Biking with the Best

Harvey (Y12) reports on the Mountain Bike Instructor Award Scheme course given by racer and instructor Ben Deakin, also known as “The Deakinator”,  to some lucky Clayesmore Senior pupils:

On the weekend of 11 – 12 November, Ben Deakin, a professional mountain biker and local hero who competes in top level events such as Redbull Rampage, came to to deliver the MIAS Level 1 course. This course enables the successful candidates to lead mountain bike groups ensuring that they are safe, use good techniques to improve and develop their riding, and have fun on their bikes. We started off by getting straight outside with the bikes. Ben showed us the essential bike checks, as well as the basic skills in teaching progression on a bike before setting out on trails. This was a thorough way of checking the bikes to ensure that they were safe to ride – something I will do whenever I use my own bike from now on. We also learnt how to teach some basic bike skills: Ben gave us a rundown on how to descend properly, as well as pumping and carrying speed. 

On Sunday morning, Ben had us changing tires and performing basic maintenance on a bike. After this we set out to Hambledon Hill. We started pretty quietly, but gained confidence as the day progressed, and at the end of the day everyone was confident in teaching basic skills to the whole group. When cycling through the fields to Hambledon, the weather decided to turn bad and we all got soaked. Once the shower had passed and we had dried off, however, we began the long climb up to Hambledon Hill. I can assure you that riding up Hambledon is harder than you think (especially for Mr Burton who worked up a sweat in the process). At certain points up the hill each of us would give lessons to others on how to descend, what gears to pick, or how to ride a berm (a narrow ledge along a slope). This in turn gave all of us the confidence to teach a lesson to younger children. After lunch on top of Hambledon Hill we set off down a very muddy and technical track, which everyone handled very well. This was followed by some steep descends in which Ben showed off a few a his skills to us.

When we got back to the classroom, the whole group was tested on the basic theory behind biking, and we all passed the Level 1 MIAS course. This was a great opportunity, as well as being great fun. We hope to get the fleet of school mountain bikes out and use the leadership skills that we gained with younger pupils at Clayesmore.