Your greatest upgrade… invest in you!

Mountain biking is a huge journey. It’s a constant discovery of what you can achieve, what you can learn, what you can climb and what you can handle. You can spend years slowly learning through trial, error and the occasional tumble, or you can invest in yourself as a mountain biker.

For beginners, expert coaching gives you a useful headstart into our fabulous sport. A coaching session sets you off in the right direction – giving you core off-road techniques that will enhance your enjoyment and your safety.

For experienced mountain bikers, regular check-ins with a skills coach bring solid improvement: correcting bad habits, finessing your technique and encouraging you to push your riding further.

There are two ways to begin your coaching journey with Marmalade: as a sociable open group experience, or as a private session for just you – or for you and your friends.

Group Coach and Ride

Our new group learning experiences provide a fun sociable way to learn new skills alongside other riders of a similar level. Coaching time is paired with time to ride and try out your news skills.

Private Coaching

1. New to mountain biking

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Level

1-3

1-3 coaching rating

Set yourself off in the right direction with our beginners’ mountain bike coaching course. Our coach will introduce you to the essential skills you need to be happy and safe off-road. After setting up your bike, you’ll learn about riding position, climbing, descending and cornering: the perfect intro to off-roading. With the foundation skills mastered, you’ll have the confidence you need to really enjoy our sport.

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2. Trailside repairs

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Level

1-9 (all levels)

1-9 coaching rating

Even a well-maintained mountain bike can develop small problems out on the trail. With the skills to fix simple mechanical problems, you can carry on enjoying your whole ride, so you won’t be faced with a long walk home should your bike develop an issue. We cover the skills you need to keep on riding: punctures, gear indexing, brake pad changes and broken chains. It’s easy once you know how.

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3. Trail fundamentals

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Level

2-5

2-5 coaching rating

Once you’ve mastered the basics, it’s time to really establish the core skills you need to really build your mountain biking experience. Our coach will work with you to build on early foundations and firm up your riding skills. You can look forward to more efficient climbing, enhanced confidence on descents – and the timing and poise to tackle tight corners and changing trail conditions.

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4. Cornering and flow

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Level

3-7

3-7 coaching rating

Any mountain biker knows there’s a difference between simply riding and really flowing through the trails. This intermediate level course helps you find that elusive flow. Learn how to breeze through corners and adapt seamlessly to changing trail conditions. This is the course for mountain bikers looking to really embrace their love of singletrack.

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5. Jumps and drops

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Level

5-9

5-9 coaching rating

There’s nothing quite like the feeling of clearing a jump – when your wheels gently leave the trail, then smoothly come back down to earth. The skills you need to handle jumps and drops are within your grasp. Our expert coach helps you build the confidence and bike handling to take trail obstacles in your stride. It’s the crucial next step for the biker making fast progress.

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6. eBike essentials

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Level

1-5

1-5 coaching rating

The arrival of e-bikes has further expanded the horizons of mountain biking. But these brilliant new machines call for their own set of skills. A Marmalade e-bike course equips you to make the most of your electrical assistance. You’ll learn how to use your wattage to your best advantage, and how to handle a heavier bike when the trail gets technical.

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7. Wheel lifts and manuals

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Level

3-7

3-7 coaching rating

Get to grips with the art of precisely lifting your front or rear wheel – and so many advanced trail techniques are opened up to you. Tricky climbs, technical singletrack and momentum-sucking obstacles are waiting to be conquered. And with the manual – the gold standard of MTB skills – you’re now an advanced rider.

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8. Extreme terrain skills

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Level

6-9

6-9 coaching rating

When it’s time to aim high and head for the mountains, you need the skills to back you up on your dream biking trip. By finessing your altitude skills on the Surrey Hills’ most challenging trails, you can set yourself up for the time of your life in Wales, Scotland, the Alps or the Rockies. Build your technical confidence close to home so you’re ready for whatever the big mountains can throw at you!

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Meet our expert coaches

Jim Barrow

Jim Barrow

MTB Leader and Coach

Jim’s two-wheeled journey began in the early 80s on a BMX, then progressed onto mountain bikes in the 90s. He fine-tuned his bike skills across the whole off-road racing spectrum: XC, enduro, endurance, cyclocross and BMX.

Having built this deep love of biking, Jim now devotes himself to sharing it with other riders, as an experienced leader and coach. And when he’s not mountain bike coaching or shredding in the woods, he’s camping in them – adding bikepacking to his enormous biking portfolio.

Jim guides Marmalade rides all over the UK – and is our skills coaching specialist and bikepacking expert. So whether you’re looking to finesse your trail technique or discover the joys of sleeping under the stars, Jim’s looking forward to riding with you.

 

Andy Pittson

Andy Pittson

MTB Leader and Coach

Andy spent most of his early days and his twenties as an accomplished climber – taking  him all over Europe. As mountain biking became more popular in the 90’s it wasn’t long before this adventurer was exploring the great outdoors with pedal power.

Swapping ropes for tyres, mountain biking became Andy’s new passion. Never one to turn down an exciting opportunity Andy headed off to southern Spain to work overseas as head guide for one of the world’s leading mountain bike holiday providers, where he spent seven amazing years delivering multi-level experiences for their global community.

These days Andy is settled with his family in the vibrant city of Brighton, and has been guiding and coaching for Marmalade since 2019. Andy still races enduro – keeping his bike-handling skills finely tuned.

Just like Jim, Andy boasts a wealth of UK wide and overseas experience and is passionate about sharing his knowledge to improve your skills.

 

What our riders say

My husband and I had a fabulous 2 hours coaching session with Jim in the Surrey hills. Jim’s calm, informative and professional manner meant we came away with loads of brilliant tips and much more confidence. His enthusiasm for having fun on the bike was infectious! Very easy organisation through Sean.

Catherine Camilleri – April, 2023

I’ve just had an excellent drops and jumps coaching session with Andy Pittson. I learnt a huge amount in just a 2 hour session.
Andy is a truly excellent coach, with a relaxed manner, very clear and understandable instructions and all tailored to the individual. Highly recommended.

Richard Mason – July, 2023

Thanks Jim for a great session – I developed my confidence in cornering and enjoyed learning how to tackle drop offs, which I’ll continue to practice. There was a good mix of skills coaching and trail riding, presented in a fun, clear and relaxed way. Highly recommend. Thanks again

Anna – May, 2023

Many thanks to the great Marmalade team for the amazing session – learnt a lot (many bad habits am now trying to unpick). Will definitely be coming back for round two!

Toby – February, 2023

Fantastic day with Andy in the Surrey Hills. The morning skills session was very valuable, and Andy had an encyclopaedic knowledge of all the trails which made for a very enjoyable afternoon ride

Jonathan Willis – August, 2021

General booking

(Choose a coaching session from the dropdown. Select Extras to create a session with multiple riders.)
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