There’s a saying out there that reads, “Once you learn how to ride a bike, you never forget how.” Well, that’s a safe statement if you are riding a bike on a solid surface with no real turns, climbs, descents, drops, jumps and well—50-foot downhill rock gardens.

But chances are, if you are riding Cuyuna, the skills you need to sincerely enjoy the full Cuyuna experience will benefit from bike skills training. Trust us, it’s okay to ask for help! Whether you are a beginner or a veteran, everyone benefits from skills training.

Get to know our friends, Mari and Derrick of Sure Shift MTB. Mari and Derek represent two local Cuyuna riders who are Level 1 and Level II Certified Bike Instructors through the Bike Certified Instructor Program (BCIP). This is the same level of certification excellence that National Interscholastic Cycling Association (NICA) requires of their instructor trainers. Not only do they know our trails, they know the right bike skills to make the most of every inch of our trails.

Sure Shift MTB Level 1 Training includes basic skills on the mountain bicycle. We suggest this as the first step for anyone who wants to ride or is currently riding. Why? Because it’s amazing how easily bad habits form and become the new default setting without even knowing it. Sure Shift MTB Level 2 Training builds on the bedrock of Level 1 and grows into wheel lifts, high-speed cornering, drops, and quite a bit more.

Visualizing Cuyuna’s single track—our first 25 miles of trail are best enjoyed with a prescription for Level 1 Training. When considering our next 25 miles of trail (think Cruser’s Kettle, Winze, and Drawpoint), Level 2 helps you, as a cyclist, to understand what your body position allows your bike to do and what your bike was designed to do on these types of features and obstacles.

Speaking personally, after our first session with Sure Shift MTB, we rode rock features and drops with much greater success and confidence. We understood how to approach the feature and how to place our body in the right position to successfully navigate over the rock garden or rock drop. Before the session, we just kind of plowed our way through the feature.

(As a side note, with our new trails of Sinter and Sledgehammer, we’re thinking Level 3 training will be our next request, as Level 3 begins to include skills training on managing big drops. And when you see Sinter, you’ll know what we mean!)

Whether you plan to keep your bike on Galloping Goose or let it loose on a more expert trail, a bike skills lesson with Sure Shift MTB is exactly what Dr. Cuyuna prescribes. Sure Shift MTB provides private lessons or lessons as a group of friends. Join us in getting skilled this summer! You’ll spin away with a smile on your face knowing you are going to be more successful, safe, and confident every time you shred Cuyuna’s red. (And wherever else you ride!)

P.S. When it comes to instructors, Derrick and Mari couldn’t be any more nice, peaceful, helpful, and easy to understand. I (Aaron) wish my high school hockey coaches were more like this! Do it, right now. Go! Contact Sure Shift MTB. (Did you do it yet?)