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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RLC's library is IMPROVING so YOU can too!

We've been busy behind the scenes creating new content for our members, both updates to existing courses and exploring new topics. We've got loads more in the works, but in the meantime here's a list of our latest lessons with links for easy access to them. What will you practice next? 

Troubleshooter Tutor - Series

Troubleshooter Tutors are new lessons added in strategic places within current courses. These lessons provide additional new information, or remind riders of key aspects of earlier lessons, and appear at choke-points where riders typically struggle or stall. It’s all about lubricating the wheel of progression. Coach Griff has produced a couple of lessons, the first being TRACKSTANDS - RIDING ACROSS A SLOPE and the latest release being WHEELIE SIDE BALANCE. Many more lessons are in the works, both Coach Griff and Coach Jeffrey are busy filming as we speak.

Rider Height Considerations - Series

Did you know that shorter riders face unique...

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Tutorial: Classic Front Wheel Lifts

The classic front wheel lift is a beginner level skill to learn and has many useful applications on the trail. RLC Head Coach, Ryan Leech, shares the secrets. 

Manual Versus Classic

The first distinction to make is between the manual front wheel lift and the classic front wheel lift. Many riders are familiar with the manual front wheel lift, where the rider uses body weight to suspend the front wheel in the air as they roll along on their back wheel. It looks totally boss, however, it’s a difficult skill to master, which is why I developed a 30-lesson online course, Manual Masterclass

In contrast, the classic front wheel lift is much easier to learn. It’s a compact movement where the front wheel is lifted briefly using the arms. It’s not as stylish as the manual, but a super useful skill to have in your toolbox. It requires minimal energy to perform and can be done over a short distance, making it possible to use where a manual would...

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Learning to Mountain Bike Over 50: Member Highlight


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...

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A DIY Guide to Building Backyard MTB Practice Obstacles


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

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Indoor MTB Skills


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:

  • Balance skills like Track Stands, Hopping and Rocking
  • Bunny Hops
  • Manuals and wheelies
  • Front wheel pivots

Along with these mountain biking skills, our website offers valuable MTB specific physical and mental skill practices, such as:

  • Physical fitness (strength training, pilates, and mtb specific workouts)
  • Yoga
  • ...
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Practice strategy: spontaneous wheelie visualization while walking the dog and pushing a grocery cart


[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:

  • Mental
  • Driveway/home
  • Trail

Within the mental category, he detailed 3 types:

  • Conscious reflection on practicing the skill/technique,
  • Spontaneous visualization
  • Subconscious practice

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.

  1. Walking the dog
    While out walking our dog on a snowy paved trail near our house recently, it occurred to me that come spring, I'd be doing some of my wheelie practice...
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