MTB Skills Coaching
Beics Brenin offering a range of MTB skills courses to help everyone from newcomers to expert riders in improving their riding. Please contact us for more information about our coaching and available course dates.
Who can benefit from skills training?
Basically, everyone. Our skills courses cover a range of trail fundamentals and are designed to help everyone improve their bike handling, gain confidence and tackle new terrain.
Skills training for Beginners – Learn mountain bike fundamental and take your first trail excursion under the watchful eye of one of our qualified skills instructors. We will take you through equipment set up and riding techniques in a safe and controlled environment, giving you the techniques to progress with confidence.
Skills training for intermediates – So you are already riding well, tackling trails of different grades but want to take your riding on, corner faster, flow better and maybe tackle some more challenging terrain features like jumps and drops with more confidence. Our skills courses will help you progress by giving you new tools and techniques to enhance your ride. Increase speed, control and confidence and tackle new terrain.
Skills training for advanced riders – Q. What group of riders already use skills coaching the most? A. The world’s top riders, that’s who. If the very best mountain bikers can benefit, then why not you. Skills coaching for advanced level riders provides an opportunity to analyse physical technique and equipment set up to maximise a riders potential. We use techniques like section analysis and video coaching to provide riders with valuable tools, feedback and techniques in order to optimise riding ability and benchmark personal development. The objective, to ride all trails faster and smoother, with more confidence and less effort.
Our skills courses
Skills courses m ostly run from 9am to 12 noon but many choose to extend their day with an afternoon guided ride session with their instructor to further practice and hone your skills under supervision. These guided rides will take in terrain appropriate to your skills level and supply ample opportunity to further practice the skills you learned on your course. Afternoon guided rides usually runs 1pm to 4pm. For prices please see our prices tab.
MTB Starter (1 1/2 hr)
This course is aimed at those who are new to Mountain Biking and want to make the most of their visit to Coed y Brenin Forest Park. It gives an introduction to mountain biking at the park including advice on trail selection and the trail grading system, equipment, set up and clothing selection. You will be introduced to useful off road bike handling skills like safe braking and cornering technique and get the chance to test your new skills in the park’s dedicated MTB skills area.
The course is packed full of tips to help you get started and make the most of your trip to the Coed y Brenin’s world class mountain bike trails.
MTB Essentials (3hrs)
This course looks at the fundamental components of bike handling, climbing, descending, cornering and braking (speed control). The course will teach you techniques in reading and evaluating trail features, how to improve body position to increase speed and control. You’ll learn how to ride faster and more safely.
Our skills approach allows the course components to be tailored to individual rider learning requirements and present skills level. For beginners the course provides a grounding in mountain bike essential skills, giving riders the tools they need to tackle a variety of terrain. For more experienced riders the course provides the opportunity to analyse individual components of riding technique like cornering, pumping and braking in order to improve speed, control and energy efficiency on the trail. MTB Essentials gives a thorough grounding in mountain biking core skill to help improve confidence on the bike and unlock your full rider potential.
Fly & Flow (3hrs)
Ever wondered why you puff and pant while other riders seem to fly with the minimum of effort? Our Fly and Flow course teaches the essence of trail working, we’ll show you how to squeeze extra momentum from every trail section and conserve momentum through energy sapping terrain. By improved line selection, body position, carving, pumping and appropriate speed control we give riders the skills they need to glide through challenging terrain with less effort, more panache.
Our timetabled courses (please see ‘Dates’ tab for course availability).
1 1/2 hr MTB Starter* (1 1/2 hrs) – £30
3hr Skills Coaching session* (9am – 12 noon or 1pm – 4pm) – £60
3hr Skills Coaching session* (9am to 12 noon) + Afternoon guided ride with Coaching (1-4pm) – £90
We also offer the opportunity to build skills coaching sessions to your requirements. Maybe you are looking for 1:1 coaching on a specific skill or want to organise a group of friends to do some training. We can accommodate most training requirements within our modular format courses and again you can extend your day with guided riding if required:
3hr Skills Coaching session for group or individual, by arrangement
1 person (1:1) – £120 – (add afternoon guided ride + £80)
2 persons – £90 pp – (add afternoon guided ride + £50pp)
3-4 persons – £80 pp – (add afternoon guided ride + £40pp)
5-6 persons – £60 pp – (add afternoon guided ride + £30pp)
! – Group size – [Instructor pupil ration never exceeds 6:1]
Larger Group bookings – PLEASE CALL
Ffowndri – skills area
Coed y Brenin’s dedicated MTB skills area, The Ffowndri provides us with the perfect location for MTB Skills Training. It’s ideal for beginners, just getting into the sport, right through to experienced, skilled riders. Divided into 4 zones, you can start off in the Training Zone where there are features that allow the training of basic core skills. From here you can gain confidence and progress your riding to move up through progressively more technically demanding terrain with graded trail features that mimic those you will find on the forest park’s many way-marked trails.
You’ll find short trails of all grades in The Ffowndri that allow the development of new skills in a controlled trail environment with ample space and without distraction. There is also a Freeride Zone and Drop-Off Zone that allow us scope to train more advanced MTB skills like jumps and drops.
Current course dates 2018:
Sat 11th Feb 2018 – MTB Essentials
Sat 17th Feb 2018 – MTB Essentials
Sat 10th March 2018 – Fly & Flow
Sat 24th March 2018 – Fly & Flow
Sat 21st April 2018 – MTB Essentials
Skills Courses – requirements
We do not outline individual requirements for personal fitness or skill level as entry requirements for our courses, however we may suggest criteria in terms of individual skill level/fitness in order to outline the suitability for an individuals to participate in some courses. If you have any questions regarding individual fitness or skill level and your suitability to tackle our courses, please ask as we are always happy to discuss these with you.
We would always suggest that participants should embark on their selected course with a suitable level of physical fitness to match the challenges outlined in the course description. Most courses do not contain any immense physical challenge or include extended periods of riding without rest, by the nature of coaching there is a fair amount of observing, feedback and discussion sessions and these will involve some standing around outdoors. Often an individual’s selection of clothing (are they warm enough when standing about) can have more bearing than personal fitness level. That said, mountain biking is a physical activity and we would hope that participants have enough physical ability to participate in comfort. Again we ask that if a participant is at any point feeling beyond their physically capability or in any way uncomfortable or unsure, they should always bring this to the attention of their instructor immediately.
In short, if you have any concerns then raise them with your instructor, she/he will always be happy to discuss alternative options.
Guided Riding – requirements
If you have selected to extend your day with a guided riding session with your instructor he will discuss appropriate route options with you prior to departure. This will include a discussion about the trail grading system in operation at Coed y Brenin Forest Park and the suitability of the trails for individual riding ability and your current energy & fitness levels. If you have any concerns about suitability of the trail or of your personal fitness level in relation to the challenges that the suggested trail may involve (route distance, climbing, descending or route features) you should raise these issues with your instructor. Often there may be options to cut short a route if individuals are finding it too challenge but these options are better planned before rather than during a ride.
Your Bike – Condition and function
Your bike should be in a good state of repair, trail worthy and safe to ride. Brakes and gears should be functioning well. If you haven’t had your bike serviced for a while it’s a good idea to get this done in good time for your course, it would be a shame to have your day cut short by a mechanical failure that could otherwise have been avoided. More importantly, your bike needs to be safe. Your instructor will cover rudimentary checks that are always a good idea before riding, even if you know your bike well. Tyres should be in good condition with plenty of wear left to the tread and you should carry as a minimum, a multi tool, pump, tyre levers, spare tube and puncture repair kit (or stick on patches).
In particular we would advise checking the condition of brake pads (and disc) to ensure they have enough wear life. Test the function of brakes and gears and inspect for any visible play or movement at headset, bottom bracket and in hubs that might indicate excessive wear. It’s better to discover a problem well in advance of your course as bike workshops are often busy. Allow plenty of time to book service work to ensure your bike is ready for the day of your course.
Your Bike – Bike Set up
A bike that is poorly set up can be as much of a barrier to riding progress as a bike that needs servicing. Your bike needs to be of an appropriate size/fit for you, too big or too small and it will be difficult to ride properly. Likewise handlebars, stem and saddle position all need to be set suitably for you, your type of bike, riding style and the terrain you will be riding. Our instructors can advise on bike set up and basic adjustments will be covered in some way on most courses. However, unless an aspect of the course includes a more detailed look at set up it is usually not appropriate to make any major adjustments to bike set up during a skills course. If you are concerned about your bike set up, please discuss this beforehand with one of our staff or instructors or ask your local bike shop to check that your bike size/type, set up and riding position are suitable for the type of riding you will be doing.
We advise strongly against making any major changes to your bike either immediately before or during your course. Adjusting to a new bike, riding position or other major change often takes time and you’ll have quite enough to take in during your coaching without anything extra.
Your Clothing – what to wear
We are all keen to ride and you’ll do plenty of that during your course, however there will also be a reasonably amount of observation, discussion and feedback sessions that involve standing around outdoors so it’s essential that you dress to be warm and comfortable for this. We would far rather individuals brought a few extra layers they need to peel off rather than be cold during training. It’s best to dress for the standing around and remove layers for the riding if required. We advise carrying a light riding pack (rucksack/hydration pack – they come in many shapes and sizes). This will give you options for storing anything you are not currently wearing, there are plenty available today with good capacity that are comfortable to wear.
Exact clothing choice will be dictated by the course you are participating in, the weather and personal preference. If you are doing a Jumps & Drops course for example, some knee and elbow pads might be a good idea. Dress appropriately for the time of year and the riding you will be doing. We’d always advise some extra layers for when you are stationary and a good rain jacket is advisable at any time of year in Wales.
Cycling Shorts – While not compulsory, a good pair of cycling shorts with a padded insert are a very good idea. We wouldn’t ride any distance without them. They come in a great many guises these days from the standard tight lycra models you might expect a road cyclist to wear through to more casual undershorts and baggies with liner inserts. Either way, a little padding between you and your saddle is going to increase your comfort significantly and extend your riding time.
The exact clothing choice will be down to your personal preference but if there are any specific requirements we’ll outline them in the course information.
You are learning and mountain biking is physical sport so protection is advisable.
Helmets – Helmets are mandatory at Coed y Brenin. Your helmet needs to be in good condition, fit well and be correctly secured.
Gloves – A good pair of gloves will help protect your hands in a fall and provide comfort from scuffs and blisters on longer rides, we consider them as essentials.
Knee and elbow guards – While not mandatory we think knee and elbow guards are a very good idea. The quality, comfort and wearability of these items has improved significantly in recent years and there are now plenty of options that provide a reasonable level of protection and are still comfortable enough for day-long wear and longer rides. Beics Brenin carry a selection of guards in stock, we also hire knee protectors from the shop and these can be pre booked with your course if required.
Footwear & Pedals
Standard flat pedals
If you are using flat pedal then a good pair of flat soled shoes should be worn. We would advise a pair designed specifically for mountain biking, there are plenty on the market today that will be comfortable an do a far better job of withstanding the mud, knocks and scrapes than running shoes but failing this, a pair of low-top trekking shoes or sturdy trainers are functional.
We do not allow riders to use traditional toe clips and straps during training as these do not allow a rider to dismount safely in the event of a crash. If you are currently running toe clips on your bike we require that these are removed for your coaching session.
If you running a cleat style clipless pedal system (shimano spd, crank brothers, look etc) then please make sure you are familiar with their use and operation before joining a course. Again, it’s best to get thoroughly acquainted with your chosen system and be comfortable in their use and operation well before coming on a skills course where you need to use them. Otherwise you may find you spend more time focussed on your pedal system than the riding skills you came to learn. The caveat to that is of course if your skills session contains some training in their use by specific arrangement. Speak to your instructor or a member of Beics Brenin staff if you are unsure or if you would like to arrange specific training in the use of clipless pedal systems.
Whatever clipless pedal system you are running you should check the condition of pedals, cleats and shoes before embarking on your course. They should be in good condition and release safely when required.
Food & Hydration
We do not provide food & drink on any of our courses unless specifically stated. Most training takes place not far from the Visitor Centre that has a good size café serving everything from light snacks, tea, coffee and soft drinks to hot meals. If there are breaks during your coaching session these will be indicated on your course sign up information. Most morning courses run 9am – 12 noon with afternoon sessions or guided rides running from 1pm until 4pm, giving an hour in which lunch can be taken. You can use the café on site or bring your own lunch.
We would advise bringing a water bottle or hydration pack so you can stay hydrated through your day. Likewise, it’s a good idea to carry some light snacks or energy bars to help keep your strength up should you feel a little peckish when out on the trail. For guided rides you are expected to be self-sufficient in terms of food and drink. If you are unsure, please ask your guide/instructor for advice on what to take.
There are places to fill hydration packs/water bottles on site before your course/ride but none during so please remember to fill up before you begin. Beics Brenin carries a good selection of water bottles, hydration packs, electrolyte, energy fuel, bars and gels so if you should need anything you can always stock up before your course/ride.
Parking is £5 for the day, pay & display using the machines in the car park or obtain a ticket from the reception building.
There are toilets and showers and changing located downstairs in the main (round) visitor centre building. Additional 24hr toilets are located opposite the main entrance to the visitor centre.
There is a bike wash located by the main visitor centre building, tokens can be obtained from the main visitor centre information/reception desk just inside the main entrance on the left.
If you require the use of a bike for your training session it is advisable to book this when you book your course to ensure we have an appropriate size/model available.
For information about the bike types we offer, prices and booking requirements please view our bike hire pages.
Coed y Brenin offers great all-weather riding with tree lined slopes and well maintained trails. It is extremely rare that weather conditions interrupt riding in the forest. Riders should come prepared for foul weather if it is forecast.
We do however reserve the right to cancel or curtail courses if we feel that weather conditions should pose any risk to riders.