthusiasm for everything and everybody and did really well through out the day. Having done quite a bit of riding ever since he was a kid starting off on a BMX, it was just a question of putting in place the rules that determines the optimal body position on the bike as well as finding out how much difference looking in the right place will make.

Wednesday, 22 September 2010

Beginners course 220910

John took the opportunity of a quiet mid-week session and lovely sunny weather to pick up some off-road riding skills. He had a lot of experience of cycling in general and very quickly absorbed and put into practise all the different techniques used for technical terrain. We spent long enough on each thing for John to perfect them, which didn't take long and it was interesting to hear his thoughts on things as he analysed each technique and how he thought he had done on them. He was often more critical than I was! He also happily threw himself down a few extra things that I was trying out for the first time on a course. The only blood shed was from my own leg as I got tangled in brambles trying to get some good photos, since John didn't provide a single unplanned dismount during the whole day!

Monday, 20 September 2010

Beginners course 190910

There was only a brief moment of sunshine in between the hours of constant drizzle! Thankfully the poor weather did not put off the enthusiastic group that attended the course. Louise, Victoria, Diane, Andy and Phil were all wet and covered in mud by the end of the day and had experienced the terrain at its slippiest and muddiest. A gentle start in the morning to put the core skill in place on easy terrain was followed by a large chunk of climbing practise to get up to the loose and rocky areas for the afternoon. The group managed to both climb and descend over slabs and loose rocks and had a go at most of the very hard and rocky descent which is next to my house with the occasional dive into the grass on the side! At the end the big drop off was made even harder by Louise and Phil as they unintentionally took a novel route and added an extra drop off to the existing one just to show off! Next time I take a group photo I'll try and make sure we aren't obscured by a saddle!

Wednesday, 8 September 2010

Beginners course 080910

If punctures come in threes then Chris shouldn't have any for a long time. Thankfully he had brought enough innertubes! Apart from getting very fast at fixing punctures, he also get very good at riding off-road. He went from, as he described it in the morning, relying of a good set of brakes; to blasting down drop-offs in the afternoon. He had done quite a lot of cycling through his life which made it easy for him to adopt the small changes that makes a big difference to off road riding, which paid off in increased confidence and hopefully lots of fun mountain biking in the future!