Last spring when I saw that pro mountain biker and coach Ryan Leech was going to offer an online 30-day course on learning to wheelie, I was thrilled because A) I suck at wheelies; and B) he was going to use an online approach to learning a complex skill similar to what I’ve been doing with my Thick Skull Mountain Bike Skills online instructional courses , ie, many small steps, using exercises and drills, with a multimedia delivery platform.
I started the course back in April when it launched but I quit after about ten lessons. I started having low back pain, something I struggled with years ago but eventually solved (or so I thought) with a special regimen of pilates and yoga called Back RX which I described in this 2013 blog post. I thought my subsequent regimen of kettlebells and free weights (more on this in a future newsletter) would be enough to keep my back in good shape for mountain biking so I quit doing Back RX.
That appears to have been a mistake, because like most geezers, the discs in my back are gradually degenerating with age so exercises that work on my flexibility are just as important as those for strength and endurance. I know, duh, right?
So after a few months of rest and rehab at wilderness treatment locations near my home, I’m ready to start the course all over again. I’m psyched because I actually started having some success in that first week. I got to where I could occasionally experience what Ryan calls ‘the float zone.’ See this 15-second video clip of me doing a wheelie (incorrectly, I learned) for 7 or 8 pedal strokes:
Why learn to wheelie? While wheelies are often cited as a fun but mostly useless skill for mountain biking, there is a real-world benefit, according to Ryan: the experience and confidence in holding the float/balance point is a good foundation for doing the same with manuals (coasting wheelies while standing on the pedals), even though it’s a very different skill.
Ryan participates in the course via comment threads attached to each lesson. So when students have questions about a lesson, he’s there to help and everyone benefits from the interaction.
This experience with Ryan’s course has helped convinced me, also for the first time in my life, to become an affiliate. What’s an affiliate? It simply means I earn a commission when someone clicks on a link to Ryan’s course that I provide and purchases it for the same $30 that he charges.
If you’re interested in more about Ryan’s 30-Day Wheelie Challenge, click here to watch his teaser video, get a course overview and sample one of the lessons.
Bonus: You get to join me as a fellow student!