Mountain biking is by far one of the most fun disciplines within the vast world of cycling. Mountain bikes also happen to be the most commonly owned types of bikes around these days. Perhaps it has something to do with the sheer joy of riding your bicycle in challenging terrain. Or maybe people prefer these bikes because of the kinds of roads we have here in India. Either way, mountain biking is a sport that unites most people – regardless of their skill level or riding capabilities.
Here’s a quick review of the Mountain biking skill builder workshop run by BUMSONTHESADDLE in partnership with Big Rock Dirt Park.
The Mountain Biking Skill Builder Series was marketed as a session for mountain bikers looking to improve their basics and improve as riders and my good friend Anirudh and I were super excited to be able to take part in this skill-building workshop. We’re both avid mountain bikers who enjoy hitting the local trails with friends whenever possible. Mountain biking for us was something we did purely for the fun-factor it brought – but lately, we both felt that our riding skills were holding us back from trying the more daring and adventurous trails Bangalore had to offer. When we heard about the workshop being held at BigRock Dirtpark Bhannerghatta we were absolutely sure that we had to attend.
We reached the Big Rock Dirt Park Bannerghatta campus at around 7:15am and we were greeted at the entrance by the BigRock team to help us get our bikes off our cars and guided us to the event location. Do remember that the beautiful South Bangalore BigRock Campus is quite far out and you need to plan your travel to reach the venue on time for the event.
The session kicked off at a tad late as we were waiting for a few of the attendees to reach the venue! We were introduced to our Mountain Biking Coach Nilesh (a.k.a Nelly), an accomplished downhill mountain bike racer, an experienced cross country mountain biker, and also an off-road motorcycling instructor at the Big Rock Campus! As the Director and Head Trainer at BigRock, Nelly is a well-experienced rider who has been coaching others and guiding them into the world of mountain biking for a very long time.
Going into this session as beginners, both Anirudh and I wanted to hone our basics to help make us faster, more efficient mountain bikers. In particular, I was keen on improving my cornering as I felt that it was my biggest weakness out on the trails.
After the introductions, we did a few warmup drills to help stretch our muscles and joints as it was a nippy morning. These ensure you loosen up your body for the session and also prevent injuries. The coaching kicked off post the warmup.
The session was broken into Theory, Drill Practice, and finally, a trail ride to test out your new skills with a mountain bike instructor focusing on the following skill-sets
- Mounting / Dismounting a Mountain Bike / Cleats
- Gear Shifting Techniques
- Evaluating your Riding Terrain
- Using Your brakes wisely
- Pedaling Techniques
- Optimum Cadence
- Weight Distribution
Including Anirudh and I, there were around 8 people in total. I thought this was a great idea since the student to teacher ratio is then perfect for 1 on 1 coaching and understanding.
HIGHLIGHTS FROM THE EVENT
- I loved how we started off with cone drills. I felt more in control of the bike after applying what we learned from the drills. This improvement seemed almost immediate.
- I realized that there was a lot of unlearning to do in what little I knew of riding on the trails. Most of what we thought to be “correct” was actually wrong. It’s going to take some time, but definitely worth putting in the time.
- I distinctly recall how Nelly broke down the bunny hop move for us during the break. Bunny hops were something that I never bothered learning because it seemed very advanced and complicated. But when Nelly broke it down to multiple small, concise steps, it made learning the bunnyhops more approachable.
- The location we were at felt like it had a bit of everything that you’d want a practice trail to have. Riding around the trails at the end to put what we learned to use was very satisfactory.
- Just talking bikes with everyone there, in general, was a real big plus for me, as I don’t get to do that often. And I did pick up a lot of things from just talking to everyone there as well. It was a super fun experience for us all and I can’t wait to go back there soon.
We definitely felt this session was great for all levels of riders – the session is great for new riders looking to gain more confidence and ride efficiently on their mountain bikes and for experienced riders to refine specific skills like cornering, steep transitions & technical sections.
The session also provided ample opportunities for group discussion and practice of specific skills, and was a great way to meet new trail-riding buddies too!
A must attend if you’re a cyclist and are fortunate enough to live in the cycling capital of India – Namma Bengaluru city.
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WHAT I LOVE ABOUT CYCLING
I’m an avid mountain biker and I like riding fast and flowy singletrack. As I keep riding, I continuously work on honing my riding skills. I like to ride whenever possible, especially with friends. I also like to influence folk into getting to ride more often.
Working on bicycles has also been a keen interest of mine for quite some time.
DISCIPLINE: Mountain biking and Road biking
CURRENT BIKE: Merida One Twenty 9.600 & Specialized Allez Elite DSW
DREAM BIKE: Santa Cruz 5010