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Sombrio 2016 Women’s Range

Sombrio 2016 women's range available from Flow MTB
I’ve long been a fan of Sombrio and have been wearing their clothing since I first discovered them in the bike shop in Glentress long before the new visitor center opened. They were one of the first brands to provide high performance riding apparel for women that wasn’t tight fitting and their shorts have always been that little bit longer than other brands.
I’ve been wearing the Marimba jacket since it arrived in March and I love it, it’s nice enough to wear both on and off the trails. It’s windproof and also has a DWR (durable water repellent) coating to prevent it from becoming saturated with water and I’ve worn it on trail rides throughout the spring without becoming over-heated. I put this jacket to the full test on a muddy day at Bikepark Brandnertal and it kept me clean and dry underneath, a wash down with the hose and a rinse through the washing machine and thankfully it was looking as good as new. The design on this and the Pedigree jersey is a lovely floral print.
The Pedigree jersey is a really nice breathable riding jersey. The fabric is soft and silky with a comfy loose fit. Personally I prefer 3/4 sleeve jerseys as they take me from trail rides to downhill days and the fit is loose enough to fit my elbow pads underneath, so a perfect jersey for me. Here’s a customer review of the Pedigree jersey

The V’al shorts are Sombrio’s best seller but I decided to put the Summit shorts to the test. I went for the black but they also come in royal plum too. These shorts are a light weight summer short and like the Marimba jacket they also have a DWR coating. The inseam is 13″ so long enough to reach my knees. There are 2 front zip pockets one of which also has a lift pass holder, ideal for summer trips to the mountains and a rear zip and flap pocket. The Velcro adjusters on the waist are ideal when you need to make adjustments for body armour. I also liked the small detail of the shaped side hem.

The Lily gloves bring a little bit of fun to your ride with the mustache and lips silicon grips on the braking fingers. These gloves have no gel pads and with the seamless palms you can easily forget you’re even wearing gloves. I really liked the cuff-less design.

You’ve seen what we thought of the Sombrio 2016 kit, now we’re giving one lucky winner the chance to WIN some amazing kit for themselves.

Products on test:
Marimba jacket – Black floral print
Pedigree jersey – Black floral print
Summit shorts – Black
Lily gloves – Black
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Ladies MTB Skills Course July 2016

MTB Instruction and Flow MTB ladies MTB skills course

MTB Instruction are now taking bookings for their Ladies Skills Day taking place on the 2nd July 2016 in Woburn, Bedfordshire.

The course will cover:

  • body position and bike dynamics
  • brake modulation
  • confidence at speed; learn how to alter your perception of speed and ride faster
  • dealing with trail obstacles; how to get over, through and up things
  • cornering techniques; from switchbacks to flat corners and berms

The course runs from 9am to 3pm and costs £70 per person. Please email info@mtbinstruction.co.uk to book your place or find out more.

This course is being sponsored by Flow MTB so in addition to a great day’s coaching you’ll also get a free Flow goodie bag.

All the skills you learn in the morning will take you seamlessly into riding natural trail sections with some flow, putting the core skills into practice and building your confidence on the bike to push just that little bit harder and enjoy your ride. #findyourflow

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Ladies MTB Skills Course June 2016

Flow MTB Ladies MTB Skills Day

MTB Instruction are now taking bookings for their Ladies Skills Day taking place on the 11th June 2016 in Woburn, Bedfordshire.

The course will cover:

  • body position and bike dynamics
  • brake modulation
  • confidence at speed; learn how to alter your perception of speed and ride faster
  • dealing with trail obstacles; how to get over, through and up things
  • cornering techniques; from switchbacks to flat corners and berms

The course runs from 9am to 3pm and costs £70 per person. Please email info@mtbinstruction.co.uk to book your place or find out more.

This course is being sponsored by Flow MTB so in addition to a great day’s coaching you’ll also get a free Flow goodie bag.

All the skills you learn in the morning will take you seamlessly into riding natural trail sections with some flow, putting the core skills into practice and building your confidence on the bike to push just that little bit harder and enjoy your ride. #findyourflow

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Finding our Flow in Slovenia

Slovenia Ladies MTB Wooden Bridge across Soca River

I was lucky enough to be part of an organized ladies MTB trip to Slovenia. The trip was organised by the lovely Catherine of H&I Adventures and being the one who usually organises all our social rides I was happy to take a back seat and let someone else do all the hard work. There were 6 of us in our group; Audrey, Catherine and Karen who’d had an early start flying down from Edinburgh to meet Alison, Nikki and myself at Stansted airport.

Day 1 – Mountains, Lake and Cake

As our flight approached Ljubljana and the mountains came into view I could feel the excitement build within the group and as we disembarked there were six extremely excited faces. Our guides for the weekend were Danijel and Marko who met us at the airport and their enthusiasm to help from the moment we arrived was superb. With the van loaded our first port of call was to stop off at a local bike shop and build our bikes. With the bikes built we started our journey from Ljubljana to Bovec stopping off for a sunny walk at Lake Bled and some traditional Slovenian cake Kremna Rezina (Bled Cream Cake). With legs stretched we continued our journey to Bovec.

On arrival at our hotel in Bovec we were greeted with a welcome drink and shown to our rooms to drop off our bags and head out to dinner in a traditional Slovenian restaurant where we were served local foods and wines.

Day 2 – Singletrack, Leaves and Wine

As we’d arrived late the night before we had no appreciation of the views that would greet us in the morning, wow the snow-capped mountains looked spectacular!

After breakfast we piled into the van and drove to just within the Italian border.  Our ride started with a long climb up an old Italian road, some parts with snow, that peaked into alpine pastures where we had some amazing views over the whole of the Julian Alps. After a break for lunch we started our 15km descent. I had no expectations about what the descent would be like but it was fun fun fun! Starting out from the alpine pastures into crocus lined trails and down into the woodlands to singletrack where it was evident these trails are not well ridden by the amount of leaves on the trail, it had everything; fast flowing singletrack, switchbacks, roots, rocks, drops. I loved it and so did my bike, it just wanted to go faster and faster.

After the descent we cycled to a local village for refreshments before heading off to cycle along the banks of the emerald Soca river, across wooden bridges and our last trail for the day that lead us down to Kobarid. Tonight’s accommodation was at Hiša Franko a lovely countryside house with the most amazing food. Cooked by Ana we had the 4 course taster menu along with 4 different bottles of wine! Every course was made from local fresh produce, presented beautifully and tasted divine.  We were event treated to a guided tour of their wine cellar and cheese store.

Day 3 – Lush Trails, Singletrack and Wine

I think it’s safe to say that after yesterday’s full day in the saddle bums where a little sore as we started off on a 16km trail of lush green singletrack alongside the Soca river and into local woodlands. After some hot drinks and a snack we headed up the mountain to some newly discovered natural trails with lots of technical features and really tight switchbacks but fortunately no where near as many leaves as the day before! From the descent we headed back to Hiša Franko just as the rain clouds burst to load the van and set off to our next stopover at Medana in the wine region.

On arrival it was time to shower and head to the garden terrace to take in the scenic views of the wine region, sample their orange wine (the wine is made using the skins as well giving it a distinctive orange color), consume more culinary delights and another visit to a wine cellar.

Day 4 – From the Mountains to the Coast

After breakfast it was time to leave the wine region and head for the coast. Today’s MTB adventure started at the foot of the coastal mountain of Slavnik. From here we climbed to the summit hut at 1,028m where Cat was actually blown off her bike! The hut made a welcome break from the wind and we warmed up on traditional Slovenian soup and  gnocchi.  Back into the wind we started our final descent starting with free flowing singletrack that became more and more rocky as we descended, but still with great flow. At the foot of the mountain we weaved our way back through the village to the van.

Disappointment that the biking part of our trip was over was soon forgotten as we drove into the beautiful seaside town of Piran and admired the views across the Adriatic sea. A quick coffee stop turned into a wine stop before we headed back full circle to Ljubljana.

Day 5 – Ljubljana

As our flight back to Stansted wasn’t until mid-afternoon we had the morning to mooch around Ljubljana. This city is ideally situated, 1 hour from the mountains and 1 hour from the sea. It’s also one of Europe’s greenest capitals and the old town is graced with beautiful buildings and architecture. The morning’s adventure took in the Prešeren square, Three Bridges, the open air market that sold an abundance of flowers, fruit and vegetables, a walk up to the castle for a final view of the mountains and lunch alongside the Ljubljanica river.

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Ladies Uplift Morning at Bike Park Wales

Ladies MTB Uplift Morning at Bike Park Wales

I regularly see events on the MTB Diva’s Facebook page for ladies to get together and ride socially in Wales and when I saw the uplift morning at Bike Park Wales (BPW) was organised for a Wednesday, my day off, I booked my uplift ticket! Having been to BPW a couple of times before I knew I’d be in for a fun day on the trails only this time I’d get to spend it with a group of like minded ladies rather than with the guys I usually ride with.

For me it was an early start, the alarm went off at 5.30 am and I was in the van by 6 heading off on my 3 hour journey from Milton Keynes. Arriving at BPW just before 9am to glorious sunshine there were already a few ladies there so I made my way over to say hello. Some of the ladies had met before and already knew each other and even though I didn’t know anyone that didn’t matter as they were all so friendly and I now have some new biking buddies! Time for a quick group photo and we were off to catch the first uplift.

There was lots of chatter and excitement as we went up the hill and we decided to get everyone warmed up we’d all go down the blue runs first – Sixtapod, Willy Waver and Melted Welly. These were familiar trails to me so I was happy to just let the bike go and have as much fun on the way down as I could.

Run 1 down, which one next? A few of us were keen to try the new HotStepper line. To get to this trail you start with the top section of Terry’s Belly down to the fire road then pick up HotStepper. The trail begins with a rock slab drop and quickly enters a narrow flowing section of singletrack. Next you hit a rock garden with three different line choices allowing you to drop, jump and bump your way through. The trail then rejoins Terry’s Belly before splitting again onto a hand cut root fest followed by a series of slab drops, some more tight woods and finally, a dash through the ancient woodland at the bottom.

Run 3 was Vicious Valley into the A470 which starts out with tight wooded singletrack before bursting into the open with rollers, tabletops, step-ups, step-downs and we all got some airtime. We finished the descent on one of my favorites (there’s no rock gardens where I ride) Rim Dinger – don’t you just love the trail names!

Run 4 and we fancied another blast down the blues just because they’re so much fun and proof of this showed on my Strava with plenty of personal bests 🙂

Knowing run 5 would be our last run we decided on Terry’s Belly and HotStepper again being the longest run at the park. Being the second run down I felt much more relaxed taking on HotStepper and hit the drops with much more confidence and before I knew it we were already at the end of the trail and the long pedal back up to the cafe where it was time for a nice cup of tea, cake and some more chatter!

I think the morning worked really well, the group split itself easily into similar riding abilities and those more experienced than me encouraged me down sections I probably wouldn’t have done, thanks Stacey! The uplift guys were really helpful and though on the first uplift we were all really keen to get our bikes on ourselves but by run 5 we were quite happy for them to load the bikes for us.

Big thanks to Helen Matravers for organising, Sarah Wakefield for promoting and Kat Chaplin for the photo. I hope to see some of you again soon and looking forward to the next uplift event, it was awesome.

Anita

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Slippery When Wet

Aston Hill Dakine 100% Goggles Flow MTB Instruction

Aston Hill for me is always a challenge; it’s steep, technical, rooty and has some features I won’t even attempt.  As we drove over on Good Friday the sun was shining and I was looking forward to some skills sessions in the park stupidly forgetting the heavy downpour from the night before.  Aston Hill in the wet is slippery, really slippery, so slippery I fell over pushing my bike up the hill!

Ever since I crashed in Les Gets and cracked my ribs on a set of banked berms I’ve struggled with them mentally and there are two berms at Aston Hill that have become a nemesis for me. They’re steep, banked and chalky. To try and overcome my fear I had Mark from MTB Instruction with me and had set him the challenge of getting me around the berms. Prior to the berms we’d had slippery roots and slippery mud but now as I faced the wet chalky berms I was starting to wonder how MTB had become my chosen sport! But hey, I love a challenge and fortunately Mark came with lots of patience and after many failed attempts and lots of encouragement I finally made it round the berms.

Mark took lots of photos throughout the day so he could review my technique with me. My recommendation of the day; wear 100% goggles with tinted lenses, they hide the look of fear in your eyes.

100% Accuri goggles, Dakine Mode shorts, Dakine Aura Glove, Dakine Xena 3/4 sleeve jersey

#flowmtbapparel, #ride100%, #dakine, #ridelikeagirl, #MTBInstruction

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MTB Instruction and Flow MTB

Flow MTB sponsor MTB Instruction's women's specific courses

Flow MTB are pleased to announce we will be sponsoring the women’s specific mountain bike courses run by MTB Instruction. Their courses are available for beginners right through to advanced riders who want to push their skills to the next level and when you book onto one of their women’s specific courses you’ll get a FREE Flow goodie bag.

We spoke to Mark at MTB Instruction about his women’s specific courses

We meet lots of women who are happy to venture off road but become uncomfortable when things become steep, technical or gnarly. We’ll teach you the physical skills required in controlling your bike in any situation and you’ll also learn how to think about your riding. By the end of the course you’ll be feeling confident on your bike and gain the ability to ride your bike and not just be a passenger on it.

Here’s some of the skills and techniques you’ll learn on one of their women’s specific mountain bike courses:

  • correct bike set up
  • body position and bike dynamics
  • brake modulation
  • confidence at speed; learn how to alter your perception of speed and ride faster
  • dealing with trail obstacles; how to get over, through and up things
  • cornering techniques; from switchbacks to fast flat corners and berms
  • getting your wheels off the ground
  • drops, steps and jumps

Find out more about their courses on their website www.mtbinstruction.co.uk  or email Mark at mrspesh@gmail.com

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New Kit and New Bike Day

Flow MTB ION Product Review

Not only was it new kit day it was also new bike day, what more could a girl ask for! With the purple “bling-tastic” Meta AM loaded it was an early start as we set off on our journey to the Forest of Dean and as the sun started warming the morning haze away I knew we’d be in for an amazing day.

As we started unloading the van I could see the girl next to us checking us out. Was it my husband or the shiny new bike she was admiring? Neither, it was the ION cerise pink shorts!

Warming up on the Verderer’s trail was familiar territory. I love this trail, non-techy climbs and fast flowing descents. The new bike felt great and the larger wheel size and 11 speed cassette made the climbs easier; and I hate climbing! The ION kit felt good on the trails and the water repellent treatment on the shorts kept them from soaking up the unavoidable splashes.

After lunch we swapped to our DH lids and headed over to session the “Corkscrew”. The loose fit of the 3/4 sleeve ION jersey meant it fitted easily over my slightly bulky Fox elbow pads. The bike felt great over the technical trails and I didn’t want the day to end, but end it did and we decided to finish off on a high octane whaaaa-hooo down “Launch Pad”.

The ION kit is one of the more expensive brands we sell but the technology that goes into their kit makes it worth the money. The kit looks good and fits really well and more importantly it felt good on the trails. The shorts are long enough to go over the top of knee pads, they didn’t catch on the saddle when getting back behind it for techy descents and they have a nice stretchy feel. The top was long enough at the back so I didn’t get any draughts up it and the high moisture wicking of the drirelease® kept me dry, cool and comfortable.

Bike 10/10 + Kit 10/10 = An awesome day on the trails and one very happy lady!

#IONProducts https://flowmtb.co.uk/brands/ion/

ION shorts, ION jersey, 100% gogglesDakine Aura Glove

#flowmtbapparel, #IONProducts, #ride100%, #ridelikeagirl, #MTBInstruction

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Flow – Have you found yours?

Flow MTB meet Rachel Atherton at The London Bike Show

The dawn of a new business always needs a catalyst, a spark to get things moving and for me it was the constant struggle to find MTB kit for women.  I love riding my bike, it’s my passion and I admit it I want to look good on the bike and wear clothing that fits me properly; clothing that’s made to fit a woman. Being small I can’t fit into small men’s gear which I know a lot of female riders do, but why should we?

I knew the brands I liked and I knew they made cool gear for ladies so why couldn’t I buy it? Every website I went to I’d filter for MTB and whilst I’d be presented with a long list of clothing as soon as I filtered for ladies the list would shrink to single figures. It’s the same when I go into a bike retail store, there’s always rows of men’s MTB apparel but go to the ladies section and its road clothing with a token gesture of MTB.  OK so the populous of our chosen sport whether that’s AM, enduro, downhill or freeride leans heavily towards men but the times are changing and the ladies MTB scene is growing year on year.

So in January 2016 I set off on my Flow MTB adventure.

With the brand concept drawn up it was time to network.  Having attended and joined various ladies events it was show time, well trade show time as I drove excitedly on a rain swept morning to “The Bike Place” at Silverstone. I had a list of brands I wanted to meet and it was a great feeling, and made it all seem real, as I chatted with Sombrio, ION and Flare about my exciting Flow plans.

The second trade show was The London Bike Show and this time I was armed with my new Flow t-shirt and business cards.  There was a good spread of everything bike related and I got to catch up with the Sombrio guys again and as I popped in to say Hi to Hannah from Flare I had the bonus of meeting one of my biking inspirations Rachel Atherton; oh to be able to ride like Rachel!

Trade show 3 was the IceBike event organised by our local distributor Madison. Prior to the event I had arranged to meet up with Craig from Decade as I also wanted to offer protection and Decade is the supplier for 100% and 7iDP.  Two hours of bike related chat later and I had the two brands on board.

With the trade shows attended, brand contacts made and the website in progress it was time to take the plunge, from April 2016 www.flowmtb.co.uk will be stocking women’s specific clothing, protection and accessories from: Dakine, ION, Sombrio, Raceface, Fox, 100%, 7iDP.

Flow, coming soon to a trail near you…