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I'm 55 and a new bike and more time riding with my sons has recently reinvigorated my riding. I'm interested in seeing if I can take it to another level. Wondering if instruction would help. Online or otherwise. Any suggestions would be appreciated.
 

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Yo. I've found some very useful instruction on leelikesbikes.com (they also have local instruction in widespread locations over the year). Enjoy.
 

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i dont think it would help..not me. i had a teenage kid trying to teach me how to do a manual and i felt like a doofus..it wasnt in me.

for me; saddle time is doing it. i get confidence, better balance, and most importantly stronger. as those improve, i am climbing more technical trails, and going down the same. nothing is fast and all cool looking..but i am not crashing.

the other day, going off a log, i kinda did an anemic manual..not at the point i can manual back up that log..but baby steps.
 

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Um, before I would pay for instruction I would watch the videos linked above, particularly the GMBN ones and actually practice rather than ride.

When I go for a ride, I make a loop and cover the terrain in a timely manner for me, but for skill development, go to a park, or even your driveway and actually practice drills. It hard for me as I would rather spend my bike time riding a loop or out and back than practicing drills, but for skill development, it is better than just covering terrain.
 

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Instruction for me has always come from finding riding buddies that ride a bit over my ability, combined with saddle time.

I started riding (1992) in a remote area on some rough trails on a full ridged (obviously) with no idea what I was supposed to be able to do. MTBaction was the source of any instruction (although seeing guys on trials bikes climbing over 3ft high trees just seemed ridiculous!)

When I hooked up with a riding buddy we challenged each other and discovered what was possible and rode and rode and rode.

Fast forward 24 years and I find that this recipe still works for me. (some of the youtube videos seem just as ridiculous). My buddies challenge me and I ride ride ride.

It's a terrible job but someone's got to do it.
 

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The hard part for me has been finding instruction (or riding partners) compatible with my skill level. The "beginner" clinics were too baslc, the "intermediate" one I tried (and all possible riding partners) too advanced.

The Ryan Leech stuff looks pretty advanced too.
 

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since 4/10/2009
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Everybody learns differently. If you think one will help, give it a try.

If you are a flexible and "coachable" person, then there's a good chance you'll gain something from it. It might not be exactly what you expect, though, so approach with an open mind.

When seeking instruction, check the credentials of the person offering the coaching. If it's something free your club is offering, expect major differences between that and a professional who has riding experience, coaching certifications (and coaching experience), and is constantly learning themselves. IME, the best coaches also have OTHER teaching/coaching experience beyond just the occasional mtb clinic.

The example of a teenager trying to teach a manual given above indicates to me that we're not talking about a professional. Within coaching certification circles, manuals are considered an advanced-level maneuver, and coaches shouldn't be teaching them (even if they can do them themselves) without advanced level coaching certs. Those sorts of certifications tend to also require a minimum of Wilderness First Aid certification, too.

I know some who claim that coaching certs are a racket, but there's quite a lot of value to the way coaching certification courses teach you to break stuff down into fundamentals and relay that to students to help them build to more advanced skills and maneuvers. And as a student, it's not like the learning ends when you finish a clinic. The clinic is simply setting you up with a framework for LEARNING bike skills that you can take with you and work on after you complete it.

If you're too stubborn to learn from someone else's instruction, then sure, a skills clinic is probably not for you. But that doesn't mean that someone else won't find value in it.
 

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I've taken some classes, and gotten a lot out of them. The best thing I ever worked on with a coach, and the thing I spend the most time focusing on as I ride now, is to brake effectively and efficiently. I don't think there is anything I've ever learned that helped me go faster than to learn how to scrub speed well. I am not fast, but I'm faster than I was, and a whole lot safer too, because I brake so much better than I used to.
 

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What Harold said.

A good coach knows how to explain the goal of a skill, break it down into the component parts, then put all the parts together to achieve success. There are lots of different learning styles and good coaches understand this (kinetic, auditory etc) and have lots of tools to work with this.

I think a lot of older riders really benefit from instruction, especially if one has been riding since the beginning of time. The changes in bike geometry alone make for different technique than how we all used to ride in say, 1995.
 

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The hard part for me has been finding instruction (or riding partners) compatible with my skill level. The "beginner" clinics were too baslc, the "intermediate" one I tried (and all possible riding partners) too advanced.
As a coach, this is something I've been struggling with: true beginners are much less likely to take lessons for whatever reason (wanting to trial and error for a bit, embarrassment, money). So the coach is sort of left trying to start in the middle; working from where the student thinks he is - often times with the student not wanting to back up and work on the things he already 'knows' how to do.
Plus a lot of students want a trick that makes something (hopping logs mostly, at least around here) easy. Telling them that there is no trick; that almost everything comes back to body position and where they're looking/what they're thinking about can be a tough sell. It can be hard not to laugh sometimes at the idea that the reason I can hop a log and my student can't isn't because I practice, a lot, but because of a trick.

For what it's worth: I've been riding since '88. I felt like I'd plateaued, skill wise so I did a Better Ride camp. The summer after that camp I progressed more than I had in the 6-7 years before. I was so impressed I did the PMBI coaching program. It's not like I'm making money with a coaching business or anything...

The last thing Harold said really struck home: I used to do adult swim lessons, mainly for triathletes. Every once in a while I'd get someone who was sure all they had to do to get good at swimming was swim a lot, and that I had nothing to teach them (I still haven't figured out why someone like that would sign up and pay for lessons); then what do you know, they wouldn't get anything from it and would walk away knowing they were right that lessons were a waste of time.
I haven't had that happen with bike lessons yet, but it's worth saying: If you don't think you'll get anything from lessons, you're probably right.
 

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The hard part for me has been finding instruction (or riding partners) compatible with my skill level. The "beginner" clinics were too baslc, the "intermediate" one I tried (and all possible riding partners) too advanced.

The Ryan Leech stuff looks pretty advanced too.
What was too advanced in this intermediate class?And what was too basic in the beginner? We get people wanting to skip our Level One class because they "know how to ride" and don't think they need it. What happens if we let them into Level 2? We spend half the class bringing "that guy" up to speed on all sorts of things covered in the first class, mostly the body positioning sequence but other things too.
 

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You both assumed that I skipped the beginner class. Not at all. I took it at least 3 times. It was a free skills clinic offered by the local club, really more of a ride with some bits of instruction thrown in here and there.

The intermediate class was given by a different coach not connected with the club.
That coach did not offer a beginner class.


Sent from my SM-P900 using Tapatalk
 

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You both assumed that I skipped the beginner class. Not at all. I took it at least 3 times. It was a free skills clinic offered by the local club, really more of a ride with some bits of instruction thrown in here and there.

The intermediate class was given by a different coach not connected with the club.
That coach did not offer a beginner class.


Sent from my SM-P900 using Tapatalk
That is the problem. Those free classes that clubs run do not compare to a paid, certified coach's class. It's no wonder those were too easy and the paid certified instructor's intermediate was too much.
 

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Instruction for me has always come from finding riding buddies that ride a bit over my ability, combined with saddle time.

I started riding (1992) in a remote area on some rough trails on a full ridged (obviously) with no idea what I was supposed to be able to do. MTBaction was the source of any instruction (although seeing guys on trials bikes climbing over 3ft high trees just seemed ridiculous!)

When I hooked up with a riding buddy we challenged each other and discovered what was possible and rode and rode and rode.

Fast forward 24 years and I find that this recipe still works for me. (some of the youtube videos seem just as ridiculous). My buddies challenge me and I ride ride ride.

It's a terrible job but someone's got to do it.
Everybody's different for sure but ^^^ this is best for me as well.
 

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Lone Wolf
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I was very lucky, when I got Into this I had a friend at work who raced In Germany for years. He was new In Florida and did not know about our trails.
I showed him Boyette, then Alafia and that kindled the fire and he got back into It.
He started each weekly ride with me for a full year, working my azz off.
I'd get a solid hour per ride of real Instruction, then he'd go off and ride with the fast people.
I'll never forget It, He'd shout, "You still back there ?",, "I can't hear you breathing lets get It on, Pick up the pace",, I'd ride till I puked or fell off,,got stronger.
I'd take an easy 'B' Line and he'd catch me and stop the ride, 'Oh no you don't, lets go back and do the fast line." And we would ride the hard stuff over and over Until I made It mine.
Taught me everything, even crazy stuff I thought was useless like how to eat, drink and rest ON the bike.
He'd raise hell with me If I put a foot on the ground at any time during the ride.

We'd get ready at the trail head and wait and watch riders go out, He would say,
"Nope not those two" then a bit later, "Ah Ha those three"
I'd be like wtfuuuu????
He'd pick faster riders and make me try and keep up with them, make me push my limits of skill and endurance. "Wan't to get faster, get dropped" and that's so very true..
He proved to me It's not the bike, It's the rider~~~
 

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since 4/10/2009
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31,456 Posts
I was very lucky, when I got Into this I had a friend at work who raced In Germany for years. He was new In Florida and did not know about our trails.
I showed him Boyette, then Alafia and that kindled the fire and he got back into It.
He started each weekly ride with me for a full year, working my azz off.
I'd get a solid hour per ride of real Instruction, then he'd go off and ride with the fast people.
I'll never forget It, He'd shout, "You still back there ?",, "I can't hear you breathing lets get It on, Pick up the pace",, I'd ride till I puked or fell off,,got stronger.
I'd take an easy 'B' Line and he'd catch me and stop the ride, 'Oh no you don't, lets go back and do the fast line." And we would ride the hard stuff over and over Until I made It mine.
Taught me everything, even crazy stuff I thought was useless like how to eat, drink and rest ON the bike.
He'd raise hell with me If I put a foot on the ground at any time during the ride.

We'd get ready at the trail head and wait and watch riders go out, He would say,
"Nope not those two" then a bit later, "Ah Ha those three"
I'd be like wtfuuuu????
He'd pick faster riders and make me try and keep up with them, make me push my limits of skill and endurance. "Wan't to get faster, get dropped" and that's so very true..
He proved to me It's not the bike, It's the rider~~~
Gawd, that would have made me hate riding. I don't ride to go fast. Going fast is a side effect for me. All I care is that I am out there.
 

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Lone Wolf
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Gawd, that would have made me hate riding. I don't ride to go fast. Going fast is a side effect for me. All I care is that I am out there.
Yeah I hear ya and It did at first, (hate riding) But then came the benefits.
The gift of the flow.. It's mine now.

It took me a year of being pushed hard to get the cardio and skill set I needed to ride in that special zone.
I may not be the fastest Old Fart out there But because of all the hard work and learning to ride smart I can do things without busting my lungs or my azz.

As for being out there, yeah It means an awful lot to me that I can be out there and as many know speed Is your friend. Whats that old saying,,?
Something like:
Use your brakes going down hill and you will push the bike going up the next hill.
Coast down hill and you will pedal very hard going up the next hill.
Pedal down hill and you may get to coast up the next hill :p

As you said, "I don't ride to go fast", well neither do I, I ride fast because to me Its a rush, Its easier, Its smoother, Its actually safer on many of my trails....
 
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