Well I had a cracking day on Sunday. Seeing my good friend Tom Hutton had strayed out of the mountains of Snowdonia on MBR Magazine business (and not too far from where I live) I asked if I could tag along for the ride and so I joined him and Steph in the Chilterns. Continue reading “The Chilterns with MTB Guiding”
No it wasn’t my birthday, but somehow I managed to ride all 4 of my bikes at the weekend all with in the space of 24 hours! Here’s how it happened.
Bike 1 – DMR Wrath
Location – Devizes Skate Park
My daughter was going to play with a friend for the day in Devizes, so when I dropped her off at her home I took my DMR Wrath the skatepark. The DMR Wrath is a kindof half BMX cruiser and half jump bike, I’m not sure I can go down to a 20″ BMX so I think this bike has to move on sometime soon so I can make room for a proper jump bike (or maybe I’ll just fit some forks to this one??).
The skatepark is great fun, with some 4 and 5 foot quarter pipes which are great fun to pop out of and to drop in. It makes you think about your back wheel and chainring positions you have to “jump” in.
My goal for the mini session was to “air out” of one 4 foot and clear the coping to land on an adjacent 4 footer – sort of like a kicker jump. I just about managed to do this and left before the skateboarders I was chatting to could convince to have a go on 4 wheels!
Bike 2 – Genesis CDF
Location – “Around town”
Under the pretense of going to the bank to get my kids their overdue pocket money out, I decided to help the environment and make the short trip on my cyclocross bike instead of taking the car. What should have taken 30-40 mins took almost 2 hours as I had some fun on the dry and dusty trails taking the long way home.
Bike 3 – NS Bikes Surge EVO
Location – Local trails, Calstone
A friend of mine has decided to get a mountain bike to get some exercise and lose a bit of weight. Saturday evening I had offered to introduce him to a short local loop to get him off road. He and his wife are also a friends of my wife and she actively encouraged me to go out with him (this couldn’t get any better)…
So we had a little pedal as I got him introduced to some locations on his doorstep he had never even been to. Once he’d had his intro, he went home for a curry and I had another blast around.
Bike 4 – Vitus Escarpe VRX
Location – Cotswolds
This was my only planned ride for the weekend and the weather was perfect for an explore around some semi-familiar trails near Uley and Dursley in Gloucestershire.
Some great fun was only dampened slightly by one of the gang having a potentially really nasty over the bars moment on the most tame part of the trail.
We still managed a couple of hours riding and enjoyed the sun.
Short video below of Sunday’s ride. Next stop Ladybower Reservoir!
“Do or do not. There is no try.” Yoda said this to Luke Skywalker in The Empire Strikes Back
The whole Dagobah sequence in Episode V is full of great lines and is a favourite part of the whole franchise for many fans, as we watch Luke struggle with his powers and see him fail and refuse to believe he can do it. Yoda is a harsh but calm teacher who watches him make his mistakes, shakes his head when he refuses to listen and eventually lets him learn the hard way that he isn’t ready. #SpoilerAlert (really after all these years?) he duels his Dad who is actually Darth Vader, and has his hand chopped off. Sorry if this was news to you!
Anyway I went to Dagobah this weekend and found some cool jumps! Or was it Endor?
There was a point to this (and thanks Jonathan for the pics btw), and that is that some times is just like that in mountain biking. You can’t try to ride down that hill, or go off that drop, or ride that skinny line; you simply have to do it or not do it. Ok , so the amount of success or pain or mud that ends up on your face at the end depends on some luck and hopefully some learned skills, but basically you have to do it. What I mean here is the “doing it” part doesn’t necessarily mean you get it right, it simply means you have had a good go at it.
But there are some gap jumps and large drop offs for instance that allow for almost no margin for error and I use the qualifier jump on Dai Hard at Bike Park Wales as the example here. Its a proper gap, not too wide really, but wide enough to get in your head and the landing is either on the transition, or well, not! These you simply have to do – 100%. Because 90% might mean a new wheel. 75% a cracked frame and 50% a visit to A&E.
How do you learn to jump something that has such a consequence if you get it wrong? You can go and see Tony Doyle at UK Bike Skills, this will help loads trust me! Then once you have done this, you must go and practice, practice and practice what you have learnt some more until you are so confident you can do it that when you approach that jump at BPW you know you are going to clear it before you even start rolling towards it. There can’t be any doubt.
But while some jumps require a simple black or white approach (watch Red Bull Rampage this weekend and you will know what I mean) there are in reality plenty of places where you can get a little bit grey. A table top is a perfect example.
Find one you’d like to clear and practice. If you don’t make it you’ll land on the top, you can roll it slowly or you can hit it at speed.
Find or even build a jump in your local woods. Now you have control over the height, control over the landing and everything that happens in between.
I only wrote this post so you could see some pics of me in the air! However the jump in the picture was a jump with a lot of grey. You could jump 4 foot or 14 foot and so long as you landed up right you did it. The aim is to land on the transition of course (around 9-10 feet from the take off), but in between is ok too.
I put Bwlch in brackets cos everyone calls it Nant yr Arian, or actually just “Nanty” most of the time, but lets give it its full name for a moment – Bwlch Nant yr Arian. It translates as “Silver Stream Pass” or “Pass of the Silver Stream” and is named after the silver lead ore that was mined in the area. There’s an old mine and museum just down the road, that would be a great spot to drop off the non-mountain biking members of your family while you have a ride or an additional activity if you wanted to have a longer stay. Continue reading “(Bwlch) Nant Yr Arian”
Spent the day with the family in Bristol, visiting the SS Great Britain and the M Shed museum and then ate at Za Za Bazaar. Didn’t have long when I got home, but the warm sun and blue sky was too good to miss so I had a quick spin to catch the sunset.
I only did about 10km up to Oldbury Castle and back but it was well worth it, as I hope these GoPro pics show…
Please click the pics and select full size for the best views…
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