Due to availability, the well-established Mossley Sports Forum rides had to go on hold during the summer break. October has been kind though and the October half term provided the perfect opportunity to introduce some local youngsters to off road bike riding, helping them to develop and master key riding skills and passing on our passion for riding the local trails.
Our first session concentrated on core balance skills, weight distribution, braking and gears. A guest appearance from Dan and the Aerial Advantage crew was followed by a brief venture out of the park and onto the bridleway setting the scene for the second of three sessions.
Dan had a chance to practice his instructor skills whilst I was saying my piece to camera for the Crowdcube investment pitch video. Dan had set up an awesome slalom course for the group of riders to practice their cornering and ‘needle-threading’ skills before going on to test balance with a ‘circle of death’! The kids loved it and were mastering their bike handling skills whilst making their way around the cones and trying to be last rider in the circle.
For session two we gained another rider. The arrival of Abbie meant the girls out-numbered the boys and our new recruit was also an experienced cyclist! Abbie opted to ride one of the 26” wheel Mongoose bikes that the lads had been riding over the smaller 24” bikes. This time we warmed up in the park before moving to the bridleway and putting gear changes into practice on the hills. The October half term weather had thus far been kind and we ended our session with sun in the sky and smiles on our faces… what would Friday bring?
The weather had deteriorated during the week and it had been raining since Wednesday, dark skies had been looming over Saddleworth and the trails had turned from ‘hero-dirt’ to super wet. Mind that puddle! Or just be a kid and ride through at speed! I made my way to the meeting point to prep the bikes for the session and the skies cleared, the ride was on. Dovestone here we come… watch out puddles!
A quick warm up in the park was all that was needed before we were off on our way down the bridleway, stopping at the ménage in Friezeland. There’s a great spot here for a couple of slow races to test the balance before the logs come out and we get onto the front wheel lift and bunny-hop. As the kids learned, it’s all about confidence, speed and being light on the bike.
Onwards and upwards and we were all looking forward to grabbing an ice cream halfway up the car park once we got to Dovestone. It just so happened the ice cream van wasn’t there that day (it was half term as well) the guys didn’t seem that disappointed (I was gutted) and just tucked into their sandwiches instead.
We didn’t hang around for long as time was ticking on, we still had to get round the reservoir and back to Mossley in time for everyone to be picked up. Now it was about using those skills we had learned to pick up the pace and enjoy the ride! Needless to say, a lot of puddles got emptied that day! I started off dodging around and bunny hopping them but by the end of the day I was taking my cues from the kids, seeing how big a wake I could get from the bigger ones! Another awesome half-term session then, I can’t wait for Easter!
We need to give a big shout to everyone at Works4U over in Stalybridge for fixing up and cleaning all the bikes and putting together the racks in the containers, they work a treat.
We’d love to run these types of sessions for people of all ages, from all over Greater Manchester and even further afield. Join our supporters list, subscribe to our newsletter and follow us on Facebook/Twitter. Group and individual coaching sessions available now on request, email firstname.lastname@example.org – we’ll get you out, having fun and building your skills in no time.