Saturday, 24 April 2010

You can teach an old dog new tricks

James doing a manual over a drop off
By Richard Sterry
Sunday, April 25, 2010 - 11:39
rsterry's picture

Whilst riding single track trails for years, I’ve attained a skill level that appears adequate. I get over obstacles and stay in one piece, however there is a lot that can be learned from the professionals.

Referring to myself as the old dog, and with Gareth and James we take a skills coaching course with Astounding Adventures. After a cup of tea and a bike check, Jess Weston set about explaining some of the science of riding and teaching us how to do things properly.

We learnt about the importance of body positioning on the bike to maximise effectiveness. For example, a simple manoeuvre can raise the front wheel with minimum effort, saving on tugging at the handlebars. We were soon hopping over logs, soaring over drop offs, gliding over roots, flying round corners and smoothing out dips.

The morning flew by as we learnt the new skills. Over the next few weeks we can put them into practice and change out of our bad habits. At the end of the course, we were presented with a goodie bag including a water bottle, small first aid kit, energy bar and loads of other bits. It was an excellent time, something I should have done years ago.

The course we took was the Single-track Skills course provided by Astounding Adventures based in Leatherhead.