Drone filming and jumping

Clumps 1
Back to the top again

My mate Gary has a drone. A DJI Mavic drone. And now I want one!

I’ve found my wings again this last few weeks at a local spot and we had a great time on Saturday hitting the singletrack and the jumps in the woods.  When the woods opened out a little we thought the drone would be a great way to capture some of the action.

Clumps 2
Time for Take 2, or is it 3?

Its so cool to see yourself in action like this.  Regular readers of my blog will know I like to try and take the GoPro off me and the bike from time to time, but you can’t get footage like this unless you actually get the camera in the air.

Gary has previously flown RC helicopters, but his newest toy is a DJI Mavic and he’s working towards obtaining his CAA Permit to take drone flying a little further. Also if you didn’t know, you actually need a permit in order to legally fly a drone further than 120 metres and out of line of sight (or something like that).

Clumps 3
And that’s a wrap…

Anyway, enough of me droning on (I crack myself up sometimes), its time to let the riding and the aerial photography do the talking. So here’s the awesome results of Gary’s filming on Saturday afternoon, and go follow him on YouTube or Vimeo here.


All stills and the video thanks top Gary Lee / Ridgeway Drones

Black and White Mountain Biking

Do or Do not

“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?

Black and White

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.

What we think we do…


Well these pictures aren’t the best, they are stills from my pocket camera and the video I was making tonight… In isolation they look ok, the blur indicates speed and excitement, and it felt like it at the time. But when I watched the video back it was like watching slow motion!

Why is that??? Video uploading to YouTube right now I will post a link tomorrow.

Edit – here it is:

Also take a look at the SlopeJunkies flying their quads around my local hills…

Building Confidence

jumps drops and steps

Some local kids tried to build some dirt jumps on a bit of land near my house a while ago. Its in plain site of the road and I am not sure they were supposed to do it but they did, and I ride there from time to time. Its gone to ruin and I haven’t seen anyone do anything there other than smoke and drink in the last couple of years.

There are 2 small areas like this quite close to my home (ie with in a 2 minute ride) and I would like to use them as a small practice playground. Only problem is that they don’t drain very well. The trees have recently been cut back drastically in the one in the photo, and I think this will slow the draining down further as there will be nothing to drink the excess rain water.  I suppose only time and a little dry weather will tell.

The area pictured above can be used for jumping practice and boy do I need that!

The other area, not pictured is more secluded (but wetter), would be great for a little skills loop. Nothing has been built there at all but I discovered it last year when out looking for our cat that had gone AWOL. It has some potential, nothing serious but some steep (but short) drops and small step-ups could easily be adapted from the natural features around the stream and among the tree roots.

Both these areas are within limping distance of my house could be used to hone some much needed skills

So my question to those that are listening is, what are the rules for taking a spade (even just a little bit) to public land and digging a small hole or two?

I know that “digging” goes on all over but what does the law say?

Related post on PinkBike but not UK based information…