• This topic has 32 replies, 27 voices, and was last updated 3 years ago by iainc.
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  • Quick skills pointers for newbies
  • Premier Icon marti
    Free Member

    I’ve just agreed to help lead a group of amatures / non bikers on a film shoot.
    Terrain is glentress blue tracks.
    Any good ideas for some quick bike handling and motivational warm up stuff I can do to help put them at ease?
    So far I’ve thought of weaving through some cones bike proficiency style.
    Normally my bike rideing advice stops at stay of the brakes in the corners and you will be fine!

    Premier Icon lucasshmucas
    Full Member

    I’m a newbie and went on a skills course at Glentress a month ago. It made a huge difference to my ability and confidence. The things that stick in my mind are:

    1. Getting my weight forward over the front wheel in the attack position for corners and drops. Before I was shown this I had my weight over the back wheel and struggled to get round any corner.
    2. 1 finger braking – having the other 3 fingers on the grips gives so much more control than just using 2.
    3. Line choice through corners. – basically entering the corner high and wide and exiting about three quarters of the way around. Learning this meant that I avoided going in too tight and going off on the exit.

    Premier Icon chilled76
    Free Member

    Dropping the outside pedal when cornering harder and putting more weight through the outside pedal. Means if the bike breaks away you go with it rather than the wheels coming out from under you.

    Premier Icon yacoby
    Free Member

    > Dropping the outside pedal when cornering harder and putting more weight through the outside pedal. Means if the bike breaks away you go with it rather than the wheels coming out from under you.

    I disagree. Better just to tell them to keep the pedals flat and leave it at that. The limited beginner rides I have been on (on the GT red) it was always people who didn’t have flat pedals that were sketchy rolling over drops.

    Plus, putting the weight on the outside pedal will just bring the bike upright unless you also tell them they need to push the bars down harder to keep the bike leaning over more than they are. Suddenly way to complex for people riding a blue.

    Premier Icon RoterStern
    Free Member

    I’ve helped out a friend of mine who is a professional skills/fitness trainer and the first thing he does with any group is to get them to do the M check on their bikes. Then at a beginners level it’s cones on tarmac first then grass then grass and gravel. Once they have that down it’s on to cornering techniques on trail features.

    Premier Icon YoKaiser
    Full Member

    Have a practice round the green section. For beginners you could mention, looking ahead and not at your wheel, you won’t have time to react. Also look where you want to go, and invariably you will go the there. You can demonstrate this on one of the easy skinnys on the way up. Explain weight distribution, weight on the front so that your tyre maintains grip but sometimes you want to unweight it to clear trail objects. But the green practice area is very good, I’m not sure I’d bother with cones and I’d apologise profusely for the initial climb but remind them they’ll enjoy it on the way back down.

    Premier Icon psycorp
    Free Member

    yacoby – Member
    > Dropping the outside pedal when cornering harder and putting more weight through the outside pedal. Means if the bike breaks away you go with it rather than the wheels coming out from under you.

    I disagree. Better just to tell them to keep the pedals flat and leave it at that. The limited beginner rides I have been on (on the GT red) it was always people who didn’t have flat pedals that were sketchy rolling over drops.

    If it’s good enough for Jedi…………………………..

    Premier Icon TheBrick
    Free Member

    #1. Pain is temporary.
    #2. Glory is forever.
    #3. Chicks dig scars.

    Premier Icon TheBrick
    Free Member

    In all seriousness I would get them to session a s bend, gains speed slowly. It’s important that it is a bend going both ways as we have a preference of which way to turn and need to practice both ways.

    Premier Icon akira
    Full Member

    I’d say make sure you don’t overload them with information, then instead of riding they are thinking and it all goes wrong.

    Premier Icon marti
    Free Member

    Thanks guys.
    Standing up off the saddle. Keeping the pedals flat and looking ahead in corners is good advise and might be enough to start with.

    Premier Icon iainc
    Full Member

    If it’s a commercial film shoot you need to be careful that group leader is trained/insured. If you’re just riding with a group of mates then all as above 😀

    Premier Icon oldnpastit
    Full Member

    For beginners you could mention, looking ahead

    This.

    Premier Icon matt_outandabout
    Full Member

    Look where you are going, not at the front wheel.

    Premier Icon Euro
    Free Member

    Standing up off the saddle. Keeping the pedals flat and looking ahead in corners is good advise and might be enough to start with.

    That’s plenty to get on with. There’s loads of time to overthink riding a bike if they get hooked 😀

    Figure 8’s are better than cones as they don’t require cones!

    Premier Icon roverpig
    Full Member

    weight on the front so that your tyre maintains grip

    I think this can be confusing advice for a beginner. Every skills session I’ve done has emphasised being heavy on the pedals and light on the bars. Yes you want your centre of gravity centred, head over the stem etc, but telling people to weight the front could see them riding around with their weight going through the bars most of the time.

    Premier Icon chiefgrooveguru
    Free Member

    I’ve done a bit of unoffical beginner coaching. The most important thing is to not overload them with information or they’ll be thinking too much when they ride. Keep it to three key things – which three pointers will depend on the individual but a good default set is:

    1. Stand up with pedals level – heavy feet, light hands!
    2. Look where you’re going, way ahead (don’t tell them not to look down, coach with positives, not negatives)
    3. Lean the bike and let your hips move (many beginners, particularly men, are very stiff through their hips – encourage them to move sideways for corners, and if they start dropping their outside foot at the same time then that’s cool).

    Thinking about it, I’ve also been teaching my kids to ride in more recent years – the thing I’ve always said to my daughter is to look where you want to go and the bike will go that way, that you don’t need to steer with the bars, it does that itself. And she’s pretty awesome for a four year old!

    “HEAVY FEET, light hands. LEAN the bike. And look where you’re going.” Job done.

    Much of the previous advice on this thread is way too advanced for a beginner.

    Premier Icon Euro
    Free Member

    Much of the previous advice on this thread is from beginners.

    Fixed 😀

    But yeah, what Chief said…’HEAVY FEET, light hands. LEAN the bike. And look where you’re going’

    Premier Icon jwray
    Free Member

    One thing not mentioned that I’ve had to point out to beginners I’ve taken out. Don’t lock your arms and use elbows as suspension. Legs also but tends to be arms that people seem to lock out naturally.

    Premier Icon thisisnotaspoon
    Full Member

    Everyone loves Lasercock.

    Lasercock transformed my life.

    Imagine your favourite toy has been replaced by a laser beam, use it to point round corners.

    For the fairer sex, tits’n’ass. Point your tits and your ass will follow.

    The beauty of this advice is it solves numerous sins in one hit, you can’t lock your arms (because you need to twist), you have to look at the point you want to exit the corner as you’re aiming the beam, you have to have your outside foot down (or you can’t rotate your knees over the top tube), you have to put your weight forward (to get your knees ahead of the seatpost/saddle).

    Premier Icon Ambrose
    Full Member

    😆 😆 😆 😆 😆 😆 😆 😆 😆

    Lasercock and Laserboobs!

    Premier Icon jekkyl
    Full Member

    .Brake before the obstacle (corner, rock, berm whatever) not during
    .Keep mr thumby on the other side of the grip. Most common reason for falling off over rough stuff.

    Premier Icon stevenmenmuir
    Free Member

    Do some braking with them, if you don’t demonstrate how powerful the brakes are somebody will panic, grab a handful and end up in a heap. The rollers at the skills loop are good for getting people standing up with pedals level and showing the benefits of this and staying relaxed and loose.

    Premier Icon yunki
    Free Member

    For complete beginners, standing up and keeping pedals flat is enough of a challenge.

    After that it’s got to be keeping elbows and knees soft, and looking ahead.

    Premier Icon chiefgrooveguru
    Free Member

    For complete beginners, standing up and keeping pedals flat is enough of a challenge.

    Exactly.

    You’ll often have the easiest time with snowboarders, skaters and so on. Some of the most challenging students are roadies – it can take quite some retraining to get them standing and pumping and moving the bike independently of themselves instead of being fixed to it and pedalling all the time.

    Premier Icon yacoby
    Free Member

    yacoby – Member
    > Dropping the outside pedal when cornering harder and putting more weight through the outside pedal. Means if the bike breaks away you go with it rather than the wheels coming out from under you.
    I disagree. Better just to tell them to keep the pedals flat and leave it at that. The limited beginner rides I have been on (on the GT red) it was always people who didn’t have flat pedals that were sketchy rolling over drops.

    If it’s good enough for Jedi…………………………..[/quote]
    I’m not saying don’t drop your feet in corners. I am saying don’t overload a beginner (who may not have been mountain biking) with information, that then may cause them to screw up.

    You could tell someone:
    Drop your outside foot in a corner. Except when riding tech terrain where you want the clearance. And maybe don’t bother on high berms. And some other corners you probably don’t need to bother either if you have the grip – if you find out half way round you don’t have the grip you can probably just drop it as the back end of the bike starts to slide out to get the bike to re-grip. Oh and try not to backpedal when dropping your foot, always try and forward pedal (because backpedaling increases the chance of dropping the chain, which might impact you when racing) so try and put half a pedal stroke in between the corners. And don’t forget to flatten out your pedals when you come out of the corner. Oh and remember weighting your outside pedal makes the bike want to standup so you need to put more weight on the inside bar to counteract this else you aren’t going to be able to get all your weight over the side knobs and if you don’t do that what is the point of dropping your outside foot?

    Or just say:
    Here is how to stand on a bike (pedals flat, weight forward), don’t fuss too much, remember to have fun?

    (Arm chair teacher here – No idea how to ride a bike, no idea how to teach riding a bike)

    Premier Icon monostereo
    Free Member

    1. Getting my weight forward over the front wheel in the attack position for corners and drops

    as another noob im a bit confused by this, don’t you want the weight off the front wheel on a drop?

    Premier Icon MarkBrewer
    Free Member

    if you don’t demonstrate how powerful the brakes are somebody will panic, grab a handful and end up in a heap.

    He said it was a film shoot, You’ve been framed will pay £250…..

    Don’t tell them 😆

    Premier Icon ahwiles
    Free Member

    monostereo – Member
    as another noob im a bit confused by this, don’t you want the weight off the front wheel on a drop?

    Not the kind of drop you’ll find on a blue route.

    Elbows out, lean forward, press the front wheel down off the step. Not spectacular, but easy, and safe.

    Premier Icon Tom_W1987
    Free Member

    Drop your outside foot in a corner. Except when riding tech terrain where you want the clearance. And maybe don’t bother on high berms. And some other corners you probably don’t need to bother either if you have the grip – if you find out half way round you don’t have the grip you can probably just drop it as the back end of the bike starts to slide out to get the bike to re-grip. Oh and try not to backpedal when dropping your foot, always try and forward pedal (because backpedaling increases the chance of dropping the chain, which might impact you when racing) so try and put half a pedal stroke in between the corners. And don’t forget to flatten out your pedals when you come out of the corner. Oh and remember weighting your outside pedal makes the bike want to standup so you need to put more weight on the inside bar to counteract this else you aren’t going to be able to get all your weight over the side knobs and if you don’t do that what is the point of dropping your outside foot?

    Or just say:
    Here is how to stand on a bike (pedals flat, weight forward), don’t fuss too much, remember to have fun?

    (Arm chair teacher here – No idea how to ride a bike, no idea how to teach riding a bike)

    +1

    Got a lot faster since I just started flat footing all but the loosest flat corners or awkward off camber sections.

    Had less pedal strike induced offs as well.

    Weight forward, let the rear pivot and slide around the front wheel.

    as another noob im a bit confused by this, don’t you want the weight off the front wheel on a drop?

    You lean back, your arms become outstreched and the front wheel drops away. Neutral attack position to maybe slightly forward and a pumping movement (the aggressiveness of which depends on how fast you’re hitting the jump) as you hit the lip of the drop.

    Premier Icon eulach
    Free Member

    Look where you are going, not at the front wheel

    Look where you WANT to go.
    (and Yacoby wins today’s internet).

    Premier Icon tjagain
    Full Member

    Get them using the front brake – practice front brake only braking. Many folk think you can’t use the front brake hard

    Premier Icon iainc
    Full Member

    Why not just hire a coach for an hour. You’re at GT where DirtSchool are based so I’m sure you could get Andy or Rab to give some proper pointers.

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