Category Archives: Instruction

Video: riding up and down an icy corner

MTB coach Elaine Bothe is the first featured guest expert in the Mountain Bike Skills Network Facebook Group starting Feb. 13

I’m pleased to announce that MTB coach Elaine Bothe will be our first featured guest expert in my Mountain Bike Skills Network (MTBSN) Facebook Group starting Monday Feb. 13 and continuing through the week. I’ve asked her to focus on two topics: 1) Fear; 2) Jumps.

Elaine Bothe, mtb coach with students

I’ve never met Elaine in person but I’ve gotten to see her work as an online Ambassador and Coach for Ryan Leech’s online courses and community, as well as a regular contributor to his blog. She’s an Associate Coach for Wenzel Coaching​, based in Portland, Oregon and is an Affiliate Instructor with Simon Lawton’s Fluidride in the Seattle, WA area.

Elaine Bothe, mtb coach with student

See her Facebook profile and follow her @elainebbikes Instagram feed.

To participate, join the free Mountain Bike Skills Network (MTBSN) group.

FREE until midnight on New Year’s Eve: Ryan Leech’s 12-Ride Flat Pedal Challenge online course.

I’ve been riding with flat pedals since Aug, 2011, about 6 weeks after I began mountain biking. I don’t evangelize about them too much in part because I’ve not delved deeply into the flats vs clipless debate. I just had more fun riding with them. And although I’ve always believe crashing is part of learning, I wasn’t willing to suffer injuries caused mainly by not getting unclipped in time to put my feet down.

So I’m thrilled to see that Ryan Leech, pro rider and elite instructor, has released his 12-Ride Flat Pedal Challenge online course.

It’s FREE until midnight, 12/31/2016 (New Year’s Eve).

Since he announced it a few weeks ago, over 6,000 have signed up.

Here’s his short description of the course:

“A drill-filled guide designed to help you discover the technique and style gifts of flat pedals. I’m NOT trying to convert you to flat pedals. Though if you ride clipless, then you’re missing out on the refinement that logging time on flats can have on your technique. You can then carry this style back to clipless at any time you like! Following my curriculum will speed up the acquisition of these, dare I say, transformative flat pedal benefits.”

Here’s the course overview page with the entire curriculum, testimonials, and link to register, NO CREDIT CARD REQUIRED:

(Full disclosure: I’ve been collaborating with Ryan on a few aspects of his online venture for the past year or so. I’m also a marketing affiliate, which means I get a small commission for referring people.)

Video: dragging the rear brake with low tire pressure to ride a sheet of ice

We had a lot of rain on Xmas here in southern Minnesota that completely ruined our several inches of fluffy snow. But as the temps dropped, the melting snow froze, creating some unusual ice. I found this mini-skating rink near my house that coated a sidewalk, curb, and access street. The gradual slope made it an ideal traction challenge. I kept tightening my approach to make it more difficult. I'm using ratcheting, track stands, and rocking skills. And you'll see the difference between tires inflated at 10 psi vs 1-2 psi. But the main technique I deployed was to constantly apply the rear brake with just enough pressure to prevent any wheel spin. I call it 'dragging' the rear brake since that seems to best describe it, ie, applying steady power/pedaling while the brake is engaged just the right amount. I learned this technique riding mototrials, most typically on slippery off-cambers where steady power via the throttle while dragging the brakes could help prevent the rear wheel from slipping out underneath you. 1-min video, no slowmo:

A post shared by Mountain Bike Skills Network (@mountainbikeskillsnetwork) on

Video analysis: logover drop

Last week, I posted the question (to my MTB Geezer blog, my MTB Geezer Instagram feed, my MTB Geezer Twitter feed,  & my MTB Geezer Facebook page):

A big tree came down along a segment of our local mtb trail recently. We got it trimmed up a few weeks ago and last week, it occurred to me to try riding over the fat end where it hangs over a concrete block lip. So it’s a logover but it’s also a drop. Can you predict from these video stills whether or not I endoed?

Here’s my overly-detailed (5.5 minutes!) video analysis of my ride over that logover drop.

Scenes from my first mtb skills clinic for adults

I put my new mountain biking instructor skills to work this summer, having gotten both IMBA Level 2 and PMBI Level 1 certifications in June (link to my blog post that describes my experiences with the two courses).

I teamed up with Northfield Community Services to offer two technical MTB clinics for adults this summer at Northfield’s Sechler Park where CROCT has its MTB trail and skills park.

The course description that appeared in their online catalog:

Title: Technical mountain biking for adults

Description: If you want to gain more confidence on riding lower-speed technical challenges along the trails, this clinic is for you. Terrain included: switchbacks, logovers, skinnies, tight turns, and short steep ascents and descents. Skills included: track stands, holding a line, front and rear wheel lifts. Participants will also have one-month of access to a private Facebook group for Q&A.

Instructor: Griff Wigley is a certified IMBA and PMBI instructor and an experienced technical mountain biker.

Location: Sechler Pk MTB trail, Northfield. Meet at the skills park by the ball fields

Ability level: Intermediate or above

Prerequisites: none. Flat pedals recommended

Maximum group size: 6

Introduction series: $39
Tuesdays, 6-8 pm, July 19, 26, Aug 2

Intermediate series: $39
Tuesdays, 6-8 pm, Aug 16, 23, 30

I offered the classes to CROCT members first and the first one filled quickly. I had to cancel the second one due to weather-related problems: a severe infestation of mosquitoes and deer flies and flooding of the Cannon River.

Here some stills taken from videos. Apologies for the poor quality:

A short video clip from a balance skill game: