More Surrey hills riders


Well, what an end to the weeks coaching today turned out to be. Phil, Paul, Luke and Steve made the journey up from Surrey for a skills session. They wanted to learn to jump and if possible get over the mental hurdle of gap jumps. I explained the outline for why we teach a certain skill set at ukbikeskills and they thought it sounded too simple. The skills check revealed some good habits in their riding but looking and body positioning needed development before I could work on the mental skills. I adjusted their sets to suit their own body and off we went to apply the skills sets to various sections and trails.

Drops were the first sections we worked on and then jumping a 6ft tabletop. The lads started on a 1ft drop and in no time at all had progressed to 3ft and it all felt easy they said. Far from how it used to be. Onto the tabletop and in a few short moments they were all sailing over it and landing perfectly on the downslope. The looks on their faces, beaming with smiles was awesome and they then used their own mental skills questions to decide to ride their first 6ft gap jump. Now they were buzzing and after a good few clears of the jump to cement the techniques we took a break. Awesome cake supplied by Steve kept the energy levels topped up and we continued with cornering. This blew them away as they’d never felt grip like it before and their speed through three linked berms stunned them and they were jumping the fade away jump that followed with ease. I worked on steep terrain and riding near vertical drop offs in a variety of ways as well as linking drops into corners. Things were now booming in their riding. A 7ft gap jump followed and a 9ft gap jump too. We applied the skills sets to pumping and gaining speed through a trail and choosing when and why to either pump or jump. We moved to another new trail with ladder gap jumps and worked on that too, Luke sailing the first two confidently and others riding the first. We ended the session on the woodwork and beginning to overcome the peripheral fear of being on woodwork.

Cracking session guys. High5!




Mike and Ollie’s riding turns a corner

Mike and Ollie booked in with myself a few months ago and today was their day. Rain greeted us and  pretty much stayed with us all of the session  but that didn’t dampen their day. I began with checking their bikes over and then ran them through the skills check. I found they needed development in the areas of footwork, body positioning and looking and I demonstrated why they need to be present for the techniques we teach here at ukbikeskills.

We began with the drop technique and they began landing perfectly and used their new mental skills sets to decide to ride the largest, easily too. We moved on to jumping tabletops and I used a 6ft tabeletop for this. By controlling speed, they were able to focus on their corrected skills and in a while they were both sailing the jump and landing perfectly on the transition 6ft away. They used their mental skills to ride the gap jump side also and any errors were already being self diagnosed and corrected, Amazing stuff!

We took a welcome coffee break and resumed with riding steeper terrain and near vertical drop offs. Their new skills made it all way less dramatic and controlled as they rode each section following my demonstration of the required technique. Cornering was next on the menu, followed by pumping sections of trail which we gelled together later when linking pumping multiple sections of the trail, railing three linked berms and jumping a large faced jump. They were loving their new skills and Ollie wanted to push his perception of his limits on further by riding a 7ft ladder gap that he’d spotted too. Woop woop, over the jump he went as Mike continued loving his new fluid riding style on the pump and jump trail. I knew they were tiring very quickly as adrenaline was sucking their energy from them now and I felt it was time to end the session but before I did I demonstrated a 9ft gap jump that earlier, they would have rode but now tired and wet they used their mental skills correctly to decline riding the  jump and they knew they couldn’t answer their mental skills questions positively, knowing that it would be there for another day. Great riding guys and it was a pleasure to coach you both.




Jonah, Gregor and Ben’s session

Ben, Jonah and his son Gregor came to us via recommendation from their friend Matt whom Nathan had coached last year. Blue skies greeted us when we met and we chatted about their expectations for the session and riding history.

The skills check revealed they needed work on looking and body positioning and the all important mental skills too, so i set to work. I made a couple of set up changes and they could already feel a positive change and later that would pay massive dividends for them. We moved to the coaching drops and I demonstrated before they rode them. The difference was there for all to see as they one by one rode all three drops with absolute ease and in a totally different way to their previous ways. I moved them across to jumping, something they wanted to work on and in no time at all they were clearing the 6ft tabletop.Tthe 6ft tabletop has two sides, one is a gap and they had to use their mental skills to each decide whether to ride the gap jump or not. One by one they applied their mental skills and all answered them positively and sailed the jump, Gregor even began styling it too.

We moved to cornering and they applied their new skills sets to riding three berms and a jump that followed and they all commented on how much faster they now were but also controlled too. We applied their new skills to as many sections we could through the duration of the session. Steep terrain, near vertical drop offs where I demonstrated different ways of riding them and they followed suit too. They were now buzzing and thirsty for more , so off we went to link drops into corners and work on line choice and braking areas. They got faster through the sections as they entered with more and more control and soon it clicked. They were linking corners, steps and drops down a trail easily and and knowing why it felt right or wrong in any section.

For what proved to be the last sections we worked on, we moved to a 9ft gap jump that is sandwiched between two berms. I talked them through it and then I demonstrated before one by one they answered their own mental skills to decide to ride it. One by one they cleared it and by self adjusting their speed it got smoother and more controlled. Once again , Gregor was styling it over the gap and they were smiling as Cheshire cats when the session came to a close. Amazing day in brilliant company




Sunday Building

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Here at the UK Bike Skills compound, we’ve been working on making an old gap jump line more friendly for people to ride. the original line was built last year and consisted of 6 dirt to dirt gap jumps, and a final jump which landed you into the berm which links back to all the other line choices. This year, we’ve started to revamp this line, replacing the dirt take offs with wooden kickers, to try and make the whole line a lot more enjoyable for everyone, as opposed to having only a few riders that could make it through the whole line smoothly. Today we focused on building the landing for the final jump back into the berm. unfortunately the weather got the better of us and we were not able to get the wooden take off built and ridden. Its going to feel sweet when its finished!

Cambridge CC guys come for coaching


Gordon has been coached by us before and this time he returned with Ollie, Dave and Shane from his cycling club. The skills check revealed I needed to work on their looking and body positioning as well as their mental skills. We began with applying the skills sets to drops and using the techniques that we teach. All sailed into the air with far less effort than before and they all rode the largest drop with ease.

We then moved to cornering and the all important positioning whilst doing it. This found us on a trail working on absorbing and pumping sections to maintain speed and then developing speed through three berms. We moved to the singletrack and worked on linking the 14 sections contained within it and applying the techniques there. Flat, bermed, off camber and switchback turns were linked to pumping, rock gardens, steps, drops, jumps and drop offs. Line choice and braking areas were all identified and soon they were linking the whole trail together smoothly and faster as a result.

Onto steeper terrain and they were surprised how controlled riding down a steep section could be and at how simple a near vertical drop off now was. I then moved to jumping tabletops and used a 6ft tabletop for this. One by one they sailed over it as their newly embedded skills sets started to gel. I could see they were tiring but we had time to move to the first trail again and work on adding jumping sections on the trail or pumping and what is best in a given situation. They were loving it but I could see unforced errors creeping so I suggested stopping and a crash by Ollie confirmed this to them. Happy but tired they parted ways with me with hand shakes and big grins.






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Dee, Russell and Eddie’s eye opening skills session

 Dee, Russell and Eddie turned up as arranged and i began with my all important skills check and discovered they needed work on looking and body positioning, I made some set up changes to help enhance the skills and off we went to the drop to work on applying their new skills to the technique involved and to work on the all important mental skills. The guys were amazed at how simple and effortless it suddenly felt and I was even able to show why the skills made it easy to begin to style it in the air too. Onto the 6ft tabletop and the same result as they all sailed over the tabletop in amazement. The 6ft gap jump loomed and Russell and Eddie applied their mental skills and Dee wasn’t ready yet but a couple of hours later we returned to the area and Dee sailed it easily. 
 We took a break for coffee as they were now all buzzing and when we resumed we worked on their cornering technique as well as pumping, absorbing and jumping multiple sections of a trail. 
Onto steeper terrain and dealing with near vertical drop offs. I demonstrated a couple of ways of doing them and then they all followed suit and that blew them away as their old sit back and hope method was replaced with calm, control.
 We moved to linking drops into corners and the required line choices and braking areas if needed and they soon easily rode those sections. I knew they were all getting tired but I wanted them to apply their mental skills again to decide whether or not to ride a 9ft gap jump. I knew they were all very capable now but as they were tiring only Eddie felt in the right place to ride it and a couple of goes saw him sail it, ending a great session.

Daniel’s skills session

 Daniel asked for a skills session from his wife for his birthday as he’d wanted to come to see us at ukbikeskills for a while. On arrival, we talked of hos experience as he’d been riding for 2 years and of his expectations for the session. Daniel hope he’d eventually be able to do drops and when I said that was a given in the first hour he just smiled. The skills check revealed some great habits in his riding but that he needed work on position and looking. I made a set up change that assisted in correcting these and we set off to apply the skills set to whatever we came across.
 Drops were first on the menu and the look of surprise on his face when landing the largest 3ft drop with absolute ease was a picture and his face ached from smiling he said. Well that smile never left.
 I surprised him by moving to the 6ft tabletop and applying the physical skills and the all important mental skills, Daniel sailed over the jump , laughing as he did so. loads of goes followed with the same result so he thought he’d try the 6ft gap. I told him it’s not try , it’s applying the skills sets and once again he sailed over it, woop woop!we moved on after he’d ridden it loads more and this time to cornering and carrying speed through turns. I discovered a weaker right side in turns so we focused on this and it is something that Daniel will be mindful of from now on.
 After a break we worked on positioning for steeper terrain and even a near vertical drop off now proved simple and easy for him. We linked drops into corners too and worked hard on braking and positioning when doing so.
Next up we worked on pumping, jumping and cornering on a trail with multiple sections and Daniel even rode a 7ft gap jump a few times withing that trail. I could see he was tiring but the session wasn’t over. We rode the singletrack trail and linked the 14 sections of that together before riding the pump and jump trail together too.
Amazing session with a great bloke.