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So you bought a shiny new mountain bike and headed right out on the red rock trails, and then quickly realized you were in over your head.

Scott Keller talks to students at his bike skills class on Sunday, Sept. 15, at the Bike and Bean bike shop in the Village of Oak Creek.Maybe you had a close encounter with a cactus or some spiny shrubbery, or maybe you went riding with your more-experienced friend and got dropped like a bad habit.

The bottom line is: You need to acquire some skills my friend.

Well, local mountain bikers Will Geurts and Scott Keller of Sedona Destination Adventures are here to help. Their mountain bike skills class is designed specifically for beginning riders wishing to become more confident riding on the challenging red rock trail system.

The class starts every Sunday morning at 9 a.m. at the Bike and Bean bike shop in the Village of Oak Creek.

Geurts, who has lived in Sedona for more than 30 years, said he became aware of the need for such a class through conversations with several locals.

“There are a lot of people, primarily adults in the Sedona area, who I’ve spoken to over the years who want to try mountain biking, but they’re kind of afraid,” Geurts said. “So the primary reason we started doing it was to give adults some basic skills to be safe riding mountain bikes, basic riding skills and techniques that you need to have if you’re going to be out there on the trails.”

Part of the fear people have about mountain biking is getting stranded out on the trail, so Geurts said they also teach basic maintenance skills, like how to change a flat tire.

“Just basic things that people would be kind of nervous about — simple things that they don’t know, but once they know it makes it a lot easier,” he said.

Even those who are experienced road bikers can be less than confident when they get out on the trails, Geurts said, because mountain biking requires different techniques.

“The terrain, obviously, throws a lot more stuff at you, so you’ve got to have more tools in your bag,” he said. “Things like balance, positioning yourself properly on the bicycle, how to roll right through obstacles that you see regularly on trails — those are the skills we’re helping people with.”

Another “skill” the pair teaches has to do with being a good citizen on the trails.

“We really want people to be aware ... that there is a certain trail etiquette, and we really push the right way to behave on the trails,” Geurts said. “There are multiple trail users around here — equestrians, hikers and runners — so it’s really important that new people practice good etiquette.”

The classes start at the Bike and Bean where Geurts and Keller have a number of means, including cones and blocks, for students to practice on before the class heads out on the trails.

Geurts said that while the class consists mostly of beginners, they do get people who just want to improve on their existing skills.

“It’s just like anything, you might know stuff, but it’s easier to be coached when it’s not you coaching yourself,” Geurts said. “Sometimes people will come to just to brush up on a couple of little skills that they’ve gotten lazy with. So we do have what we call intermediates in there as well.”

Local mountain biker Simon Bosman, who teaches more advanced mountain biking techniques with his own company Simon Says, also helps out with the beginners classes from time to time Geurts said.

The classes are targeted primarily to locals and adults, Geurts said, because he and Keller are very interested in expanding the local mountain biking community. But they also are including visitors in the classes, and children are welcome to come enjoy the class as well.

Geurts said that the end goal of the class is to create social groups of riders that “spin” out of the class, and he said that is already starting to occur.

“The idea is that they come for however long they want to come for the class, and at some point they will start to go out on their own with some of these other people with a similar riding skill set and start to ride together,” he said. “It’s a lot of fun to ride with other people, and it’s really fun when you’re riding in a similar skill set.

“If you’re a beginner and you’re trying to ride with people who are really advanced it can be very frustrating and cause you to just give up right away. So the idea is we’re creating more social groups for people who are not necessarily interested in being crazy out there, just having fun.”

Geurts said that he and Keller started out with the idea of teaching the class for just a small block of time, but interest has been such that they are now considering offering the class year-round.

If you are interested in signing up for the class, contact Geurts at (928) 300-6288 or email at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. . Bikes are available for use or rental with a reservation.

For the full story, please see the Friday, Oct. 11, issue of the Sedona Red Rock News.

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