Monday, 31 October 2016

'Wheelie School' with Inch Perfect Trials

Lucy wanted to have a trials lesson and found that Inch Perfect Trials near Clitheroe were running some half day sessions for £40.00 each, we checked the dates and a lovely Sunday in October matched up so off we went!

I'd previously been to one of their solo training sessions and got a lot of out it, improving my riding and some of my skills no end, so it was good to see how the whole group got on over the afternoon.

We arrived early as there are lots of road closures around that area at the moment and we wanted to make sure we didn't miss out on time. This allowed us time to look around the place and at the toys in the shop before having a nice lunch which was included in the price.

Our group turned out to be 4 folk, Liam on his 2014 Beta 125, (a 14 year old lad who is going to be a fab little rider when he's older), Nick, a retired member of the North Yorks TRF on his Gas Gas Randonne, a 150 cc trials bike that can be used on the road too, then Lucy & I.

Our instructor for the day was Tom, a relaxed Yorkshire lad, who was clearly very good on a trials bike and although quiet was pretty good at picking up on what we were each doing and offering suitable advice at all levels.

The training was set up in staged processes,
1. Lift the front wheel
2. Lift it higher in a higher gear, 2nd, then 3rd, then 4th...
3. Lift the front wheel and try to hold it for some distance
4. All of the above plus use the back brake to help hold the balance point.
5. Sit down and wheelie for ever!

Tom chose a long open uphill facing section of a field for the training as this made things easier and less intimidating, then explained the principles of compressing the suspension and using the throttle to loft the front wheel. Some may find it easier to start with slipping the clutch, but over time it's not necessary really as body position and throttle control are more important.

We all had lots of practise at this, Lucy went from not able to do it at all to getting the front wheel about a foot off the ground. She is relentless once she starts to practise something and easily did more than the rest of us until she had got it sorted! I can see a stock of head bearings and plastics needed before long! ;-)

Liam was the best of us, he soon had the most of the process sorted and was off up the hill doing ever longer wheelies by the end of the afternoon, youth and fearlessness clearly played a part here!

Nick had a hard time on his bike, the geometry is that of a trials bike but the TTR engine is more suited for trails than stunts, still by the end of lots of practise he could loft the front wheel to the same level as Lucy. More time and practise needed there.

Lucy got her front wheel up plenty of times, her body position was apparently near perfect, but she lacked conviction and power to hold it for any distance, so more time and practice needed for her.

I have practised the whole thing quite a bit so didn't have any issues with the lofting the front wheel, for me it's my arms, I bend them and lean forward which is a really bad habit and makes the bike drop quickly as the weight is in the wrong place. I think I got it right a couple of times and it felt good, then the bike angle got the better of my brain and I was down again... Same as the rest more practise needed here!

After a break in the middle for cakes and a drink, we also headed down to one of the stream beds for a practise on an actual trials section, this again was Lucy's first attempt at one of these and after practically walking it the first time, she was soon up it in style... This is where Nick's bike shone through, it cruised up it and made all of it look really easy. Liam was really good, following Tom up one of the bigger tree rooted exit climbs and getting it sorted on his third attempt! Skills...

On whole another great little biking session and we now have an invite to go ride with the North Yorks TRF group on a bit of a reciprocal rideout deal, bonus!