Ryan Leech Connection (RLC) has been teaching people mountain biking skills online since 2015. This article was written by long time member, and now official RLC coach Jeff Neitlich.
I was a ‘late bloomer’ when it came to mountain biking. I bought my first mountain bike at age 48, and hesitated to get on it for almost a year for fear of getting hurt.
At my age, and with people depending on me to provide for them, I was reluctant. I rode it on the street, but avoided ‘real’ mountain bike trails.
When I turned 50, I finally got up the courage to hit a local Washington State trail, and had a total blast. Bouncing over roots, climbing tight switchbacks, going over small drops— who knew!
However, I quickly learned that I had a LOT to learn, and I still wanted to be safe. I started scouring Youtube for ‘tutorials.’ I didn’t find many of them all that helpful to me.
Learning to do a ‘skill’ from a 5 - 10 minute video of a pro...
Written by: Patrick Mitzel - RLC member since 2017
Over the years I’ve put a lot of effort into creating MTB skill features to help me progress through certain skills and progressions found throughout Ryan Leech Connection's online courses.
I find it hard in my usual work week to take the time to drive to a park to session MTB skills. Having MTB features in my yard allows me to have quick practice sessions whenever I feel the urge.
Some of the features have been heavily modified as I have increased my skill level or realized the design could be improved. For each of the feature types, I have provided the path to the RLC lessons that could make use of that feature.
I put this article together because I thought it would be helpful to other MTB skill enthusiasts and hopefully it can inspire some feature builds and help you save some time.
Want the complete guide? Download it here.
Balancing in the living room - hopping off a curb - manualling down the street - bunnyhopping ledges at the park - ummm tight switchbacks down your stairs?!
In times like these, it's important to have a fun focus, a challenge, and one that you can do close to home - or even IN your home!
This is where my online skills coaching website can help :-) Change your perception, even if just for 20 minutes a day, from fear and worry, to belief in your ability to learn some fun and useful new MTB skills! Then allow these good practice vibes to spread...
Here's a list of skills and attributes you can practice to keep yourself occupied in a positive way:
Along with these mountain biking skills, our website offers valuable MTB specific physical and mental skill practices, such as:
[Author: Griff Wigley, RLC Coach]
During Ryan Leech's recent Facebook Live broadcast, New Year Visions (video excerpt below), he gave a little tutorial about 3 types of practice areas:
Within the mental category, he detailed 3 types:
I started working on the RLC 30-Day Wheelie Challenge course a couple of weeks ago with a very different approach than when I first attempted the course 3 years ago. I'm using an in-depth practice regimen that includes rigorous video review during and after each session, as well as extensive journaling and pre-session planning.
And I just experienced spontaneous visualization in two different settings, featured in the above 30-second video.
Adding new MTB skills to your quiver looks so easy in the videos. Yet some riders struggle to make real progress. RLC Ambassador, Carl Roe shares the secrets.
When I signed up for my first MTB skills clinic in 2014, I’d been mountain biking for 7 years and thought I had the sport pretty much figured out. But I quickly discovered that a high level of fitness, a good bike, clipless pedals, and familiarity with my local trails was masking a dark secret: My technique was terrible.
I’d fallen into the trap of thinking that the more I rode, and the fitter I got, the better I was. I didn’t know what I didn’t know.
Pre-skills training: all speed, no technique
Step one: Acknowledge your actual ability level.
Have you noticed how new riders are beginners for only a ride or two, before promoting themselves to “intermediate”?
This is where the illusion begins. But...
1. A great place to get started is exploring the Welcome Riders section. Introduce yourself to other members and learn about how the site works. This section will answer many of your initial questions.
2. The first course I would suggest looking at is Trailhead Tip Traps. These lessons offer advice on how to avoid the tip traps you'll encounter when taking advice from well-meaning riders at the trailhead. There's no practice exercises to do, just lots of thought provoking concepts. Don't be led astray by generic trailhead advice!
3. The first course...
In early July, 50 riders registered for a month-long Online Practice Jam focusing on the Baseline Balance Skills course. They had the opportunity to work on their track stand, hopping, and rocking skills with each other and several RLC coaches and ambassadors via a private RLC community forum.
This Jam was led by Griff Wigley (Coach) and Kai Ashbee (Ambassador). When they weren't busy running the Jam, they practiced right alongside the other participants.
If you're not familiar with the RLC Online Practice Jams (this was our third), here are the basics:
I'm always adding content to the site, whether it be a full-size course that covers a key skill, or a themed course that tackles a specific aspect of mountain biking. This mini-course's theme is: UP! I created it with two goals in mind:
I hope you enjoy this free sample lesson. Checkout the video above and the notes below...
Sample Lesson (#2 of 5) - Magic Acceleration
Magic acceleration is an essential skill that's easy to learn and highly effective. So much so that it works like magic, well almost....
Ryan Leech Connection offers the most detailed MTB skills progressions available. Compare our 40-part Bunnyhop Masterclass with a free 5-minute YouTube video and you’ll quickly see why RLC members succeed where the majority of riders fail. It’s not for lack of trying, it’s simply a lack of meaningful progressions to follow.
But there’s more to learning a skill than just following a series of progressions, no matter how detailed they are. Everyone gets stuck at some point and needs feedback to correct a movement pattern, or even just encouragement that they are going in the right direction. And this is where online coaching really comes into its own: ask a question or post a video and receive detailed feedback anytime during the learning process. You are not alone.
This feedback comes in two forms. Ambassadors provide general guidance from the perspective of a fellow student. They know what you’re going through because...