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Grim's Blog

Riding with Skygod

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Having entered the Exeter Trial I thought it may be a good idea to get some experience of offroad riding, since apart from a few C90 enduro races a few years ago it is nearly 20 years since I rode in an offroad race. I had read a few mentions on this forum of people who had gone out with' 'Skygod' - otherwise known as Gary Pitchford, the MD of the Adventure Bike Warehouse in Manchester. I also found out he takes people out on his own fleet of CRF250Ls which meant I would be riding the same bike - perfect!

Less perfect was the weather on the day - Monday 28th October being the day of the BIG STORM. Fortunately it was only BIG in the south and seemed unlikely to affect the Midlands and Peak District very much, although the spray from the lorries on the M6 after I set off from home was pretty bad. It took me just over an hour and a half on the GS to get to Cressbrook where I met Gary and the other two trainees. After introductions and a chat about the day the three of us were given the keys to a fairly new CRF and followed Gary on his KTM to the old quarry car park which was to be our base for the morning.

We spent the next three hours learning and practising a range of low speed skills, from how to pick up the bike, to getting on and off in a range of situations, standing on the bike, changing direction by moving your weight around, to low speed manoeuvring and tackling obstacles. Gary's instruction was excellent, very clear with plenty of explanation and examples and he made sure we each mastered each skill before moving on. There were definitely a number of things I learned which I wouldn't have tried before, including riding over a car tyre at 30mph! All this too place in the pouring rain but we all still kept our interest and focus.

The sun came out as we moved on to a gravel track the other side of the quarry for the next series of lessons, including making U-turns (we ended up dong a lot through the day!), to braking using front and rear brakes separately, and then making turns on different cambers and surfaces. One of the most useful elements of the day was being able to practise several times the same skills under Gary's watchful eye and with his feedback.

After lunch in a local café we spent another hour or so practising high speed cornering, then ascents and descents and hillstarts - again on a variety of surfaces and gradients before spending the last few hours riding a number of green lanes in the area.
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  1. Tinytim's Avatar
    Well Grim. This blog didn't last very long either. Pity. ;-)

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