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5 Tips to Practice MTB Skills on a Busy Schedule

RLC founder Ryan Leech shares advice drawing from a 27-year pro riding & coaching career. Ryan has performed thousands of stunt shows around the world, including Cirque du Soleil, IMBA World Summit and Crankworx.

Are you too busy to progress your mountain biking skills? You’re not alone. It’s something we hear quite often from riders before they join our community. For many, it can be surprising how much you can achieve in very little time. You may just need to rethink your practice strategy. 

That’s why I want to share a few tips on how you can improve your skills on a tight schedule.

  1. Try short riding sessions

Some riders put way too much pressure on themselves to get out and do long rides, usually resulting in in-frequent rides. If you’re able to get out for lengthy rides regularly, that’s awesome, but if you're busy, try carving out more frequent but short rides or practice sessions. These regular rides train our brain and muscles so that...

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5 Tips to Improve Safety in Your MTB Practice Sessions

RLC founder Ryan Leech shares advice drawing from a 27-year pro riding & coaching career. Ryan has performed thousands of stunt shows around the world, including Cirque du Soleil, IMBA World Summit and Crankworx.

Do you know what will slow down your skill progression more than anything? Getting injured! On top of any injury sustained, many riders need to keep their body functional for work, so the consequences can be quite costly.

Recently, one of our members shared a crash video of going over the bars during a bunny hop practice session. I don’t want to single that rider out so I won’t share the actual video, but what I do want to crystalize and share the 5 tips that emerged from all the thoughtful conversation around this crash from within our community.

  1. Practice on Grass When Trying Something New

I’m a big believer in practicing close to home so you can get into a routine practice habit without a barrier (or excuse). Sometimes that means riding in a back...

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I Feel Like a Kid Again – Catching Air at 44

 

At RLC, we wanted to learn what acquiring skills looks like from our members' point of view, so we asked some of them. Here’s one from a long-time RLC member, Michelle Roe.

I'm Michelle, I work full time for the NSW Government in a policy role, and live in North-East Victoria, Australia.
 
I bought my first mountain bike in 2007. It wasn't until 2015 that I really started to progress my skills when my husband and I first jumped on board with RLC. When I started, I had no idea what rocking, hopping, manualing or any specific skills were. Now I do, and I love it.
 
As a ‘child-free’ couple, we were looking to bring back some childlike fun into our lives and RLC hit the spot. I am having more fun now than ever on my bike. And I’m catching some air at 44. Sweet!

What skills have you made progress in recently? 

Definitely jumping. I now enjoy clearing small and medium tables and have begun to experiment with longer tables and small or lower...
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My Thoughts On E-Bikes

By RLC founder and head coach - Ryan Leech

As a 29 year veteran in the MTB industry, it’s incredible to have observed the gradual introduction and embrace of e-bikes. A decade ago e-bikes were demonized, and now the praise and demand is almost uncontrollable. I personally still opt for my ‘analog’ bike most of the time, but I too am thrilled by the e-bike experience. 

We receive plenty of questions and comments about e-bike techniques on RLC. They present some interesting challenges, and of course opportunities. Because of this, we're starting to adapt our courses to meet this demand. The first course we plan to update will be our latest Bulletproof Basics course

There’s also a dedicated e-bike course stewing :-)

While there are still some adverse opinions about e-bikes, they seem to be waning as the growing pains of how e-bikes are integrated into the industry and trail networks become sorted. 

The dose of giggles...

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Member Success: Who Says Quitters Don't Win?

Member Success: An Interview with Rob Lawlor.

One of our new members, Rob, has been posting some amazing progress videos in the RLC Group so we decided to ask him a few questions about his skill development and how RLC has helped him along his journey. Rob has been a member since June 2020 (less than one year). 

Before we dive into Rob’s Background, check out these epic success videos: 

Rob owning the rocks with his Balance Skills: 

Wheelie, Bunny Hop, 180 Nose Pivots off The Ledge: 

Meet Rob:

I started RLC with the 30-Day Wheelie Challenge in June 2020. Before that, I didn’t have very much mountain biking experience.

I first bought a mountain bike in 2010. I took it off road a few times, but that was really just muddy paths, nothing that required any real skills. However, on one occasion I did decide to jump in at the deep end. I drove to Wales, pushed the bike to the top of Snowdon (the highest mountain in Wales) and rode down. I...

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Beginner's mind

Sometimes, I know when I’m right and sometimes I’m smart enough to admit when I’m wrong. However, I think I am best when I admit that I don’t know and approach as a beginner.

When I started RLC I really wanted to learn to track stand. For me, it stood to reason that better balance off the bike would result in better balance on the bike… So I started standing on one foot, walking along curbs, hopping on and off curbs. I must have looked like a 4-year-old, hopping, skipping, and jumping around! But I did not care. I wanted to learn to track stand and I wanted better balance! Also, it felt good to be a kid again!

RLC is built on the principle of building very advanced skills out of basic fundamental skills. This can be hard for people like me. I’ve been riding bikes for over 30 years, MTBing for over 20.  Surely I know something by now? And I do! But I can’t bunny hop or wheelie, and I take corners much slower than a lot of my riding...

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5 Lessons Learned On My Journey to the Wheelie (and other skills)

At RLC, we wanted to learn what acquiring skills looks like from our members' point of view, so we asked some of them. Here’s one of our most recent members, Joe Bank’s, experience with the 30-day Wheelie Challenge and a few other skills. 

Enter Joe…

I should preface the article with this; I ride my bike a lot. I rode 355 days out of 365 and about 650 hours in 2020. I don’t generally take days off apart from travel, but naturally, I have a lot of easy recovery days. 

When I started RLC in spring 2020, I integrated RLC practice into my routine by doing skills practice on easy days or when trails are in bad shape due to weather. On days that I normally would have ridden longer, I will ride the trainer in the evening after doing skills in the middle of the day as a break from work. 

I have some weeks, especially when trail conditions are good, where I just ride my bike and don’t do any skills focused rides.

My practice sessions are...

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How Egos Get in the Way of Learning

 

Is your ego getting in the way of learning amazing bike tricks? Coach Roxy explores how your ego might be subconsciously sabotaging your progression. 

I would like to share a personal story with you. I have a YouTube channel, which is called Roxy's Ride & Inspire, where I share short MTB skills tutorials and inspirational clips and link this to personal growth.

A few weeks ago, I received a message from a guy called Josh, who had been watching my channel for quite some time. His riding is AMAZING. And I’m going to be honest with you, Josh has MAD skills and is undoubtedly a better rider than me (I'm an accomplished rider who coaches all levels of riders, from beginner to Olympic XC pros, both online for RLC and in-person). 

So what really AMAZED me about his attitude is that he was OPEN enough to watch my videos and to LEARN from them, rather than letting his pride and ego get in the way by labelling me as an inferior rider.

When I...

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Five Credos Limiting Progress

 

In this blog post, Coach Roxy explores 5 credos that often lead to stagnation and frustration. These could be the reason you may not be progressing as fast as you would like on your mountain bike.

1. If I can do it once, I can do it again

When we do things for the first time, our brain is releasing chemicals that make things work. We are literally high on our own chemicals.

After we succeed we EXPECT it to work again – which causes internal pressure, which releases hormones and chemicals that actually inhibit our abilities. So it doesn’t work. The same happens when we retry something the next day, we don’t have the same chemical cocktail, we expect it to work, but then it doesn’t – so we get frustrated.

Just because you’ve done it ONCE, don't expect to be able to do it reliably afterwards.

2. It’s so easy to learn

Practice makes progression. Modern neuroscience shows we need 2000–3000
repetitions, or up to...

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Frustration to Fun

Frustrated by a lack of progress with your MTB skills practice? It might be time for a mental reset. RLC Ambassador, Carl Roe explains... 

We live in a society that idolises success and frowns on failure. This can result in an all-or-nothing approach to life that poisons our MTB skills progression. It’s not at all unusual to feel like you’ve ‘failed’ if you don’t complete a course, or master that skill you’ve been dreaming about – this judgment is built into the very fabric of our culture. 

Mental Reboot

If you’re frustrated with your lack of progress, or have let your practice sessions slide for whatever reason, a metal reset can really help. To perform a mental reboot consider the following:

  • Success is not defined by how many skills you master, or courses you complete, but by one measurable metric: showing up. If you show up, success is inevitable. 
  • Every course has at least one or two crux points where riders...
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