It’s a scenario most of us are all too familiar with. You wake up on your day off after an unsociably long working week. All you feel like you can muster is a weak legged walk to the fridge to scavenge whatever is in date, before collapsing on the sofa with laptop within finger distance for a Jeremy Kyle re-run marathon.
But you don’t.
You don’t, because riding is as rudimentary a part of your existence as sleeping, eating and working. It’s this same fundamental need for ride time that has fueled BikeCoach founder Matt Wakefield to transform minutes, hours and days in between draining shift work from hobby time into a living.
By day, you’d be forgiven for not recognizing the potential in Matt, 24 from Bedfordshire UK. But then, it’s not your average Senior Security Analyst that has a secret penchant for pulling whips airier than a packet of Angel Delight.
Out on the trails though, there is no mistake. The multiple Whistler seasonaire and trail manager at Astonhill is now available to help you achieve your riding dreams.
Read on for Matt’s take on backflips, why he chose coaching, and what makes the perfect trail.
How did Bikecoach start?
I did a couple seasons as a guide and instructor in Whistler Bike Park, loved coaching people and bringing out the best of their riding. When l returned to the UK to get a ‘real’ job, a few people asked for help with jumping and it went from there.
Why should people ride bikes?
Have you heard that life tip “do something that scares you everyday”? With bikes you can not only push your comfort zone, but be outside, meet new people, and get exercise at the same time.
What’s the difference between a good rider and a good coach?
A good rider is someone who can push their limits whilst having fun. A great rider can get knocked down, dust themselves off and try again. I think a good coach should have an analytical mindset with a lot of attention to detail, but most importantly be positive and able to inspire others. Riding and teaching are actually very different skill sets; a coach needs to least be able to demonstrate the concepts they are teaching, but being able to do backflips doesn’t automatically make you a good teacher.
What’s the advantage of doing a coaching course?
A coaching session is sort of a shortcut. Everyone who rides often will eventually reach a decent skill level through trial and error; coaching allows people to skip the errors and bad habits. Having good technique reduces the chance of crashes, builds stability, consistency and confidence.
Where do coaching sessions take place?
At the moment the local is spot is probably Woburn, it has a relaxed atmosphere, a short push up, the sand is grippy even when when wet and soft if you come off. The bonus is that if we need to we can create new features for coaching without going through detailed design work, planning applications and consultations.
Number 1 Protip?
Without getting into anything specific, when you are riding try to look up and focus one trail feature ahead to where you want to be. You’re buying your brain time, with a little longer to process the information and react you will feel as if you are moving slower, and are less likely to make rushed decisions.
Most inspirational trail?
I’ve found the trails that make people smile the most have flowy and progressive multi line features that combine drops jumps and berms. ‘Dirt Merchant’ in Whistler is a good example of this and something we took inspiration from when building ‘Surface to Air’ at Astonhill.
So what’s next?
Working shifts gives me time off in the week, so as volunteer Trail Manager at Astonhill, I’ll be working in partnership with cycling charities and the Forestry Commission to start work on a pump track and trail redesign project. Hopefully looking forward to working with the great people at the ‘Bull Track’, Swinley Forest, and Woburn to develop good progressive trails. Got a trip to Crankworx and the Alps in summer, some winter product testing and some coaching inbetween.
BikeCoach offer various Mountain Bike coaching events in the South East of England, offering full day, and half day training, as well as group deals or 1 to 1 tuition.