I love everything about mountain biking (apart from the cost, changing standards and that I can’t do it every damn day!)…
I enjoy a long ride in the mountains, uplift days, exploring and a good trail centre.
I like packing a bag, with lunch and a stove and heading out for hours on end, and I love a quick blast up and down my local hill before the sun sets.
I love singletrack, bridleways, hardpacked dirt, rocks, roots, mud, puddles and overgrown byways.
I love learning to jump, doing track stands and sliding down steep gnarly bits of trail.
Yeah mountain biking is great fun and I love everything about it. Last weekend 2 of us went out for about 4 hours and didn’t go far at all. What we did was we found a steep bank and rode it over and over and over again.
At first we thought it wasn’t possible, then by the end we were satisfied we’d achieved something pretty cool, progressed our riding and moved on to find something else.
Well this is how you beat it. This is how you learn. This is how you win. But mostly this is how you figure out how to deal with surprise obstacles on a trail and add to your “bag of tricks” and build your confidence when being shown stuff by other riders in new locations.
We don’t have a great deal of elevation where I live so we have to make the most of what we find and often this means sessioning and repeating short bits of trail to tune our skills.
Go and session something this weekend until you nail it!
Ryan Leech is a bit of a trials bike legend who I first saw on the Extreme Sports channel popping up in episodes of Ride Guides. I did a little bit of BMX as kid but nothing that comes close to trials riding, but I have always loved to watch skills vids and edits from the likes of Danny Macaskill and Chris Akrigg.
Anyway, I’ve always tried to push myself on technical sections and roots. I don’t shy away from logs in the path and I like a track stand challenge. So when the opportunity to subscribe to Ryan Leech’s online skills course came along I thought I’d have a look!
At first it seems a little odd to be taught riding skills on the internet in this way but Ryan’s mixture of text and video explains things in a simple way and provide you with progressive lessons to hone your skills.
I have only just started to give his online course a try and have so far been impressed with the way he breaks down things like track stands and slow turns into their component parts.
As with my session at UK Bike Skills this is going to be a slow process of making sure I’m using the right techniques and then applying them on the trail. The difference between learning to jump or drop and learning some slower speed skills, is that I can drill them in the garden or in my lunch break.
Stay tuned and I’ll keep you posted on how I get on. In the mean time check me out turning around on my bike in the garden! Sounds silly but these little exercises hone your trail skills and bike handling.
Ryan Leech has got some skills. I think I first spotted him on Extreme Sports Ride Guide mountain bike show. It was a kind travel programme for mountain bikers – only one episode was in the UK which is a shame, but it was great to see some cool riding and stunning locations from around the world.
Anyway, Ryan is a trials rider and in one or two episodes demonstrates his Danny Mackaskill’s and hopes around some rocks by a mountain lake and in another rides with Hans Rey.
But here we are with what I think might be a first – a paid for ‘learn how to wheelie’ course with a legend but in the form of webisodes (videos etc) delivered weekly on the internet. I am intrigued and am considering subscribing for the $30 fee just to see how he presents a wheelie course on line like this.
I am not entirely sure that I will ever achieve the Jedi skills of Luke Skywalker and be able to navigate a Speeder Bike through a forest at 200mph, but speeding through the forest and being comfortable off the ground on my own bike at 20mph might be a target worth aiming for.
This week two friends of mine had a session with Tony “Jedi” Doyle at UK Bike Skills Ltd and came away suitably impressed, inspired and improved and I think its time I took the plunge and had some Jedi training.
I just called Tony and he seems like a great bloke and all I need now is someone to join me for some skills training and to get a session booked.