Want to get started mountain biking or improve your skills? Sportsister rounds up the best women only mountain bike courses across the country.
Where? Crowthorne Woods, Berkshire
What level does it suit? All levels catered for from beginners through to more experienced riders. A bike maintenance course is also offered.
When? April 5th, May 10th, June 7th, Aug 9th, Sept 6th, Oct 4th 2009
How much? £85 per course (including goodie bag)
More info www.dirtdivas.co.uk
Run by sports enthusiast Jacqueline Easton, who has been guiding mountain bike rides since 1992, Dirt Divas runs some great women only course for all levels. “Our aim is to give women the confidence to enjoy their riding in what still seems to be a very male dominated sport. We share with them our enthusiasm for the sport which has included introducing them to all things to do with mountain biking… bikes, clothing, events, trails,” explains Jacqueline. They have also launched a Dirt Divas Ride Team who will be racing in a variety of events this year.
Back to Basics is perfect for novice riders looking to gain confidence and learn the foundation skills of riding. Singletrack Skills is for intermediate riders looking to increase speed, tackle tricky descents and steep technical climbs. While Drops & Jumps focuses on teaching advanced riders how fly off drops, jump over obstacles and carve corners and rail berms. And for those of you keen to learn the basics when it comes to bike maintenance, Dirt Divas also offers a hands on instructional session followed by a three hour guided ride.
Forest Free Ride Girl’s Only Weekends
Where? The Cambrian Mountains, Wales
What level does it suit? The courses are aimed at women who are already riding but feel they lack the confidence/skills required to progress any further.
When? 10/11 January; 21/22 February; 7/8 March; 4/5 April; 25/26 April; 9/10 May; 30/31 May; 13/14 June; 27/28 June; 4/5 July; 18/19 July; 22/23 August; 12/13 September; 26/27 September; 10/11 October; 14/15 November
How much? £98 per person (accommodation, if required, is free at the centre’s bunkhouse)
More info www.forestfreeride.co.uk
Choosing to do a weekend course gives you the luxury of time and the opportunity to really see yourself improve over the duration of the course. Over the weekend the teachers cover the skills and techniques required to ride safely and above all confidently on any kind of trail. The training is geared towards those already riding but who perhaps feel they lack the confidence to push their riding further. Organiser Stuart says, “The comment we hear most often is, ‘I wouldn’t have ridden that before I’d been on this course’.”
Over the two days you get plenty of time to practice riding the various trail obstacles that go towards making up an average trail. With the belief that women learn new skills far better when they fully understand the details behind them; each technique is broken down into component parts and explained why and how things work.
Body positioning, high speed braking, increasing confidence at speed, dealing with drops and steps, tips for roots and ruts, low speed bike handling, cornering, reading the trail and line choice are all covered and bike maintenance can also be included if required. You also do some timed runs at the beginning and end of the course, so you can see the improvements made over the weekend.
Beginner courses are also offered, these can be tailored to suit the group or individual and are run “on demand”. Amazingly they don’t charge extra for a one to one course for those who feel they would rather learn on their own.
One Planet Adventure Women Only
Where? Llandegla Forest, North Wales
What level does it suit? Different courses cater for different levels ranging from beginner through advanced
When? 27th December – Core Skills; 28th December – Foundations; 30th December – Jumps and Drops; 31st January – Core Skills; 15th February Core Skills; 21st February – Foundations; 1st March – Jumps and Drops; 23rd May – Jumps and Drops; 17th May – Core Skills
How much? Foundations: £80; Core Skills: £90; Jumps and Drops: £120
More info www.oneplanetadventure.com
Oneplanet Adventure run a full program of women’s mountain bike course out of Coed Llandegla Forest in North Wales. Fully qualified CTC Skills and Jumps and Drops instructors will help you develop your skills and confidence to tackle any level of riding with ease.
From getting out on a mountain bike for your first ride or getting ready for a summer trip to the Alps they can help you overcome your fears of steeper descent’s, sections of northshore, jumps and drop offs, teach you the proper cornering techniques and how to ride berms properly. All in simple to understand and progressive steps and at your own level.
They have a fully equipped classroom on site and offer video analysis techniques to help you improve. You get a free CD copy of the day with your individual course feedback and action plan. All this plus an award winning café make it a first class choice!
Course on offer are Foundations, to provide an introduction to the foundation mountain bike skills required to ride off road trails. Learn correct riding techniques, discover where to ride and examine the use of equipment. Core Skills – to identify, develop and practice the core skills required to ride on, over and off small obstacles, transitions and jumps. And Jumps and Drops to further develop the core skills required for riding over transitions, obstacles, northshore, berms, cornering, jumps, steep descents and other man made or natural features found on modern trails and linking them together with flow.
Get Mountain Biking Women’s Course
Where? Woburn trails, Milton Keynes, and Harlestone Firs, Northampton
What level does it suit? Offer a beginner’s and intermediate’s course. Plus a women’s bike maintenance course.
When? January 30th; February 28th; March 28th; April 25th; May 30th
How much? £60 (10am till 4pm) £80 including bike maintenance
More info www.getmountainbiking.co.uk/
The solid introductory course allows you to learn some basic techniques and build your confidence. They cover all the usual skills you would expect including correct bike set up and rider positioning, going uphill and downhill, cornering, drops offs and lifting the front wheel.
They also teach you how to handle emergency trail repairs (including punctures and broken chains), give you the chance to have a go with clipless pedals and you will learn about bike safety checks. Courses are taught by female instructors and group sizes kept small with a maximum of six clients to one instructor.
The intermediate courses aim to get you riding more challenging routes, at a quicker speed with a higher skill level. Areas covered include bike set up and rider positioning, berms and cornering at speed, how to jump drop offs at speed, bunnyhopping/lifting the rear wheel, improving your descents on varying terrains, trackstands and combining technical obstacles.
A women only bike maintenance course is also offered. The full day workshop is a totally hands on way to learn how to service your own bike as well as carry out minor repairs and adjustments such as disk brake set up and chain splitting and removal.
Louise Hudson, Sportsister
The Women’s Sports Magazine
Photo credits: All photos kindly supplied by Helen at Get Mountain Biking: www.getmountainbiking.co.uk/
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