Paul Winkley writes…
Paul Harris recently organised a trip to Bedgebury Forest to take part in the nationwide MTB Skills Courses organised by the CTC. Being a ‘dyed in the wool roadie’ I thought why not try something different. There was also a chance to ‘Test the Best’ off road bikes on offer from Giant and Specialized as an added bonus.
We duly arrived at our allotted time at Bedgebury and paid the usual large car parking fee which if you take into account the facilities on offer £7.50 is somewhat of a bargain.
After signing on and being assigned a group we set off for the trails to start the course. Now I don’t know about you but I learned to ride a two wheeled bike when I was four which in my case is 48 years ago and I thought I knew how to freewheel downhill – apparently not! Other skills learned were going over a simple obstacle, braking and cornering, all very different from the way I’m used to doing it. We really did go back to basics and I must say it all made sense after a while and came in very handy.
After a quick lunch it was out on the ‘Red Run’ to test some of the new skills and as the photo shows some of us still need a bit of practice!
Unfortunately we enjoyed ourselves so much we weren’t in time to test the other bikes, maybe another time. I can thoroughly recommend doing the course which is free whether you’re a CTC member or not. At the start you will be thinking why are they teaching me this? But having tried to follow one of the instructors down a piece of single track and being left for dead you can see their point.
Just one more thing, whether you have a Mountain Bike or not, Bedgebury is a great place to go – bike hire is easy, routes are colour coded and well marked so you can hit a serious trail or just pootle round with the family in some beautiful countryside.