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1st Skills course

concordeconcorde Posts: 1,111
edited January 2013 in MTB beginners
Going one of these, group of 5 of us. Thinking this one http://www.afanmtb.com/easy_do.htm over in Afan. Just wondering if anybody knows, firstly if this course is and the instructors any good? Secondly, what kind of things would you normally go through in a 1st session?

Background:

Been riding, seriously, probably about 1 year, I feel I'd like ot learn to manual and hop etc. Where is it generally best to invest time for a 1st course. I know it's probably personal, but like would it be a waste of time doing certain things etc?

Posts

  • nferrarnferrar Posts: 2,511
    No idea about that specific course (I did mine with Jedi @ UK Bike Skills but that's a fair way away from South Wales). What you learn on the course should really be up to the group (and the type of course you've signed up for). If it's just a general skills course then you'll cover things like position on the bike, looking down the trail, cornering, berms, drops - it will mostly about making sure you're doing the fundamentals right so you can then go and practice in your own time rather than saying turning up without knowing how to jump and then being able to clear 6ft gaps 4 hours later.
    A year's experience is probably a good time to do a general course, maybe even sooner as it's much harder to unlearn bad habits than learn the correct way from the start. I'd been MTBing for 20 years on and off before I went on the course and you have to constantly remind yourself to do things the way you've been taught not the way you've taught yourself (assuming they're different, lots of things were in my case!).
    I'd be a bit wary about doing one in a group of 5 unless you're all of a similar standard with the same goals, otherwise it's easy for the weakest (or more vocal) rider to monopolise the instructor's time. I went as a group of 3 of a roughly similar skill level and although I learnt loads in hindsight I'd pay the extra and do it solo.
    They can also be pretty knackering so try and have a good basic fitness (if you get out of breath after a mile of flat riding then you'll be too tired after an hour or two into the course to keep picking up new stuff and practising it properly). Mentally you start switching off after a few hours to, a good instructor should spot this and give regular breaks and eventually call it a day once everyone's started to switch off and make mistakes.
  • concordeconcorde Posts: 1,111
    nferrar wrote:
    No idea about that specific course (I did mine with Jedi @ UK Bike Skills but that's a fair way away from South Wales). What you learn on the course should really be up to the group (and the type of course you've signed up for). If it's just a general skills course then you'll cover things like position on the bike, looking down the trail, cornering, berms, drops - it will mostly about making sure you're doing the fundamentals right so you can then go and practice in your own time rather than saying turning up without knowing how to jump and then being able to clear 6ft gaps 4 hours later.
    A year's experience is probably a good time to do a general course, maybe even sooner as it's much harder to unlearn bad habits than learn the correct way from the start. I'd been MTBing for 20 years on and off before I went on the course and you have to constantly remind yourself to do things the way you've been taught not the way you've taught yourself (assuming they're different, lots of things were in my case!).
    I'd be a bit wary about doing one in a group of 5 unless you're all of a similar standard with the same goals, otherwise it's easy for the weakest (or more vocal) rider to monopolise the instructor's time. I went as a group of 3 of a roughly similar skill level and although I learnt loads in hindsight I'd pay the extra and do it solo.
    They can also be pretty knackering so try and have a good basic fitness (if you get out of breath after a mile of flat riding then you'll be too tired after an hour or two into the course to keep picking up new stuff and practising it properly). Mentally you start switching off after a few hours to, a good instructor should spot this and give regular breaks and eventually call it a day once everyone's started to switch off and make mistakes.

    Cheers, really helpful. We have decided to go with 3 of us, we're similar skill level so should be ok. Apparently they ring to see what we want to learn etc, to be faster down a trail should be a good answer, they'll cover the things you mentioned above then, more than likely. I would like to learn how to manual mind!
  • I was thinking about taking a course myself and that one looks good, so it would be great if you could report back and let me know how it was.

    I've only just starting MTB and loving it so far, but I could really benefit from some training.
  • concordeconcorde Posts: 1,111
    dashfield wrote:
    I was thinking about taking a course myself and that one looks good, so it would be great if you could report back and let me know how it was.

    I've only just starting MTB and loving it so far, but I could really benefit from some training.

    Will do, can't wait. Booked for 27th Jan.
  • lostboysaintlostboysaint Posts: 4,369
    Lots of good stuff in Nferrar's post, particularly the learning "good" technique early on and banishing the bad technique. Coaching is brilliant, you should enjoy it because it makes a noticeable difference to your riding. Have a great time and we look forward to the report.

    I got my first coaching session (with Richard Kelly of All Biked Up - the IMB guru) after a few rides (by luck, I was invited on a corporate day) and have been back a few times. Getting it so early since my MTBing was reborn made a lot of difference very quickly and made it easier to get into good habits.
    Trail fun - Transition Bandit
    Road - Wilier Izoard Centaur/Cube Agree C62 Disc
    Allround - Cotic Solaris
  • concordeconcorde Posts: 1,111
    Sounds like it'll lbe great. It's £35 for half a day for the three of us, rang up and got a full day for £40 each. i know it gets dark earlier so won't be a proper full day but still. Ride the next day then to put the stuff into practice. Really looking forward to it now!
  • nferrarnferrar Posts: 2,511
    Yeah worth paying the extra for a full day so you don't feel you need to rush. I'm guessing you'll get taught the right way to manual (as in not pulling up on the bars!) but it takes a long time to master (I haven't, although I don't actually practice them) so just go with realistic expectations of coming away knowing what you need to practice rather than coming away being able to manual comfortably down trails ;)

    Oh and pedals-wise ride what you normally ride (i.e. if you ride SPDs don't switch to flats for the course, unless you're really focusing on manuals). I'd advise wearing pads to if you have them, gives you a bit more confidence to push things especially once taught proper cornering technique and shown how much grip you really have
  • concordeconcorde Posts: 1,111
    nferrar wrote:
    Yeah worth paying the extra for a full day so you don't feel you need to rush. I'm guessing you'll get taught the right way to manual (as in not pulling up on the bars!) but it takes a long time to master (I haven't, although I don't actually practice them) so just go with realistic expectations of coming away knowing what you need to practice rather than coming away being able to manual comfortably down trails ;)

    Oh and pedals-wise ride what you normally ride (i.e. if you ride SPDs don't switch to flats for the course, unless you're really focusing on manuals). I'd advise wearing pads to if you have them, gives you a bit more confidence to push things especially once taught proper cornering technique and shown how much grip you really have

    Thanks. Yes I didn't think I'd come aaway from there doing everything I want to be able to, but at least someone that knows can look at what I'm doing wrong and give me some pointers, that's what I was thinking.

    I'll stick with my flats, don't fancy SPDs :-/

    Cheers for the advice, looking forward to cornering flat out!
  • I'm hopin to do a skills course soon at llandegla. Heard neil 'donny' donoghue sometimes leads the course so that would be ace! I also want to learn manuals and bunnyhops. Can do little ones but could do with someone who could advise how to do them better.
  • concordeconcorde Posts: 1,111
    SteveH28 wrote:
    I'm hopin to do a skills course soon at llandegla. Heard neil 'donny' donoghue sometimes leads the course so that would be ace! I also want to learn manuals and bunnyhops. Can do little ones but could do with someone who could advise how to do them better.

    I've had a look at the courses at Llandegla, got ours tomorrow at Afan and if succesful I am def doing one in the future with Neil Donoghue! What a legend. The video of him riding B line is one of my fav MTB videos. Class!

    Will report back with how it went on Saturday/Sunday.
  • concordeconcorde Posts: 1,111
    Looks like it's cancelled tomorrow beacuse of the weatehr/conditions over in Afan at the minute. 4 weeks to the next available slot that's convenient for us all! :-(
  • styxdstyxd Posts: 3,234
    If you want to learn how to manual and bunnyhop, practice on your street or in a carpark somewhere.
  • concordeconcorde Posts: 1,111
    styxd wrote:
    If you want to learn how to manual and bunnyhop, practice on your street or in a carpark somewhere.

    I know that but practicing incorrect technique isn't much good, someone who knows the technique watching and giving pointers on what to do differently will help. Mainly going to get quicker down trails anyway, manualling is not the prime focus.
  • concordeconcorde Posts: 1,111
    It was cancelled due to snow, will rearrange and report back.
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