Will Shaw busts mountain biking's biggest myths
You don't need a skills coach, learn on the trails
When you go skiing, skipping introductory lessons is unheard of. Whilst the world’s best such as Loic Bruni and Adrien Dailly have riding coaches, coaching remains fairly niche in the wider mountain bike world.
Dylan Cooper is an ex-international level rider, who owns coaching company Ride Technics. Whilst he’s seen an increase in riders of all levels receiving coaching, he says mountain bike coaching isn’t as common compared to most sports.
‘With Ride Technics I initially focused on elite riders, people I raced with and people “in the scene”. As time has passed mountain biking has become more recreational, and people realise they can gain more control and enjoyment with some instruction. In a couple of hours, you begin to form good habits that benefit you for your riding career.’
Cooper believes the capability of modern bikes can mask poor habits. This means riders ride above their ability until something catches them out, which can end badly.
‘Mountain biking is more dangerous than sports like tennis or golf, you have the potential to fall off at high speed and from high off the ground. We do drills and video analysis to show riders where their technique can be improved, which makes a real difference.’
Basic equipment setup has a huge impact on rider safety and enjoyment. Cooper says tyre and suspension setup is often lacking, and explaining the basics makes a massive difference.
‘We look at people’s suspension and tyre pressures when they commence. They’re often running tyre and suspension pressures that are too high, too low or unbalanced.’
We can definitively bust this one. If the best riders in the world can benefit from coaching, you can too!