I’ve been riding bikes since I was a kid and mountain bikes for 25 years. I’ve raced, ridden trail centres and headed out for a days with a map and hours to enjoy.
I’ve learnt all the techniques from riding and experience (maybe falling off as well) as well as reading magazines and watching and talking to people far better than I am.
So having gone all this time with no coaching, I’ve had 2 cracking sessions in the past year. The session a few weeks ago has given me a whole new focus on riding so I thought it was worth writing up a few thoughts. Good coaches are hard to find and reputation and word of mouth is by far the best way to find someone
Earlier this year I used a voucher my lovely wife bought me for Christmas with Peaks Outdoor coaching. I opted for a whole day 1-on-1 session up in the peaks to help with my mental block of riding my full suss Yeti ASR down rocky descents at a speed faster than a snail (maybe a slight exaggeration…).
I had a specific goal in mind and once we found a few sections that I wasn’t confident on to tweak my approach. The result was exactly what I was after as my confidence was vastly improved, I picked up a few tips and was much faster as a result.
Earlier this year a mate booked us a group session with Tony at UK Bike Skills. We were a mixture of ability and experience from decades of MTBing to a couple of years yet we all progressed, learnt new skills and mentally came away changed men.
What makes a good coach?
Tony is a good coach.
He is often called ‘Jedi’ which is entirely appropriate as his approach is very much a mental one. He understands people, what makes them tick, how they learn, what they are scared off and how they are progressing. A good coach doesn’t just run through the manual of how to ride, they tailor the techniques to each person.
There is no time limit to the session, it ends when we can’t ride any longer be it mental/physical tiredness or a lack of light and the training doesn’t stop on the day as he is open to you getting in touch afterwards.
I can’t go into his techniques but they work. At the start of the day we were doing small drop offs next to a 6ft table top that we all agreed we would never ride. Come the end of the day we had all cleared it plus the gap jump.
All coaching is good if it works for the person being coached. Tony makes sure that the way you learn is built into how he approaches the session. Many people find it mentally tiring as there is a lot to take in and think about but it’s probably the single biggest leap forward in my riding that I’ve made ever. Local trails are now being ridden with a different perspective, bikes have been set-up differently and my biking mojo has been given an always welcome boost.
The write up of our session has more details and I can’t recommend a session with Tony. It’s the best upgrade you can possibly make to your riding.