Private guided day – Hebden Bridge

Lumb Falls

The colours of autumn are fabulous in Hebden Bridge at the moment. On Thursday I was out guiding a group and we were blessed with sunshine and blue skies for much of the day, which showed the valley off at its best. As well as showing them round the trails I included a skills session on the famous ‘Blue Pig’ descent.

Breathing it all in on Pecket Well

A couple of the guys were fairly new to mountain biking and so I hired them top quality full suspension bikes from our local bike shop Blazing Saddles. These included a Transition Covert and a 2011 Specialized Enduro. If you want to hire bikes for a Hebden guided day just let me know.

I'd just announced that it was a quarter to beer o'clock

Nial riding Hebden Bridge Pecket Well A&B from Ed Oxley on Vimeo.

Here’s a video we made earlier this week on the lovely autumn trails of Hebden. And yes it’s always sunny here….every day.

Stop Crashing courses coming to the Long Mynd in Shropshire

I’ve ridden around Church Stretton a couple of times before. The town has a nice feel and there are some cracking singletrack trails up on the Long Mynd. The Mynd is a beautiful, long ridged hill intercut with spurred valleys and it seemed to me that it would make a good location to run some skills courses. With this in mind I went down to meet Al and Kate this week, who run Plush Hill Cycles in the middle of Church Stretton.

Here's Kate being very happy

Plush Hill is a local feature in the landscape and makes a pretty cool name for a bike shop. The shop opened in May this year and is packed with juicy bits. There are bikes from Ghost, Ragley, Saracen, Transition and Norco packed into every corner. Al very kindly took the afternoon off work, leaving Kate to run the shop, to go riding with me and show me round. He didn’t take much convincing. We had beautiful sunshine and buff trails, which really showed off the Mynd at its best.

Stunning views from the top. Apparently it's always like this!

Al has been developing a very positive relationship with the National Trust and the Shropshire Countryside Service to promote mountain biking on the Long Mynd. New sections of trail have been opened up as rights of way for bikes and the whole area is included in a really good trail map which is available for free. The trails are even marked out on the ground with numbered marker posts. Impressive stuff. Let’s hope the National Trust look to develop mountain biking in other areas that they manage like they have here.

It's all on the map which you can pick up free in the shop

...and it's all marked out on the ground

During the day I saw some excellent sections of trail that will be perfect for using in skills courses. Lots of singletrack, natural sheep cropped grass rollers, rocky sections, water splashes, climbs and really fun descents. Great views are all around and the middle of town is never far away for when we need lunch, or bike shop services, as well as the all important Great Rock ‘debrief’ with a beer at the end of the day.

Sweet singletrack down Minton Batch

The first courses that I will be running will be in the spring next year. 19th and 20th March will see Stop Crashing Level 1 and Level 2 respectively. Either day can be booked on its own or you can do both days to make a weekend of it. Details are here.

Click here to see some more photos.

Flow Course

Riding the Slab properly. Not just 'making' it down!

Just done another Flow skills course up at Gisburn. The weekend course was sold out and the group were really up for progressing their riding. I spent lots of time on the first day looking at how people were riding and then concentrated on tweaking body position on the bike. This leads on to developing the skills to be able to pump the trail and improve cornering.

This time it was all Orange Fives and Lapierre Spicys!

As usual we enjoyed the hospitality of the Dog & Partridge; starting the day with coffee, having lunch and ending the day with the classic Great Rock ‘debrief’ at the bar.

Drops on the DH tracks

We spent some time on the various downhill tracks, which are off the main trail centre loop, looking at drop off technique. There are a couple of smaller drops that are really good for learning and building confidence on. A couple of people in the group were ready to tackle bigger drop offs like the one above.

This gives an idea of the size of the drop

Even though not everyone was ready to try this drop, it’s really good to see how this stuff is ridden using the same technique as everyone had been using on smaller features.
There are more photos from the weekend here on my Flickr site.

Here’s a video with some of the guys riding The Slab…..

GreatRock Flow skills course Oct 2010 from Ed Oxley on Vimeo.

My sponsored ‘athlete’

Nial living the dream

My son Nial has started racing downhill. As I work most weekends it’s been hard to get him out to races. Luckily my friend Mats was able to take him down with him for the final round of the Caersws Cup in Wales at the weekend. I think the photo says it all. The boy has style and hopefully someone else will come along to sponsor him at some point, before it costs me too much! In the meantime though, Nial is the Great Rock sponsored athlete and I’m very proud to support him.

Snowdon Ranger’s Path

Threading the Needle. Riding the tech on the Rangers'

I went to ride Snowdon the week before last. The voluntary ban on mountain bikes is now lifted for the autumn and winter, which means that one of the best descents around is open for business again. It’s an annual ‘must do’ ride for me.

NukeProof Mega getting the photo shoot treatment

I was lucky enough to be riding the NukeProof Mega, which was on test for Singletrack. It’s one of only 2 in the world at the moment and will be exclusively reviewed in Singletrack magazine in issue 61, out any day now. It is a fantastic bike and just felt built for this ride. We stopped part way down to take photos of the bike and for everyone to have a play on the Mega through some of the tech section.

Liver, bacon, onions, chips and gravy. AND LOTS OF IT

You can’t ride Snowdon without going to re-load afterwards at Pete’s Eats in Llanberis. I enjoyed a particularly hearty meal with a pint of tea, while my friends Jon and Seb had a more modest snack. I had to phone home as we headed back to say that I wouldn’t be needing any tea.

Jon having a go on the Mega