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Covid-19 – The unlock

Covid 19  – THE UNLOCK

If official, we have now had the green light from Forestry England that we can offer Mountain bike coaching and guided rides in the Forest of Dean.

In our last Blog we explained we would use a 5 step process to unlock the business. Today we can announce we have jumped to Step 2.5, but what does that mean?

Step 1:

Forestry England have given us the go ahead for these sessions to return 


Step 2:

Forestry England have given us the go ahead for these sessions to return 


Step 3:

  • Mountain bike educational courses and the British Cycling Leadership scheme will be introduced, these courses will run from Pedalabikeaway from the 6th July, Once Visit Wales have given more guidance on accomodation and lifting of their restrictions, we will review and start running courses in Wales again.

British Cycling have now given us the go ahead to run Leadership courses, but as the majority of Wales accomodation is still shut we will be running MTB leadership courses from Pedalabikeaway


Step 4:

  • Vehicle assisted Mountain bike Guided Rides, we still feel we are not able to offer these trips. This is based on the current government guidance. We plan to review this monthly, but for now they are postponed.
  • Mountain Bike Holidays: as with Step 4 we do not feel we can offer this yet due to Covid-19. We do have some very exciting news which is based around the Sun, Sea and amazing off grid riding BUT you will have to wait and see what that is. 

Step 5:

  • Mountain Bike Holidays: as with Step 4 we do not feel we can offer this yet due to Covid-19. We do have some very exciting news which is based around the Sun, Sea and amazing off grid riding BUT you will have to wait and see what that is. 
Remote Guiding before the Lock down…. Who wants some of this?
Coaching and Leadership

You guys have been amazing and the majority of you decided to postpone your sessions with us. We are now in the process on contacting each and everyone of you to rearrange your sessions.

All mountain bike coaching sessions are open and can be booked All traditional guided rides are now bookable
All Mountain bike leadership courses can also now be booked
We will be running all these courses with lower numbers, so please book quickly.

As you can imagine this is a huge task and we will inevitably miss a couple of emails, to ensure we reach out to everyone, could we ask a favour?

‘Could you please email us the course we postponed including the date and we will try our upmost to get you onto a date which suits you.’

We are so grateful for all the support you have given us through this tough time and we are 100% focused to returning the good will and getting courses up and running as fast as we can. The office team are busy moving the rest of the 2020 calendar around to bring back your favourite coaching sessions, some new ones E-Flow, add in some new guided rides and hopefully very soon announce some new developments.
 
Loving the new Madison Kit

Fodders Academy

We will be running our Fodders Academy this summer!!! The 1st session will be the 14th July and a further 5 sessions are currently planned to run every Tuesday 10am – 15:00

Fodders Academy is the next step of your young rippers development to becoming a self reliant mountain biker and also the perfect step once they have completed Little Fodders pathway. Starting age for Fodders Academy is 10 years olds and the young person should have a good understanding of the core skills of mountain biking – THIS IS NOT A BEGINNERS GROUP, sorry

There is a maximum of five participants for the session.

This coaching session is 5 hours in duration, starting at 10 am, but please be ready to ride at 9.45 am.

Kids coaching sessions


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Covid – 19 and unlocking our business

Covid 19 

As we approach week 11 of Covid – 19 restrictions we are starting to wonder, just how long will this last? Emails have starting to land asking the same question. Hopefully this blog will answer some of the queries.

One thing is definite, just as soon as we are allowed to open we will, our coaching, guiding and educational workforce are super keen to get going.

England, Wales and Scotland have taken the decision to adopt different strategies on how their countries will ease restrictions. Currently England are allowing people to travel for exercise, attend gatherings of no more than 5 people and take part in a wider range of sports. Wales and Scotland however are more courteous and have decided to keep tighter restrictions in place for a further 3 weeks. Visit Wales current policy is #VisitWalesLater, so please respect that.

This makes our lives really hard as as small business. We operate in both England and Wales, but we believe we now have a plan of how we will start to unlock the business which is considerate to all parties involved.

Firstly we wanted to thank all the clients who had bookings with us during this period and who have volunteered to transferred their bookings to dates later in the year and for the people we refunded, we hope to see you sometime in 2020. All your kind words on the phone and over emails have been amazing and truly humbling, Thanks so much.

Mountain bike coaching Finding your feet: - The Core Skills
Group Mountain bike coaching session, based from Pedalabikeaway

The Plan

The majority of our coaching courses happen from Pedalabikeaway in the Forest of Dean. The woods are owned and managed by Forestry England, and currently no outdoor operator is authorised to use their land for outdoors sports, however we are very hopefully this will reviewed in the next couple of weeks.

This will mean we will start the process of bring the business back on line. Sadly we do not have any fixed dates, but as soon as we do we will be shouting about it. We have a 5 step approach:

Step 1:

  • 1 to 1 coaching sessions and coaching sessions with 2 people from the same house hold e.g. Father and Son
  • 1:1 Guided rides based from Pedalabikeaway and around Forest of Dean and same house hold family guided rides

Step 2:

  • Open group sessions. We will follow current government guidance and restrict these sessions to 1: 5 ratio
  • Open group guided rides. These WILL NOT be vehicle assisted guided rides but a more traditional style, so you will have to pedal up some hills. More information will follow with regards to these trips

Step 3:

  • Mountain bike educational courses will be introduced, these courses will run from Pedalabikeaway at first, but once Visit Wales have given more guidance in 3 weeks we will advertise more courses in Wales if we feel we can meet all the demands of the Covid-19 guidelines

Step 4:

  • Vehicle assisted guided rides. This will be the return to our classic 1 day adventures across Wales:  Wye Valley off Piste, The Black Bomb and the Brecon Epic

Step 5:

  • Multi day mini adventures. Some exciting news about these products will be released in due course
Guide ride Wales, MTB adventures across wales, MTB guides, South wales trips, MTb adventures,
Mountain bike guided ride, Wales

YouTube Channel

Our new How To Videos are now live on our You Tube channel.

We have decided over this period to produce a series of videos to help with all things mountain biking.

The 1st episode is all about: How to Check, Fit and Store a mountain bike helmet.

Tyre inserts, what are they all about? Check out Joe giving a full down load of what they are

New to Mountain Biking?

British Cycling Mountain Bike Leadership
David showing how to set your brakes during a trail side repair session

New to Mountain Biking? 

Covid 19, self-isolating, social distancing, all new ideas, and things which we have had to adapt to and have become part of daily life and may well continue to be for some time.

One important aspect of the current “Lock Down” is the ability to get out and exercise which is great for physical and mental health. We are fortunate, as we live in the Wye Valley and just a 5 minute pedal to a purpose-built traffic free cycle route which links Monmouth to Symonds Yat East, deep in the Wye Valley. We use this cycle way to access the kilometres of forest fire tracks which make up the Wye Valley.

During our daily rides it appears that more and more people are choosing to dust off their old bikes and head back into the natural environment. When the official “Lock Down” finishes will these new cyclists continue with this new pastime, and if they do, will they choose to cycle further afield?

This blog aims to give you a step by step guide on how to progress from riding in your local area to riding further afield, like in the beautiful Wye Valley or surrounding areas such as the Forest of Dean. Off road cycling, is not something complicated, it’s simply riding a bike off the national highways, where you don’t need to worry about cars, vans and lorries overtaking you. This lack of motorised vehicles allows you to get away from the pollution, focus on the natural environment and provides the opportunity for  everyone , including less confident riders to safely get out  on their own or perhaps with their kids,  safe in the knowledge they don’t need to have to deal with traffic.

Women only guided rides, Mountain bike guides, Black Mountain, Brecon Beacons, South Wales, Wales, MTB guide
Guided ride in the Brecon Beacons

Step 1: Decide where you would like to Ride.

Apart from the Wye Valley, the Forest of Dean would be the closest area to go for our next cycling adventure. The Forest of Dean is steeped in industrial history, has hundreds of kms of woodland, a number of visitor centres and a dedicated Cycle centre called Pedalabikeaway which has an off road family cycle trail leaving right from the café, sounds perfect? More on that in Step 5.  

Step 2: Equipment.

Mountain bike leadership kit, British cycling Mountain bike leadership, Guided rides, training the guides, Moutain bike leadership South wales
Mountain bike leaders need lot of kit

You will need the obvious kit, a bike would be useful, cycling helmet, sports clothes, food and water. One of the biggest barriers to cycling away from your local area is being able to transport your bikes easily, but this is where cycle centres like Pedalabikeaway help. They have a full fleet of bikes which range from family touring bikes, tag along for the small ones right up to Electric Mountain Bikes, all can be hired for a half day or a full day, and are kept clean and well maintained by the dedicated staff The cycle centre also provides the hire of cycling helmets, somewhere to fill your water bottle, café, secure car park and toilets. The onsite bike shop offers the cycle network maps which help guide you around the off road cycling route, if map reading isn’t your strong point, don’t worry, you can also book in with one of the British Cycling Mountain Bike Guides from WyeMTB who  can tailor your experience just for you needs.  

Step 3: Let the Adventure begin.

It is always worth popping into the bike shop and asking the staff if there is anything you should know about the loop you plan to ride; the staff are locals and love to share hints and tips with you about the local riding conditions or your planned routes 

Step 4: Have a plan of action.

Check the weather forecast and pack accordingly, if it’s going to rain pack an extra layer, if it’s going to be hot and sunny, extra water and sun cream should be packed. Make sure your mobile is fully charged, not just to capture great photos and videos of your adventure, but also for you can call for help should you need to. A great phone app which is FREE is OS Locate, if there is an incident the emergency services might ask for your location, OS Locate will give a pinpoint location with 2 letters and 6 numbers, don’t worry you don’t understand what they mean, the emergency services will know, just open the app and hit go!

Step 5: Route options.

The Forest of Dean offers a family trail, 11km of off-road cycling which will take between 60mins and 180mins depending on how many photo and picnic stops you make! The trail is “hard pack” which makes for great riding for all abilities. The loop has off shoots which access local towns and villages like Coleford, Lybrook and Cinderford, so you can top up your water bottle or even grab some lunch. The loop is clearly way marked all the way around making it a great route for your first adventure.

Mountain Bike Specific Loop – ‘The Verderers’ a name steeped in the history of the Forest of Dean– 11km of single track, this means the cycling traffic only travels in one direction. The trail is graded Blue and is a step up from the family trail, want to know what a blue looks and feels like? Then why not ride around the family trail where there are 5 extras add ons which split from the main trail and allow you to experience what a Blue grade of trail looks and feels like.

Mountain Bike Specific loop – ‘The Freeminers’ 12km in length is one more step up from The Verderers trail and is graded Red meaning Extreme. This trail is single track and you can follow the way marked trail straight from the cycle centre. The Freeminers will follow some of the Verderers trail so you will know what you are getting yourself into.  

Advance and Down Hill trails – The forest of Dean and Pedalabikeaway also hosts a wide range of dedicated downhill mountain bike tracks which are not for the faint hearted, these should only be attempted if you have worked your way through the grading system, starting simple e.g. family trail, blue trail, red trail and then the easy downhill trails should be accessed first. These trails will require a dedicated Mountain bike with a minimum of front suspension, again which can be hired from Pedalabikeaway, you may also want to consider extra personal protection for example a full-face helmet body armour or other pads.  

Step 6: Developing those skills.

Mountain bike coaching in the Forest of Dean, Group Mountain bike coaching, Mountain bike coaching, MTB coaching, FOD MTB, Forest of dean, South Wales MTB
Mountain bike coaching in the forest of dean

You have now ridden around the family trail, tried all the extra little blue sections and ridden around the official Blue trail but perhaps you feel you could have done better? Maybe it’s time for a Mountain Bike Coaching session? WyeMTB offers a staircase coaching style designed to take beginner riders of all ages right the way through to advanced Mountain bike riders. We offer regular group sessions as well as 1:1 session to focus solely on your aims and objectives to improve as a rider. Whether it’s specific skills and techniques or just boosting your confidence to hit the trails on your own or with your family WyeMTB can help.Our Mountain bike coaching sessions really allow you to gain or consolidate the key skills to enjoy your riding all delivered by our British Cycling qualified coaching staff, in the beautiful Wye Valley and surrounding areas 

The Group Shelter – Just as important as your First Aid Kit?

Two group shelters both fit 8 people….. which one will you always carry as a Mountain Bike Leader?

Working as a commercial mountain guide requires you to carry some essential equipment as we have a duty of care to our clients. Carrying a well equipped first aid kit as a Guide is obvious, but over recent times, opinions on the group shelter or KISO (Karrimor Instructor Survival Unit – who remembers them?) have been conflicted on whether they are needed or not.

Emergency group shelters should be carried, but who uses their emergency shelter for sheltering from the wind, having a cuppa during a ride, or even doing some trailside repairs?  The word emergency sounds a bit harsh and over egged, we prefer the title of group shelter, and we use ours on a daily basis.

Over the years, group shelters have become more common place in the mountain bike leadership world, with better manufacturing techniques, well designed fabrics,  and reasonable price levels have seen an increase and a change in views that a Mountain Bike Leader should be carrying a group shelter

In the Winter of 2018, WyeMTB were introduced to a Welsh company called ‘Summit Gear’, their Supalite Bothy bag, is a real game changer. Their group shelters have taken all the great elements of the original KISO shelter, but striped out all the non-essential parts, but has retained some key features, ripstop silicone fabric, double sewed material, vent and life time guarantee. The icing on the cake, the shelter weight 320gs and has an insane packdown size, which is around the size of your fist for a good size 6-8 person shelter. We have had 8 adults on ours on a regular basis!

Whatever your choice in group shelter, don’t just leave it collecting crumbs in the bottom of your rucksack, get it out and use it!

 

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