There are plenty of skills coaches out there, and many of them provide superb services. But Clive Forth is one man who knows his subject better than most and has the credentials to back it up. Having raced as a pro, ridden all over the world and run his own skills coaching company for years, we could think of no better coach to have on board here at Bike Magic.
In the coming months you will be treated to some top-level skills coaching by Clive himself right here on BM. Clive will teach you everything from ‘basic’ to ‘blow your mind’ in lessons that take on traditional and also Clive’s own contemporary teaching techniques.
For now may we let your very own professor of bike riding introduce himself.
Over to you, Clive:
“If you were around the UK race scene in the 80’s and early 90’s or you have graced the pit area of a 24hour race then you may just have heard of me, maybe we rubbed shoulders in the start gate of a marathon downhill race in the last several years? If not then your probably reading this wondering who the hell I am?
I cut my teeth in the Juvenile category back in 1987 at regional events before moving up to the Youth category competing in larger National events as they sprang up, a string of podium positions and consistent results gained me sponsorship from local bike shops back by distributors.
By the time I moved up into the Junior category a National downhill series had started, like many riders from that era (Steve Peat, Will Longden, JMC etc.) I would compete in the DH on the Saturday then the XC on the Sunday.
Organizers would also hold bunny hop comps and a dual slalom race on the Saturday evening; I gained quite a reputation in these events with multiple podiums in the dual. In 1994 I qualified to race the World Championships and went to Vail Colorado as a privateer.
Having just moved into the Senior/Elite category I relished the challenge of taking on the worlds fastest racers. Unfortunately I had two major dismounts in my DH run and finished 30 seconds behind winner Francois Gachet. My physical condition hindered my dual performance and I just missed out on the top 16 run off.
It was DH and dual slalom that gained me a place on the prestigious Volvo Cannondale team the following year. However, my blossoming career was overshadowed by the tragic loss of both my parents throughout this period and to add injury to the insult life had thrown me my 96 season ended with a crash that would put me out for two seasons.
I stopped racing for a few years after a big operation and just enjoyed riding with no agenda, it was throughout this period that I had time to take stock and conceptualize MTBSkills – my own company – and my future direction.
A close friend, Rob Lee, was having great success in long distance events, he invited me to join a mixed team for the Sleepless in the Saddle 24h event. I thought, why not? Team tactics were simple – ride and smile – we did just that and to our surprise we won!
My involvement with 12h and 24h grew as I took a place in the background of the Extreme Endurance Race Team headed up by Rob. We developed riders with potential and graced the podium of every major 12 and 24h race in the UK.
The racer in me cried out for a piece of the action so in 2004 I hit the road searching for podiums in the rapidly growing enduro and mass-start downhill scene. I continued to work with Rob in the following seasons and both he and Rich Rothwell went on to take World Champ titles in 24h.
Around this time I was getting more and more requests for tuition and coaching, although my success in the Masters category in DH and mass-start DH may have slowed business development, and I found that the insight I gained through racing on modern technology allowed me to develop a higher standard of product. Riders came to me knowing that the skills and techniques being taught are race proven, tried and tested.
Back in 2009 I was contacted by Bloomsbury Group Publishers and we struck a deal to produce a series of books, my first title The Mountain Bike Skills Manual was released in 2011 followed up by a pocket size guide in 2012. This spring will see the release of my third book, a guide to 50 trails across the UK.”
Clive rides for Transition Bikes backed by BOS, Kali, POW, Kore, MuleBar, Garmin, Mavic, Osprey and Surface Clothing.
All photo in this feature © Frazer Waller