There’s a great article by Jason on the Singletraction volunteer trailbuilder’s site. He came along to the Flow skills course the other weekend and wrote this report….

Chin Up

When you ride your bike are you just a passenger or are you a driver?

Think about the difference between an F1 driver and a Moto GP rider. One sits in a seat and pilots his car round a track (yes i know they are good at what they do!) and the other constantly adjusts his body weight to control his machine….

We all enjoy moments when a section of trail feels like it really worked but we also struggle through some like a dyslexic doing his wedding speech.

When it all comes together and feels just so, then this is called ‘Flow’.

Ed’s ‘The Flow’ riding course is all about helping you discover this illusive skill.

On Day One we hit the Pump track at Lee Quarry first (where else!). Ed broke ‘pumping’ down into easybite pieces, building through to manuals or doubles for those that fancied it!

From there the day was an ‘ad hoc’ (look at him,of course it was gonna be ad hoc!) collection of pumps, jumps, drops and corners both bermed hardpack and seriously loose and off camber (we all crashed on the off camber but we all went back for more!).

Day Two we met at the Buck Inn in Cowpe for the gentle climb! to warm us up for Crag Quarry. After riding all day yesterday then climbing up that hill our legs were screaming as we set off on a taster loop.

Ed then chose a few different sections for us to session to try and get us to understand the difference between just ridinground a corner and whatever happens happens, ie, your front may slide/your back may slide, exit in the wrong place, etc, or really riding, ie, getting your body in the right position so you can choose to make the front grip and the back slide, looking much further ahead and picking a line into a corner so you exit in the right place and jumping your bike off a lip rather than being forced into the air so you can choose to put it back down where you like.

As you would expect in a class of six we were all of varying ability (in trail centre parlance, red route or above). One or two people definitely rode some things they would normally walk around
and everyone rode some things in a way they normally wouldn’t.

A word of warning, if you never ride on flats then spend a month on them before doing the course. There was nothing you couldn’t ride on Spd’s but as you are there to improve your technique and may be asked to do things beyond your comfort zone (asked but not forced i might add!) its best to get used to them first…

Eds teaching style is no doubt born out of a love for what he is doing. In fact ‘style’ is no doubt what you would gain if you perfected all the technique on offer. He instantly makes you all at home and at no point do you feel like your being lectured. His demonstrations are lovely to watch but he never looks like he’s showing off.

So if your already a riding god who nails every berm, pumps every dip and always knows when to flatten or jump a lip then this course isn’t for you. If your the other 99.9% of us then you will gain a lot from a little tuition!

Thanks to Matt, Steve, Ian, Mark & John for their easy company (and never/always laughing at my daft concentration face!) and to Ed Oxley for filling my head with new things to work on.

And  thanks to all those that made Lee & Crag Quarry a reality, both very different but very good facilities.