Despite Storm Dennis and the aftermath of wind and rain, our mountain bike holiday camps for kids went ahead last week without too much disruption. Over the half term week over 50 children braced the wild conditions, wrapped up warm and headed out onto the trails for some great outdoors fun from Queen Elizabeth Country Park in Horndean, Hampshire.
Over each day we ran different groups based on ability from our beginners learning about bike control and handling skills like cornering and braking, to more advance sessions for riders who where looking to progress their riding and start jumping.
All the sessions link together progressive coaching using fun games and feedback. Our young riders also got to play coach, in the advance group, giving feedback to each other making positive suggestions and giving helpful tips to other riders.
Thank you to our super coaching team Renee, Francie and Jools who passed on their own mountain biking experiences and made the sessions enjoyable for all riders.
While we’re finally nearing the end of January, there are still a fair few weeks left of winter – which means you still need to make sure that your mountain bike is in fine fettle and will keep you in your seat until the weather starts to warm up a little.
There’s no reason to lock your bike up in the shed, hibernating for the winter, and there’s some amazing and exhilarating riding to be had at this time of year, but just bear in mind that the conditions can take their toll on your bike so you may want to give it a bit more love and attention than you might do otherwise.
Prevention is always better than cure so after you’ve been out and about, make sure you give yourself enough time to wash your bike down. If you’re exhausted and really can’t manage it, do your best to get as much dirt and water as you can from the frame and wheels before storing it away.
Before you set out on a ride, make sure the tyres on your bike have open tread patterns, check that you’ve weather-sealed your cables and that the drive chain is as clean as possible.
It’s not just your bike you have to think about and you should always remember in the back of your mind somewhere that it’s more hazardous biking at this time of year than it is during spring and summer.
So make sure you have your wits about you and that you’re concentrating at all times, with your eyes focused on the path ahead. Take care when going around corners and try not to make jerking movements, as this will mean you’re more likely to spread.
Also make sure you’ve dressed appropriately for the weather. Starting off with a warm base layer is wise, as this will help keep your core warm. You can then easily add and shed layers as you get warmer while riding.
Your hands and feet will usually get cold first because your body will be trying to keep your core warm, so make sure you’ve got a good pair of winter cycling gloves to keep them nice and snug.
If it’s really cold outside, what about using air-activated heat packs that can keep your gloves and shoes toasty. Taking some spares in a sealable plastic bag, along with some socks, could prove to be a godsend on a winter mountain bike ride.
And, of course, make sure that you’re visible. You don’t have as much daylight to play with as you will during summer, so prepare properly if you know you’re going to be out after dark and make sure you have bike lights and high vis clothing.
Inspired by the sun today we thought we would share a little video of our mini break to South Wales. Mountain biking is an awesome way to experience the outdoors and get back to nature, all of our mini breaks include wild trail rides as well as skills coaching by experienced mountain bike coaches, Pilates, comfy beds and comforting food.
To book onto our next South Wales mini break visit our weekend breaks page here. This mountain bike mini break is perfect for those who have been riding blue and red graded trails at trail centres and fancy getting off the beaten track away from signposts and going where there is less ‘traffic’. You will need a good level of fitness and have been riding a mountain bike for at least a year to enjoy the trip. Please get in touch if you have any questions.
Over two days we will take you from novice mountain biker to confident off road riding a variety of different terrains and features, ready for new adventures. Our two day mini break includes outdoor Pilates, enabling you time to focus on stretching and building strength in your body whilst listening to the sounds of the birds, feeling the earth beneath your hands. Locally sourced food (where possible) will be served for lunch both days.
Mountain Bike Coaching Mini Break – South Downs
Our mountain biking mini break starts at the picturesque Queen Elizabeth Country Park, winner of volunteer built trail of the year 2019. The first day we look to improve your mountain bike technique through fundamental skills coaching.
Techniques covered will include:
Bike setup check – we’ll make sure your bike is set up properly
Body position for smoother riding – understanding the physics behind riding modern mountain bikes well
Balance – how correct balance, posture and movement can rapidly improve your riding helping you ride consistently over anything you encounter
Cornering foundations – how to maintain traction, conserve your speed and hit the best lines in and out of turns
Safe and effective braking
Pedalling for consistency
Wheel lifts and unweighting
After an outdoor Pilates class where the focus is on stretching and realigning your muscles a delicious lunch will be served before a little more time on the trails to practise what you learned in the morning.
We meet at a car park on the South Downs Way with epic views of the coast and miles of singletrack to choose from. Our qualified guides will take you on a journey around some of the best singletrack trails along the South Coast. From the roller coaster chalk rolling hills of the South Downs Way to the swooping woodland singletrack trails found all along the length of the Downs, we can ensure you have the perfect fun filled mountain bike adventure to end your weekend on a high. Lunch will be provided, you will need a bag big enough to carry your packed lunch on this day.
This is a great way to fast track your mountain bike skills, improve your confidence and get out and explore new places with like-minded people, who knows you may make a new riding buddy or two!
Take a look at all our mountain bike mini breaks here.
If like many people, you’ve made your new year resolutions to get outdoors more, get more exercise, and get fitter and happier in 2020, then there’s no better way for the whole family than taking up mountain biking. There are mountain bike coaching centres in the UK and wales, and it’s so beneficial for your health.
Biking is shown to improve your heart health, and vastly improve your cardiovascular fitness. Mountain biking uses a large muscle groups that require a lot of oxygen, forcing your heart to work steadily, improving your heart health by 3 – 7 per cent.
Cycling is much less stress on your joints than running, and mountain biking is a low impact sport. You’ll get a complete workout with fewer risks of injury with other higher impact activities.
Regular moderate exercise will boost your immune system, keep you healthy, and ward off all those winter colds and flu. Exercise will also release endorphins, which are the body’s way of feeling good and getting more energy, and also boosts serotonin which helps prevent depression and anxiety.
The act of cycling downhill on rough terrain helps increase your balance, reinforces muscle memory, and improves coordination. Mountain biking gives a whole body workout, as opposed to mostly just legs with other cycling.
It’s also very social, and a great opportunity to get yourself in to nature, fresh air, and most importantly, it’s extremely good fun! Get in touch today if you want to know more about mountain bike coaching in the UK.
Now that the clocks have gone back and we’re firmly into winter, it might feel like you’re not able to get out on your bike anywhere near as much as you do in the summer months.
After all, by the time you finish work it’s already dark, and you probably don’t feel like you have opportunities to go mountain biking, apart from at the weekend.
But last month British Cycling suggested you might want to have a go at mountain biking in the dark. This isn’t as crazy as it may sound. For a start, there are some great, high-powered and lightweight cycling lights available that will mean you can illuminate the trail ahead of you.
The organisation pointed out that it’s a great way to experience trails you know well in a whole different way. Only being able to see as far as your lights allow will mean that your trail feels more exciting and exhilarating.
As British Cycling points out: “Holes seem bigger, slopes steeper and you’re never quite 100 per cent sure what might be lurking around that next bend.”
If you’ve been finding your local mtb trails a little tame, riding them in the dark could be the perfect way to inject a little more excitement.
Of course, another big bonus to going mountain biking in the dark is that it gives you back the evenings to enjoy on two wheels. And if you’re not sure you’re ready for this challenge, invest in some mtb coaching before you hit the trails after dark.
Cycling News recently looked at some of the things you need to think about when you’re buying lights for your bike. For mountain biking, consider a helmet-mounted light rather than one that’s fixed to your handlebars. This is because a light on your helmet will illuminate what you’re looking at, rather than just the track in front of your bike.