Who are Techy Riders?

Melissa faking a crash

There are lots of ways to enjoy riding bikes in the woods, and they are all great, but Techy Riders are mountain bikers that enjoy the challenge of riding natural or man-made features on trails that require bike skills to ride. What makes us different is that technical trail features and skills are a focus, not an obstacle in the way of getting from point A to B as quickly as possible. TTF's are the destination on a ride. There is no application or secret handshake, if you like practicing technical features and bike skills, we invite you to come ride with us.

Rides are typically more casual in nature (low heart rate, chatty pace). “Sessioning” refers to stopping to practice a particular TTF or skill along the way, with riders of varying abilities helping each other with skills, as spotters, or simply cheering each other on.

Our rides are not coaching classes. While coaches do a great job at teaching everything from fundamentals to advanced skills, Techy Rides allow riders to practice and hone those learned skills in a group ride format. While it is common for more advanced riders to give advice on how to perform a skill to clear a section or obstacle, this advice is a matter of individual experience or opinion, and not necessarily “correct” advice, and therefore not a substitute for quality coaching.

How did Techy Riders start?

Rob drawing chalk lines on rocks

When I was cutting my teeth mountain biking, we had a small group of friends that enjoyed trying to figure out how to ride over sections of technical trails and technical features. We would spend our rides “sessioning” features working on lines and skills, advising and teasing each other while celebrating victories. As our skills improved and the terrain began to change, we found ourselves riding faster...and in many cases riding faster means finding the smoother line...making line choices that avoid technical obstacles to either stay in front or catch up to the faster guys. And it wasn't just us. Larger group rides started becoming more popular in our area and as I mingled with other riders, I discovered they didn't even recognize many things as technical features and had never taken the time to practice and develop the skills to ride them.

So I started special group rides called “Technical Support Sessions” where the focus was slowing down the pace and stopping to session, or practice, the technical trail features we have on the trails we ride most often. We have great technical trails in Richmond, VA, and many riders would have certain sections that would hang them up with no time to practice on a fast paced ride. The great thing about slowing the pace is all levels of riders can ride together, and enjoy each other's company. It helped take local group rides from small groups of 5 or 6, to upwards of 40 people on a group ride, all riding together and learning from each other. Newer or novice riders could watch more advance riders do their thing, or crash trying. Either way, we had fun in the woods together on bikes.

Carl sporting a Spilly bracelet

We all know that this sport has inherent risk, and crashes do happen, but we do our best to make that aspect “fun” by awarding a “Spilly Award” to the best crash during a techy ride. To qualify you must get hurt, not injured. Not only do riders get bragging rights and a good story to tell, they also get a hospital Fall Risk bracelet to place on their handlebars. It is a badge of honor among techies.

Eventually that led to the Techy Riders Social Club, an awesome group of friends or soon-to-be-friends on Facebook where we can goof off and talk techy when we are not out riding our bikes, and a great way to organize and announce our future outings.

Where is it going?

I would like to see Techy Rider Social Clubs pop up across the country, if only for the opportunity to ride with other techies and making new friends when we take field trips out of the area...LOL...but it is simply a fun way to ride and develop a sense of community with other mountain bikers, and I would like more biking communities to experience it.

I hope that we keep technical features, and those that enjoy riding them, in a positive light and progressive in nature. I love helping riders develop skills that makes their riding safer, keep trails healthier, and makes riding more fun. I hope that a fun and social atmosphere inspires them to want to give back to our community of riders with their time, talents, and treasures...whether that is helping their local trail crew and volunteers with digging and maintaining trail, their local advocacy group with their efforts, or just being an awesome example and help to new riders coming into the fold. It all starts with a great ride, however you like to do it.

Scavenger hunt after party