Weather you’re coasting around up near Ben Nevis, of knocking about on the south coast, trail centres require a unique and different skill set. Sure you’re still out on two wheels coming down trails, but they’re slightly different to natural riding. You may have seen our video of us at Gisburn Trail centre – so we want to help you by offering a few tips.
Trail centres make a fantastic trip out – catering for the whole spectrum of abilities. Professionals & novices can ride side by side taking different routes around but sharing the same area. These man made routes offer a massive variety of obstacles and difficulties.
No matter the scale of the obstacle, the fundamental skills remain the same. We’ve compiled a short list to help you out with the tricks to practice on the skills loop. This will help you bring on your ability ready to tackle the larger features when your confidence grows.
How to ride/jump a table:
Riding or jumping a table is one of the best skills to learn if you’re heading over to a trail centre. Similar to berms, the next point, most trail centres will have a plethora of tables, jumps, gaps and rollers for you practice on. When you approach the table, you’ll have to make sure you have enough speed to make the jump. Following a friend can be a great way to judge this right.
Press into the suspension & tyres into the take off whilst leaning back with steraight arms. When you’ve taken off lean forward slightly and attempt to land with both wheels on the ground. Table tops are a much more forgiving place to practice your jumping as you’ll roll away afterwards. Make sure you practice your technique & build confidence before you progress.
How to ride a berm:
A very common obstacle, a berm is a corner that has a banked outer edge running across the length of the corner. The bank allows you to really throw the bike into the corner, pushing back against your tyres. This extra support offers extra speed by stopping the bike sliding.
Riding into the berm instead of shooting across it can be very important. You’re not chasing a racing line here so angle your front wheel up the gradient slightly. Lean your weight down into the corner, rather than following the bike up the bank. By dropping your heels and pressing into the wheels into the corner you’ll feel an added security on the bike. Make sure you keep enough pedal clearance under the inner pedal so it doesn’t catch on the base of the berm, but try not to drop your foot completely like in the photo.
How to ride a rock roll:
When riding a rock roll you have to remember smoothness is key. If you snatch at it at any point the bike may lock up. This fluidity will come with confidence and comfort riding the roll. If you aren’t quite sure how to approach it don’t be afraid to scout the area on foot first, or wait to watch the group behind take it on. Make sure you keep your weight back, you’d be surprised at how close to the back wheel you can get. Drop your heels and head into the roll, let your bike carry you through. You’ll be riding like Danny McAskill in no time!