Are you leading groups out on mountain bikes?

Did you know that you really should be qualified, to protect the group and yourself!!!

There is nothing worse than organising a ride and having some major issue that you don’t know how to deal with. What do you do when…

  • someone gets lost or separated from the group
  • you have a mechanical breakdown, can you fix it?
  • someone in the group is air lifted off, what do you do? How do you manage the situation?
  • your group don’t have the skill for your planned route and some of them want to go the easy way, how do you manage it?

These are just a few things that can be thrown at you as a ride leader. Having the skill and knowledge to react appropriately can make the difference, and believe me with mountain biking it can go pear shaped very fast.

 

We offer courses that result in an internationally recognised qualification for leading groups out on mountain bikes. These courses are ideal for teachers, youth group leaders or anyone who is involved with a MTB club. In fact everyone who attends our courses leave feeling more confident and assured they are prepared for the trails. From developing more skills to stay on the bike, understanding the basic trail maintenance repairs to get you home, having some first aid knowledge and much more.It gives you the skills and knowledge to keep your group safe whilst enjoying the great outdoors.

It gives you the skills and knowledge to keep your group safe whilst enjoying the great outdoors.

For more information about the courses we offer why not get in touch on 07739 041843 and we will explain more about them.

Recce ride for MIAS, MTB Leaders course this weekend

What can I say apart from very muddy, and oh so slippy. Just got back from a bit of a recce ride for this weekends MIAS course. There are still a few trees down covering paths and everywhere is boggy, sticky mud.

I hope everyone who is coming along has got some decent shoes and they better bring a change of clothes.

 

Getting Your Bike In Shape

If you haven’t ridden your bike in a year or more, before going out for that first ride, put your bike in the car and head first to your local bike shop and have a qualified mechanic give you a tune up. Because the bike is a complex machine with many moving and integrated parts, there is an increased risk of injury when using a machine that is not in proper working order. even if you’re mechanically inclined, there are many subtle and not so subtle adjustments an experienced mechanic will make that will not only improve your overall experience on the bike, but will increase your speed and efficiency. It’s relatively easy to recognise a flat tyre, but far less easy to determine a loose and dangerous a loose and dangerous bottom bracket or head tube. And many components on new bikes have very specific tensions and torques where over tightening could lead to dangerous failure or cause stress cracks and fractures.

Depending on the condition and age of your bike, expect to pay between £30 to £80 for a tune up, which can include adjusting or replacing cables and housings, overall cleaning of the entire frame and cassette, chain, cogs, lubrication the chain, overall inspection to adjust shifting and braking ability, replacement of brake pads, handlebar tape, or cracked and worn tyres.

A tune up will typically take a few days, and should never be overlooked or substituted. care will also be given to use proper lubricants specifically designed for bike parts; common household lubricant is neither intended for nor useful in cycling applications.

Taking good care of your bike will result in your bike taking good care of you.

Tool Club – Christmas Coupon Offer!!!

We are launching our Tool Club in the new year

 The response has been very positive. So much so below are some of the questions we have had with the answers.

  • How does it work?
    • Once a month (initially) we will open our doors to you and give you access to use our tools. As we are starting off our tool range is enough for most general maintenance jobs, but the aim is to invest in more specific tools giving you the ability to tackle any repair or upgrade job on your bike. All you need to bring along is the knowledge and your new bike bits.
  • How much does it cost?
    • You can pay by the year with a one off charge of £25, or turn up on the night and pay £5 per hour. Again as we are starting off we have dedicated 1 evening a month to the Tool Club, but as the demand grows so will the club. Our goal is to open up on a Weekend morning for once a month as well.
  • What tools are available?
    • We have a comprehensive list on our website, which we are adding to all the time. 
  • Do you have a list of the dates so we can plan our bike repairs?
    • Again the list is on the website.
  • Where is the tool club being held?
    • All we can confirm at the moment is that it will be on Cannock Chase in Staffordshire.
  • How do I join the Tool Club?
    • Simply purchase the annual membership at £25, and adds you to our system. When you come along the first time bring your purchase receipt and we will give you your membership card which will be valid for 12 months from the first Tool Club after your purchase date.

 

But as its Christmas...... our Tool Elf has been up to his tricks again....

He has created a  coupon code giving the first 10 people a £10 discount when they join the Tool Club meaning it will only cost you £15 for 12 months membership.

Add the Tool Club to your cart and then on checkout add the code:

toolelf 

 

Once you have joined the club we will email you the details that you need to know before the first night which is January 19th.

Merry Christmas

Just wanted to wish you all a Merry Christmas & a Happy New Year. We hope that 2016 has given you all you hoped for and that you are as excited as we are for 2017.

If you are reading this then you have already discovered our new website and our pre 2017 launch of ‘Bike Hub’.

Bike Hub will see us expand our teaching portfolio from offering the ‘Mountain-bike Instructors Award Scheme‘ and their MTB Leaders Award and Search & Rescue Award. To now adding maintenance courses as well as a few spin off ideas that will be a great success we hope, as the new year progresses.

Your feedback has been encouraging so far and we thank you for all your comments and words of advice.

Have a great Christmas, don’t eat to much and if you do over indulge just grab your bike out of the garage and bash out a couple of hours, because that is what I will be doing.

Thanks for your support.

See you on the other side.

Staffs to Snowdon Update: November Update

Back when I decided to do this ride. It was all very daunting. I mean riding from Staffordshire to the summit of Snowdon.
I set my route to be the flattest I could, over 3 days. Looking back now it was obviously because of my fitness level at the time.
I have ridden up Snowdon now as well as riding from home to Flint in North Wales. The only section left to ride is across the North Wales coast. Looking at it now I’m starting to think that 3 days is to many and my route needs some hills. I know it sounds crazy, but as my fitness improves the challenge set is looking easier. 
My current route is a total of about 14 hours riding, plus a further 4 hours rest over the whole ride, and that is if I did it all in 1 go. 
3 days, I could do it at the moment in 2 days, but it is still 9 months away so by then I think I could do the whole thing in 1 day. 1 DAY!!! Now that is a challenge.
I am going to think about this and get back to you.
1 day, now that would be something to talk about.

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Staffs to Snowdon Update: October 18th

I woke up at 4 am with a blocked nose and a heavy head and an awareness that I had not had a goods night sleep. Anne suggested that I should postpone until my cold had completely gone, but doing this ride was in my plan. My friend Paul was shadowing me in his van and he would be on his way soon. I knew once I started my head would clear and I could get on with the task at hand.
It was forecast to rain from 4 am until about 7 am. I looked out of the window and it was completely dry and I could see the stars. So they got the forecast wrong again. I left home at 5 am and started to focus on my first meeting point with Paul at Norbury Locks which where about 30 km away.
I noticed that the stars had gone, which only meant one thing, clouds, then it started to rain. It was really light to start off with but as I approached Milford it was time to put the waterproof jacket on. It did rain until about 7 am and I wish that I had put my waterproof overshoes on as my feet where soaking wet and really cold.
Norbury Locks 6:30 am: Getting ready to carry on.
I arrived at Norbury Locks to be greeted by Paul in the car park. I was on time and feeling good. I had a slight niggle at the back of my left knee but nothing to worry about. My head had cleared and the rain had stopped.
The 2nd leg of my ride was completely on the canal. I was meeting up with Paul at a pub called the Bridge Inn which was at the 60 km mark, so it was time to get going and put in another 30 km.
The tow path quickly deteriorated to a grass covered uneven muddy mess and it stayed like it over the whole 30 km. There were a few bits that were quite good and I was able to gain a bit of speed but I would say over the majority, about 90% of it I was riding between 10-12 kph (6-7 mph) and unable to go much faster. The towpath around the towns and villages always improved but as soon as you went rural it was back to riding over a farmers field.
The Bridge at The Bridge Inn, Audlem
Again I met Paul and enjoyed a nice hot cup of coffee, I changed over to my mountain bike purely for the benefit of front suspension. My arms and shoulders were aching after the continual pounding from the towpath. I had also hurt my left knee, that niggle had progressed into a pain after riding through so deep very wet mud and putting the power down to get traction, the back wheel span on the spot. I had damaged the soft tissue in my knee. 
The towpath stayed the same up to 5 km south of Chester. So the first 30 km I was riding at about 25 kph then following 65 km was between 10 – 12 kph. Grueling. I did feel like I had done 10 rounds in a boxing ring by this time I reached the outskirts of Chester. With my head cold, I was nursing an injured knee, my arms and shoulders were aching and I had not got much left to give in my legs. Then there was the wind. As I progressed north the wind was picking up and it was continually coming straight at me. All in all maybe I should have stayed in bed. Then again what a great training day, when I do this ride again next Summer it won’t be this bad and I will be fitter so this has been a great learning experience.
It is time to change bikes I think!
So in summary about the Shropshire Union Canal, unless you are on a Narrow boat it is hard work except at Nantwich where they have tarmaced it for about 2 km. 
The ride into Chester was great, the towpath progressively got better from hard standing into tarmac. The canal through Chester looks lovely, in fact it requires a day out to explore. So much history, fine buildings and canal from yesteryear. 
Because the path had improved so much I decided to carry on to Flint. I was conscious now of nursing my left knee and was putting pressure on my right knee to compensate. Chester was my original goal although I was keen to see how far I could go. Giving myself an injury was not the way to go. After all I do have other things to do and am not paid to ride bikes so it was time to be smart and make Flint my end goal.
From Chester they have turned a disused railway into a cycle path, probably the best cycle path I have been on. The tarmac was so smooth. I was back up to 25 kph. It was hurting but I was on the home straight for today. Although my body was aching I had the energy to carry on but most importantly my mind was still focused and mentally I had not given up, in fact I had a little battle with myself about getting to Prestatyn. I so wanted to get there, but logically I should stop. Prestatyn will have to wait until next July.
Ready for the journey home

I met Paul in the Asda car park in Flint, which was right next to McDonalds so after a quick change in their toilets I treated myself to a Burger and Fries. and we set off on the journey home. 

Sat here the day after, writing this with my head full of cold and my knee strapped up my only regret is eating the burger and fries. I should have had a salad.
But thinking back to earlier this year. In June I was going out and riding about 20 km a week. It has only been 5 months and I have just completed 121 km in 1 day. I have another 8 months until I do my ride for Charity. I have come so far in 5 months, I have lost over 2 stone in weight. I have done the hard part. I started and have kept going. I have felt like quitting but the driving force in all of this is Anne.
She has endured over 12 months battling Breast Cancer. Throughout all her treatments, the bad times and the awful times, she has felt like giving up. But that was not an option. Anne like every other Cancer survivor has had to find that inner strength to endure and meet the day head on, one day at a time. Facing the possibility of death. Being injected with poison in the hope it will irradicate the Cancer. Having no choice but to fight another day. THAT IS STRENGTH!!!
To not ride yesterday because I felt a bit under the weather. To think about quitting because it was a bit hard over the last 5 months. Just feels stupid when you consider what Anne has gone through. I have to do this to put myself in the best physical shape so I am strong enough to be their for Anne and the boys. It comes back to the quote by Jim Rohn.

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Staffs to Snowdon Update: Training Goal Number 2

Well tomorrow at 5am I will be heading out to see just how far I can ride. Starting in Rugeley in Staffordshire I will head over to Gnosall and get on the canal up to Chester. I believe this will be the hardest section of my planned route as the towpath is mostly grass.

Over the distance the path drops by about 100 metres with a few small uphills but nothing to worry about. Chester is about 100km (62 miles) away and this represents my minimum goal. Then a further 20km takes me onto Flint and the Welsh coast. With my ‘I would like to reach goal’ being Prestatyn. This is about 140km (86 miles).

Then…..

I’m only 20 km short of riding 100 miles, it is so tempting but we will have to wait and see if my legs can manage the distance.

Anyway, I need to do a final check on my kit and bike so I will update the blog tomorrow or Wednesday

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