It's always good to find out what previous clients thought of my skills courses, I take all feedback seriously and
listen to my cients to improve and streamline future courses. Luckily, I have had nothing but great feedback and have had the chance to meet and ride with some fantastic people. Read on to find out more...
Andrew 1-2-1 Summer evening skills course - Phillips Park & Clayton Vale - 08 05 13
Thanks for the fantastic skills coaching yesterday Mr Bowker! I can now get round a pump track without pedalling, and felt a big difference on the trails afterwards, you are genuinely a really good teacher! Awesome stuff. Thanks!
Anna & Karen Beginners Skills course - Hayfield - 14 04 13
I went out on my mountain bike Monday first proper ride since doing the beginners course. Got loads more confidence and control of my bike, attempted things that I would never have done before. Thanks!
1-2-1 Jumps/ Intermediate skills course at Gisburn Forest, with Harvey - 29 10 12
Our 13 year old son Harvey had a training day with Al a year ago (Oct 2011) at Lee Quarry where he learnt the basics. A year on of riding at every opportunity and even doing some trail building and he was ready for a more advanced day of training. This time Al suggested that we ride in Gisburn Forest where the Hope Lines trail gives good and varied training opportunities within quite a compact area. So on a cloudy October Monday morning we met up close to Gisburn Forest. Harvey particularly wanted to improve his jumping skills and so we started off on one of the fire roads where Al took Harvey through Manuals and Rear Wheel Lifts and Bunny Hops to make sure that his control of the bike was spot-on. This was quickly covered and off we went to the Hope Lines trail for a full day of table-tops and jumps at ever increasing speeds as skill and confidence grew. Al's enthusiasm and patience, together with his ability to explain and demonstrate the skills needed to really get the most out of the sport made sure that we had a brilliant day. The sun even came out for us when we stopped at a great cafe in Tosside for a well earned lunch which we ate outside on a nicely sheltered porch where we could enjoy the view. Back into the forest after lunch we spent the afternoon on the lower section of the trail where there is a great section of jumps with a push-up loop. We videoed some of the runs which was great for reviewing how the run had gone so that adjustments could be made on the next run. There was just time for a full run of the trail before we headed back to the cars as the light began to fade and it started to rain. All in all a brilliant day and we are already planning another day with Al in the spring to cover drop-offs......
1-2-1 Beginners skills course at Glentress, with Kate - 21 10 12
I can't recommend Al highly enough. I knew nothing (or at least very little) about MTB. Now I know the abbreviation, how to ride one down steep slopes without falling off and plenty of other things in between. It's amazing what you can learn in one day. At the start, I struggled turning corners. By the end, I managed a red route with some very steep descents, some wheelies up rocks (which strictly speaking have a more technical name) and lots of safety skills like emergency braking. I had no idea it could be so much fun and the day flew by. After six hours of riding, I felt really confident on the bike, had definitely got the bug and was thoroughly exhausted. A great day out - thanks Al for your great tuition. :)
1-2-1 Beginners skills course at Lee Quarry, with Cat - 30 06 12
Al is absolutely brilliant!!! Yesterday (30.06.12) I had my first MTB training course and I have learnt so many useful things. That useful, that today I won the 3rd prize for the ''Have-a-go Heroine'' category, Unbelievable, isn't it? Do not have any doubts about the money because what you learn is worth every penny! Al is a very charismatic person that will give you confidence and will always put a smile on your face!
I had so much fun! Thanks again, Al! You rock!!!
1-2-1 Intermediate skills course in Hayfield, High Peak with Dave - 27 05 12
My wife bought me a full day MTB training session with Al for my 50th Birthday. We met at Hayfield at 10am and headed for the fantastic tracks on the moorlands above the town. They are stunning...
I've been riding for 4 or 5 years and thought I knew how to handle a bike but Al pointed out lots of areas where I had scope to improve. These were primarily around my positioning on the bike, line choices, the use of manualling/wheelying to glide over obstacles, more effective techniques for climbing, 'canting' (when the risky business of digging your pedals into ruts is the alternative), drop-offs and generally making my riding more relaxed and within my control.
He also helped me set my bike up to best perform in the conditions (mainly air settings in the shock and forks).
After a great lunch in Hayfield and with batteries re-charged, we set off again and once on top of the hills practised much of what I had learned in the morning. Al uses video recording to monitor progress and play things back to you so you can actually see where you can make improvements and how it looks when you've made them.
We dropped back into Hayfield at 4.30 and despite the fact that the session was supposed to finish at 4 Al spent another 30 minutes with me in the Carpark until I was able to bunny hop. I was chuffed to eventually manage 3 bunny hops though I still have plenty to do before I can pull these off consistently well (I think I was just knackered by this time).
Al is a great tutor. Massive enthusiam for the job, understanding, focused on achieving improvement and he has a way of convincing you that you have the capability to do what he wants you to do (and then helping you to do it!). He's also entertaining and easy going and that helps a lot when you are spending all day with someone. His enthusiasm is best reflected in the fact that at 4.45 I had to ask him if we could call it a day (I think he would have had me practising bunny hops all night if I'd gone along with him!).
Early after the session I received an email summarising everything we had covered on the day and things I have to work on. It's specific, clear and easy to follow.
At the end of the day I was physically spent but took away some great learnings that I will undoubtedly be able to apply on my rideouts with my mates. I've no doubt I'll be a better mountain biker for it. I did sleep for a long time afterwards though (well I am 50......).
Beginner/ Intermediate skills course at Lee Quarry with Matt and Helen - 06 04 12
Thanks Al! For a fab afternoon, I was feeling the pain on saturday but well worth it! We can't wait to get out practicing our new skills woo woo!
Intermediate MTB Skills Course and XC training at Lee Quarry with Craig - 11 03 12
Craig was in training for the Whinlatter Mountain Bike Challenge at the end of March and wanted to boost his skills and race techniques:
"Thanks so much for a great day, I learnt so much, can't believe I didn't know any of this it's made me miles more confident, I've been ranting about it all week. I'll try and get as much practise as possible before the big day!"
Beginners MTB skills course at Lee Quarry - Jill, Paul, John and Kathryn - 26 02 12
We all had such a great day out. Started with the basics which we definitely needed, especially as we all had a different idea on how to actually brake!!! Did the pump track, tried to get a grip with manuals (Al was extremely patient), had ...a go at some drop offs which John and Kathryn managed with great style, well done you two and no one got wet as we did some balance logs across the water. We finished with a fantastic run back down to the cars at the end of the day. Thanks Al for all your patience, encouragement and giving us a fun and informative day out - Jill Whittaker
It was a fab day broken down into bite size chunks which worked well for me. Now looking forward to getting out on the trails with my new found confidence. Thanks for a brill day Al, John and I got such a lot out of it - Kathryn Rawlinson
‘What a great day we all had on our mountain bike skills course. From the moment I emailed to book the course, Al stayed in contact, finding out our riding history and the bikes we all had, which enabled him to put together a day that fitted all our abilities. We were given clear instructions on how to get to the venue, timings for the day and information about kit and food.
The day was instructed in a professional but really friendly manner with lots of laughs along the way. We learnt absolutely loads, starting at the basics which we all needed and then progressing at a pace which suited us, getting lots of encouragement and advice along the way.
After the course Al followed up with notes to remind us what we had done and how to go away and practice it all. We just need to spend time now practising!!! Thanks’
Paul and Jill Whittaker
The RAF's finest - Daz, Ian, Johnny and Tom - Picking up the pace Intermediate skills course -Lee Quarry - 03 12 11
Despite un-forecasted atrocious weather, Dale trails led by Al Bowker coached the RAF's finest.
Tom - "personally I learned important skills and techniques that have already proved invaluable, thanks Al"
Ian - "Enjoyed getting back to basicswhich allowed true progression throughout the day, air on the last run, cheers Al"
Johnny - "A brilliant course, used the skills learnt in practise with big smiles at Llandegla on the new run (Felicity 5)"
Daz- "Al was absolutely freezing but his enthusiasm for coaching was not dwindled. For anyone thinking of investing in a skills course "DO IT" It's an investment that will make your rides "Smiles Better". Al of Dale rails is able to individually tailor the coaching to enable each participqant to maximise their learning capability.
A massive Thank You from the Lads of the Royal Air Force (FOY MTB Crew)
Mel, Joy and Karen - Tyre side down beginners skills course -
The course was very informative on controlling one's bike in various situations. The venue provided us with obtainable goals throughout the day, so giving us confidence to try all sections. We also appreciated Al's relaxed instruction. The biggest complement about the day is that every spare minute we have is spent on our bikes practising. We have also been to Coed Llandegla forest... I think we've got the bug!
The Magner Family - Tyre side down beginners skills course - Hayfield
After the skills course I finally managed to ride some stoney downhill single-track the other night that I definitely would have been struggling on before the course...progress has been made! - Paul Magner
Could I have some another chocolate brownie please? - Patrick Magner
Milton and Rueben - Picking up the pace intermediate skills course - Hayfield
I really enjoyed going to Hayfield with you, it was very fun. Thanks for teaching me how to do bunny hops, it
really helped me by breaking it down into five steps. I have almost got them but need a bit more practice.
The tips you have given me I have been putting into practice and they have been helping me with my rides.
My manuals I can do and every time I see a puddle I manual it! Thanks to you me and Milton now make a competition of it. You have really helped me to improve my confidence. Hope to see you soon for another ride!
Thanks for taking me on your skills session to Hayfield. I thoroughly enjoyed the day and the venue you choose was great. It was very enjoyable but quite challenging as I had never rode there before and it's not the type of
trail that I am used to. I learnt loads of new tips on how to read the trail and in choosing the best line to ride.
At the end of the day my confidence and style had improved greatly, I felt I was flowing down the trail.
We will be booking another course and would recommend you to anyone who wants a fun and exciting skills course, thank you.
Graham, Liz and Harvey - Tyre side down beginners & 1-2-1 skills course - Lee Quarry
Our 12 year old son is mad keen on mountain biking and we decided that he should have some proper training so that he can get the most out of the sport and hopefully avoid hurting himself too much. A search on the internet
led us to Al Bowker at "Daletrails".
Al designed a full day of training at Lee Quarry (Bacup, Lancs) which was absolutely brilliant. We started with how to do pre-ride safety checks on the bikes and then spent 20 minutes or so learning how to do controlled braking before heading up to the quarry. Al is a great teacher - full of enthusiasm patience and plenty of variation of trails and exercises to keep the day fresh and interesting.
Although we didn't need them it was also reassuring to know that he carries kit for just about any emergency in his rucksack, whether it be a bike breakdown, sudden change of weather or first aid. We wouldn't hesitate to recommend Al and will certainly be back ourselves.
Graham, Liz &Harvey Sturgess - October 2011.
And in Harvey's own words: