An Intro To Mountain Biking - This Is What It's All About... - Pedal Progression


9 February 2017

An Intro To Mountain Biking – This Is What It’s All About…

Why Did We Create This Course And Who Is It For?

This course is a response to requests from individuals wanting to get into mountain biking but not really knowing where to start. It seemed increasingly common that people of all ages wanted a taster of the sport, to see if it was something they might want to get involved with on a regular basis. They were asking a lot of questions along the lines of: Which bike should I buy? Where are the best places to ride? How are trails graded and what might be suitable for me to try? They also wanted to get some knowledge and experience of the best techniques to sow the seeds for improvement as a beginner, keen to start riding in the right way, to maximise fun and safety.

Some of these people were students wanting to get the most out of their time in Bristol. Parents looking to take up the sport to be able to ride more confidently with their kids. Runners looking to cross train in a lower impact sport. Road cyclists looking to get off the roads in the winter time, or retired people wanting a fun way to get outside and stay active. The questions were coming from people from all walks of life. They had seen the big smiles on the faces of mountain bikers and wanted a piece of the action…

If this sounds like you then read on to find out more out what this course has to offer…

What We Do – A Course Breakdown

The course will start with a run through of the bike you will be riding. You will learn how to find the correct sized bike for mountain biking, get the right set up for the most fun and efficient ride and learn how to make sure the bike is mechanically safe and fit for the trails. From here we will have an easy warm up ride over fairly flat terrain, this will help everyone start to feel familiar with the bikes and comfortable off road.

Before we head onto the designated mountain bike trails, we will have two technique lessons. The first on braking techniques and the second on how to use your gears effectively so you can be most efficient with your energy and keep a good flow on the trail. Once you have completed these you will be feeling much more familiar with your bike and ready to ride the first section of trail. As you ride the trail your instructor will be able to observe your riding style, getting to know areas that you could adapt to improve your stability, speed, flow and confidence. We are experienced at working with groups of all ages and abilities so will be able to tailor the advice at the right level for each individual. If you are progressing quickly or more experienced on a bike we will challenge you. If you are feeling less confident we will be able to make sure you have techniques to work on that will help you feel safer and more in control.

Following the first section of trail ride we will have a feedback session and then go straight into coaching body position. You will learn the 5 key elements of good body position and also some exercises to help you to practice this technique and consolidate your skills. Good body position on the bike is a cornerstone to you enjoying your riding and being able to go further, faster and for longer!

We will ride out the trail – approx 7km – stopping after each section to feedback and work together on ways you can personally improve your riding.

Once the ride is over we will head to the cafe where we can relax, have a hot drink and finish off the technique session by recapping what we have learned. We can then move on to talking about the bikes, trails and answering any questions you still have. We will cover in detail, bike function and technology, what bikes are suitable for what trail, budgets, kit needs, trail grading and where to ride, local trails and trails further afield. This final session will last around 30- mins.

What You Get For Your £50

We think this course is great value for money. Bike hire is included in the price. Our mountain bikes are high quality, perfect for beginners and improver’s. This hire duration would normally cost £20 alone. 3 hours, coaching and guiding through a lap of the Ashton Court Nova trail, a Q&A with one of our experienced instructors and a nice hot cup of tea, coffee or hot chocolate when you return after the ride. You will leave with the confidence, ability and knowledge to really get stuck into mountain biking.

If you like the sound of this then you can book onto our next session here

Read on for FAQs…

How fit do I need to be? We want this course to be as inclusive as possible – this course is just as much for people who want to take up something new as a way to get fit as it is to introduce already active people to new skills. We would suggest that you feel confident that you could sustain a physical activity at low to medium intensity for around an hour. A casual ride, 40-60 mins in the gym, a brisk walk or slow run would be fine. If in doubt call us for a chat.

How capable to I need to be on a bike? You do not need to have been mountain biking before – you should be confident riding a bike over grass or on gravel tracks and be able to sustain your own momentum and control your speed over level ground. There is no expectation that you will have knowledge of any specific brake control, or body positioning technique – this is what you are coming to learn!

What do I need to bring? We provide a bike and a helmet. You need to dress appropriately for the weather on the day. We will be outside for 75% of the time. We would suggest bringing a bottle of water and a small amount of food for snacking on the way. We won’t stop for a full lunch but there will be an opportunity to eat as we go (not whilst riding of course!), so have a good breakfast and prepare to be hungry for an early dinner!

Do you go out in all weathers? Pretty much all weathers, yes. We very occasionally cancel sessions for really high winds and driving rain but it is extremely rare. The trails we have access to are all weather and once in the forest the effects of the wind and rain significantly decrease. On the rare occasion we have heavy, settling snow, or thick ice, we will be forced to cancel.

Is it dangerous? Like any type of riding there is a risk of injury resulting from falling off your bike. Mountain bikers do sometimes get hurt. However, if you listen to the instructions we will make sure we teach you to effectively moderate your speed and so feel comfortable and in control of the bike, rather than the bike being in control of you – this minimises the chances of any serious accidents. We will always assess your riding and equip you with the skills you need to ride a section of trail before we take you on it.

If you have any other questions or want just drop us a line or email:

Ollie Cain

Written by:

Ollie Cain