Offroad novices

Sun, 3 May, 2015
Our recent off-road ‘Novices’ session proved very useful to the 4 riders who came out on a fine but blustery day.  
We started with a few tips on bike setup, and the ‘M check’ to make sure you have no bits about to fall off.
Then it was off for a 2 mile ‘training loop’ in which we covered:
* Hill climbing technique
* How to approach obstacles
* Descending and ‘staying loose’
* Twisty singletrack and ‘looking ahead’
* Mud and roots and ‘just riding across it’
This showed that despite some initial worries, everyone was capable of riding up, down, around corners and over bumps. Excellent!  
So we set straight off on a longer 10 mile ride up to the Ridgeway and back, using some of the skills just practiced.  The descent at Harwell gave us a good chance to practice staying loose and riding the bumps. It’s a great descent and there were a good few whoops of joy on the way down!  
At the bottom, Dave discovered a flat and so we had a tube changing masterclass. Discussion of tyre pressures led to the discovery that Karen and Roger were running their tyres very hard. To see the effect, we let them down to about 35psi and they were amazed at how their bikes were transformed, suddenly behaving much better over the bumps. This was one of the ‘top tips’ from the day and I wished I’d covered it right at the start (next time I will).
It must have been inspirational – 3 of the 4 came out on the following Tuesday CTC Wantage evening off-road ride!