Cawthron Scientists Swap Lab Coats for Helmets and Gloves
February 19, 2015
Here is a wee article I rode for the local newspaper.
The Cawthron Institute is well-known for their efforts to support healthy and active lifestyles among their employees. Last week, employees had the chance to take part in a free mountainbiking skills session to promote safety while out exercesing. Over 20 cyclists of all ages and abilities attended the one hour lunch-time seesion at Branford Park. Mountainbiking instructor and owner of Mountain Bike Skills Clinic, Chris Mildon, volunteered his time to pass on some of his extensive knowledge. “Learning to ride a bike is something we have all done at some stage in our lives”, says Mildon, “but learning to ride a bike in a safe way, and in a way that promotes confidence and security is something else entirely. Having a sound skills base is very important for safety reasons which will also open the doors to the pure fun and joy riding a bike off-road can give.” Although an hour wasn’t nearly enough time, most people felt the immediate benefits of a better body position on the bike for their balance and safety, especially for being safe when using the front brake. Brett Thompson, who only took up mountain biking a year ago, was especially excited to learn about the correct riding position and foot placement on the pedals which allowed for liberal use of the front brake. “I loved the skills course and I’ll definitely be seeing Chris for some more training – jumps and drops next!”, he said. People who mainly commute on-road gained just as much from these techniques as the remaining members of the group who ride off-road on a regular basis. “It was great, a complete change of approach for me”, says Emma Newcombe who has recently returned to mountain biking after many years. “It never would have occurred to me to focus so much on how to use my ankles and knees, but applying these basic tips really improved my riding”, she said. Francesa Harris, the mind behind Cawthron’s fitness iniative ‘The RACE’ enjoyed getting together with colleagues from all the different departments while learning to increase safety on two wheels. After all the excitement generated from the Bike Festival held earlier in the month, it was encoraging to see so many people keen to get out on their bikes and and enjoy what Nelson has to offer.