So you are thinking about doing some skills lessons?

Welcome. I am a mountain bike skills instructor and Retül bike fitter. Click here to jump to the Retül Fit FAQ.

If this is your first time, you are in for a real treat. A proper mountain bike lesson should deliver a truly fun and challenging set of experiences.

If you have been before, then welcome back. If it’s your first time, I very much look forward to helping you get back on the trail with confidence and flow.

Proper mountain biking, specifically, is so much more than just riding around on your bike. Beyond the mainstream lies a detailed world of understanding specific “on-the-bike skills” that allow you to perform trail manoeuvres with confidence and flow.

Getting it right unlocks levels of control, grip and speed that are just not possible with poor form!

Maybe you are signing up for your very first stage race and need help and advice on what to expect, or you have a fear of bridges. Perhaps you have never learnt how to ride a bike as a child and are too scared to ask. Maybe you just fitted a new aftermarket dropper post and just want to learn how to use it; that’s awesome.
I am here to help.

So, whether you are a beginner or an experienced rider, there is something in it for everyone. Over the years, I have helped hundreds of riders conquer their fears, get faster, get fitter, build confidence, and find the flow.

What makes a good MTB lesson?

Whether you’re a beginner or an experienced rider looking to hone your skills, A good mountain bike skills lesson should be well-structured, challenging, fun and cater to riders of different levels and abilities.

Mountain biking should be easy and fun, right?

Yes, mountain biking should be both easy and fun, but it’s important to clarify what “easy” means in this context. Mountain biking is a recreational activity and sport that is intended to be enjoyable and exhilarating. It allows riders to connect with nature, explore trails, challenge themselves, and experience the thrill of riding on various terrains. However, “easy” doesn’t necessarily mean it’s without challenges or effort.

Mountain biking can be physically demanding, and the difficulty level varies depending on the type of trails and terrain you choose to ride. Some trails are designed for beginners and are relatively easy to ride, while others are more technical and require advanced skills.

The key is to find the right balance between fun and challenge. It’s perfectly fine to push your boundaries and develop your skills as a rider. In fact, I can often be heard saying, “Skills before performance!”
As you gain experience, you’ll become more comfortable with the challenges that mountain biking presents. The sense of achievement and the joy of mastering new skills and conquering challenging trails can be immensely satisfying and add to the overall fun of the sport.

Ultimately, mountain biking is a versatile activity that can be as easy or as challenging as you make it, and the most important thing is to enjoy the ride while staying safe and respecting the environment and other trail users.


All lessons are typically performed at Holla Trails (I do travel) unless otherwise arranged.

Lessons are usually a minimum of 90min – up to 2.5/3 hours, depending on your time constraints. It can be more, and it can be less. I’m able to work around your time availability, and there is no time limit for a lesson.

A typical lesson will start with a short warm-up and then, based on what we are covering, ride a particular trail. We might repeat something specific, or it could be as simple as riding the trail from start to finish. There is always something to learn! There may be days when we slow things down and focus on low-speed momentum drills with cones or have a go at the pump track. Lessons are always capped off with a post-ride coffee and recap.
Week mornings are best if you can; otherwise, the weekends can be arranged. I recommend doing at least five sessions. It means we are not rushing through everything in 1 lesson.

I will work on fundamental bike skills, like body position, mechanical bike operation (like gearing) and visual and tactical skills like terrain awareness. These skills are translated into performing trail manoeuvres like cornering, negotiating a bridge or rocky surface, dropping off, etc. Understanding basic skills and correct techniques through sessioning builds confidence and makes you a safer and faster rider.

The only way to build confidence is with time and experience. No shortcuts! More height, a bigger drop or faster corners come with that confidence, and confidence comes with repetitions.

I am a PMBIA-certified (international qualification) and Tread Skills certified (local) instructor. Your safety is always a priority, and my classes are based on a skills progression programme that has been refined over the years. I must stress, however, that there is no magic potion, and the more you can come to lessons (this forces you to practice), the quicker you will learn!

Private one-on-one, two-on-one, or group lessons are available. Group lessons are capped at six riders unless otherwise arranged.

Where | When | How

Holla Trails

Monday to Saturday – By appointment | Book here

Summer start times:                  Winter start times:
From 6:00                                    From 8:00


*All bookings and payments are made upfront for all sessions.*

Rescheduled lessons are valid for up to a maximum of 5 weeks. Sessions have a 12-hour cancellation policy, or you will be charged; no exceptions.


In the last few years, several great improvements have happened to the modern mountain bike. Dropper posts are thankfully being specked as default, electronic drivetrains are everywhere, and E-bikes are popping up everywhere faster than you can say “pedal-assist” as people embrace their various modes of climbing speed! Whatever your chosen steed of choice is, OEM speck or aftermarket dropper, “clipless” (clip-in) pedals or flats, there is no discrimination here.

E-Bikes, 26ers, 29ers, all welcome.
I just ask that your bikes are in good working order.

There are two types of mountain bikers: those who have fallen and those who are going to fall. everyone is bound to experience a fall or crash at some point due to the inherent risks involved, such as challenging terrain, obstacles, and the need for skill and balance.

I always prefer and recommend long-finger gloves (even in KZN summer) as they will offer a little more protection in the event that you happen to fall.

A good-fitting mountain bike helmet is essential for your safety and comfort while riding. Your helmet should fit snugly but not be overly tight. It should sit level on your head and cover the top of your forehead without tilting backwards or forward. Spend as much money on the best helmet you can. It can and will save your life!

Mountain bike/cycling-specific eyewear. Eye protection is crucial when riding a mountain bike to shield your eyes from various hazards, such as debris, branches, mud, sun, and wind.

Proper cycling bib shorts! Wearing proper cycling bib shorts with moisture-wicking chamois offers several benefits for both comfort and performance. Yes, comfort comes from your bib shorts, not your saddle! PS, proper bib shorts have shoulder straps that keep them in place. You do not want them to move around. And if you have always wondered or been too scared to ask, no underwear to be worn underneath your bibs! If that’s you, stop. Reduced friction, moisture management, improved fit and good old plain hygiene. That’s why 🙂

A proper cycling jersey/shirt is designed with the specific needs of cyclists in mind and can significantly enhance your comfort and performance during rides. It has numerous benefits for both comfort and performance, something that is moisture-wicking, breaths well, and has 3 pockets rear pockets. Style is a personal preference, but full-length zipper shirts are more comfortable than quarter-length zipper shirts.

Rachet cycling shirts are available for order here.

A quick word about safety and trail etiquette

One of the main reasons I encourage weekday morning lessons is because the trails are generally quiet. This allows us to stop on a trail with minimal risk of inconveniencing other trail users or putting ourselves or them in danger. However, this does not mean we can do whatever we want on the trails! I will never force you to do anything you don’t want to do, but I might push your boundaries to get out of your comfort zone. You are here to learn and have fun.

Completing the Rachet.Bike Indemnity Form is compulsory for all riders.

Trail etiquette and safety are essential aspects of mountain biking while respecting the environment and other trail users. Here are some fundamental principles for trail etiquette and safety in mountain biking:

Ride open trails: Respect trail and road closures – ask a land manager for clarification if you are uncertain about the status of a trail. Do not trespass on private land—respect trail closures. Obtain permits or other authorisation as required.

Leave no trace: Be sensitive to the dirt beneath you. Wet and muddy trails are more vulnerable to damage than dry ones. When the trail is soft, consider other riding options. This also means staying on existing trails and not creating new ones. Don’t cut switchbacks.

Control your bicycle: Inattention for even a moment could put yourself and others at risk. Obey all bicycle regulations and recommendations, and ride within your limits.

Yield appropriately: Do your utmost to let your fellow trail users know you’re coming – a friendly greeting or bell ring is a good method. Try to anticipate other trail users as you ride around corners. Mountain bikers should yield to other non-motorised trail users unless the trail is clearly signed for bike-only travel. Mountain bikers travelling downhill should yield to ones headed uphill unless the trail is clearly signed for one-way or downhill-only traffic. In general, strive to make each pass a safe and courteous one.

Never scare animals: Animals are easily startled by an unannounced approach, a sudden movement or a loud noise. Give animals enough room and time to adjust to you. When passing horses, use special care and follow directions from the horseback riders (ask if uncertain).

Plan ahead: Know your equipment, your ability and the area in which you are riding and prepare accordingly. Strive to be self-sufficient: keep your equipment in good repair and carry necessary supplies for changes in weather or other conditions. Always wear a helmet and appropriate safety gear.

AND a word about prices

My prices are based on my talent and time……not your budget. 

In all seriousness, my prices are a direct reflection of the time and expertise I invest with you. I place a significant emphasis on honing my skills and continuously staying updated with industry standards and trends to ensure that I provide top-quality work. Instructing or my other services, like bike fitting, demands a considerable amount of my time, expertise, and attention to detail. When you invest in my services, you’re not just paying for a product or a service; you’re investing in the years of experience, knowledge, and dedication that I bring to the trail. This commitment is what allows me to deliver results that meet or exceed your expectations and ensure your success.

Great, that’s the intro done.

Occasionally, there may be an introductory coffee ride to assess your skill level and allow you to tell me what it is you are looking for. It is your lesson, after all. This may happen before your lesson or even on the day of your lesson if we have time.

Besides that, the only thing left to do is schedule a booking on my online booking system. The booking system will allow you to see when I am available on what day and at what time. Once you complete the short form and submit your booking, you will receive email and SMS notifications reminding you of your appointment. You can cancel or reschedule from these links.

Still trying to figure it out or have more questions? Give me a shout.

what’s next?

Make sure your bike and equipment are in good working order for your lesson. We don’t want to have to make trail-side repairs which will eat into precious riding time. Top up the sealant in your tyres (yes it drys out) make sure the dropper post (if you have one) fork and shock are working properly and make sure the brakes are working.

What to pack:
Helmet | Gloves | Sunglasses
Hydration (electro-light sports drink) | On the bike snacks (for longer sessions)

Schedule a lesson and see you at the trailhead!
Complete the Rachet.Bike Indemnity Form


Who is a bike fit for?

Bike fit is for everyone, not just the pros on the world tour. In fact, most amateur riders benefit more from a fit than a seasoned professional rider.

No matter your level of riding, comfort is crucial for sustaining time spent on the bike. The correct position keeps your body aligned on the bike, helping to prevent injuries. An optimal position not only increases comfort but also maximizes both power and endurance.


Why is bike fit so beneficial for everyone?

By Andrew Lerner- Conte’s Bike Shop

A bike is symmetrical; humans are not.
Most people have anatomical asymmetries, and these asymmetries manifest as discomfort on the bike. For example, many cyclists I fit have one leg that is longer than the other. This asymmetry can cause the knees to bow out on one side and not the other; as a result, cyclists often complain of knee pain or frustration with their inefficiency on the bike. Even more concerningly, their likelihood of injury is increased. A bike fitter’s goal is to adjust the bike to compensate for those asymmetries.

With Retul 3D motion capture, we can identify these asymmetries to a millimetre and adjust the bike to the rider. You’re probably asking, But do a few millimetres on one side or the other make a difference? Well, think of it this way: if a cyclist who slightly overpronates by 5mm on their right side rides for 10 miles over 45 minutes with an average cadence of 70rpm, their right leg has moved almost 55 extra feet compared to their left. So yeah, it does make a difference.

Studies show that the discrepancy between the left and right legs can be very consequential. In one study from the Journal of Sports Medicine Physical Fitness, six highly trained competitive male cyclists rode a simulated 40km time trial on an SRM cycle ergometer that measured the force exerted by their left and right leg at the crank. The discrepancy between the left and right leg varied through the time trial but averaged around 13-17%. Imagine how powerful and efficient you could be if all that effort were evenly distributed!

Feet are your foundation; invest in them.
Think of a house built on a crooked foundation; how safe would you feel sleeping on the 3rd floor? The same logic applies to the body. Because feet are the body’s foundation, poorly supported feet have a cascading effect of complications throughout the body.

For example, an unsupported foot causes misalignment between your foot-knee-hip, which, in turn, leads to less pedal power and stability and an increased likelihood of injury. Therefore, supporting the foot is very important. Bike fitters assess a rider’s feet to quantify how they move in 3D space to help determine what stabilization and support might be needed.

Once you identify the unique needs of your feet, you can optimize support/stability with standard products like the Specialized BG footbeds or custom-built footbeds that meet the precise needs of each foot.

The hips don’t lie.
I don’t care how comfortable the saddle cushioning may feel or what your neighbour claims are the best saddle; if you’re not sitting squarely on your “sit” bones, the saddle will be a literal pain in the butt. A proper fit includes a pre-fit rider interview to record pertinent information that, combined with our Retül Digital Sitbone Device (DSD for short), allows us to use data to make a scientific saddle choice.

When a saddle is the wrong width, either too wide or narrow, the rider risks sitting on soft tissue, which can cause twisting of the hips and spine. The DSD digitally measures the width of the rider sits bones to determine the correct saddle width for the rider.

After ensuring you are supported on the correct saddle, the next step is determining your ideal saddle height.

Setting the saddle too high can cause the hips to rock and twist while setting the saddle too low causes excessive strain on the knee. There are many techniques to determine what is right for you, but a good rule of thumb is that while pedalling, your knee should be slightly bent (about 10 degrees) at the bottom of the pedal stroke. If your knee is locked out at the bottom of the stroke, your seat is too high— if you feel like your leg never gets any rest, it might be too low.

Setting the saddle height isn’t just about leg length; it’s also about flexibility. If you spend most of your life sitting at a desk from 9-5, you might want to start with a slightly lower saddle. This is because sitting in a chair causes your hamstrings to tighten and, because your hamstring originates from the Ischial Tuberosity (part of your sits bones), a tight hamstring tends to pull the pelvis to a more upright position, causing the rider to bend at the lower back and revert to sitting on “soft” tissue.

Hand position is the product of a good bike fit.
Your neck, hands and shoulder will help you confirm that your feet are supported, that you have the ideal saddle, and that your cleats are oriented correctly. You might still have to make a few tweaks to your handlebars and stem to help with numb hands or sore necks. In most cases of numb hands, relieving some weight off your hands or shoulders usually does the trick. To help take the weight off your hands, you can change the height of your handlebars by raising or lowering them or by changing the length and angle of your stem.

Get your bike fit checked annually.
Our bodies change as we age, making your bike fit dynamic. People’s flexibility and adaptability change over time. When we’re young, we’re relatively flexible and adaptable, but as the years progress, we experience attrition, injuries and the impacts of sitting for long periods of time. All these changes affect your balance and make your joints stiffer. While there isn’t one ideal position written in stone, there’s an ideal saddle height, saddle setback and reach for each phase of your life. Staying up to date on your bike fit will ensure you’re continually adjusting to be as efficient, safe, comfortable, and happy on the bike as possible.

Why not just consult dr google & youtube?

Bike fit isn’t a set of simple rules that, if you work through, you will come to a perfect position. The biomechanics of the human body is a massively interconnected chain. As fitters, we have all seen in our time a misalignment at one end can create a BIG problem at the other.

I don’t know who originally coined the phrase, but we have a bicycle that is somewhat adjustable and a body that is somewhat adaptable.

This means there isn’t necessarily a single right answer for bike fit, but typically a range of positions that the body will be able to adapt to. Working with a fitter who can give you suggestions whilst listening to what you, the rider, is experiencing can help improve the riding position. Ideally, any changes made are matched on the rider’s bike so they can test it on the road for several weeks to allow for any adaptation and ensure the changes were positive.

How does it work?

There are several steps to a Retül Fit.

Starting with a pre-fit physical assessment, I will consider your body’s physical limitations, previous injuries, aches and pains, and what your goals are on the bike. This process can take up to 45 minutes to 1 hour.

From there, I will have you get on the bike (your bike is fitted onto a Wahoo Kicker smart trainer) to place LED markers on 8 anatomical points of your body (basically your pivot points), which will be tracked by the Retül Vantage Motion Capture system. The Retül Vantage system collects real-time, three-dimensional data from each pedal stroke, creating a dynamic fit experience.
NB: This is a dynamic fit, i.e. you will be pedalling your bike, and data will be captured in real-time. This differs from a static fit, where you just “sit” on the bike.

The real-time dynamic data is compiled into the Retül bike fit software so that I can look at the numbers, which show degrees of movement and distance in millimetres, that cannot be seen with the naked eye. I will then adjust your bike setup based on the fit data, pre-fit physical assessment findings, injury history and your goals on the bike. This may include equipment changes, such as shoes, footbeds, saddle, stem-length handlebars, etc.
NB: Equipment changes are an additional cost and not included in the fit price.

Once we have dialled in your final bike position, I will create a digital map of your final bike setup using the Retül Zin tool. The bike data and Zin tool measurements are generated into a complete report that will be emailed to you for your records. This way, you will always have a copy of your bike’s “settings”.

It’s a very thorough process that, unfortunately, cannot be sped up. On average, a Retül Fit will take a minimum of 3.5 hours to complete.

What do I need for a Fit?

You will need the following for a fit:

Your bike needs to be clean. I will need to make adjustments to your bike and or change equipment, which sits on a rotating platform. I will not work on a dirty bike! You wouldn’t show up to the dentist with a dirty mouth, would you? Dirty/muddy bikes will be cleaned at an additional price.

Cycling kit.
Cycling bib shorts and a proper cycling shirt. No T-shirts are allowed.
Why can’t I wear a T-shirt and just some shorts?
I need to place LED markers with sticky velcro dots onto your clothing or skin. These markers capture your movement, which is translated into data. I can’t have the markers moving around on loose clothing, as this will make the data inaccurate and useless. It also helps me to store the LED’s batteries on a wire harness in your shirt pockets.

Your cycling shoes and any additional cycling shoes you may have. Please make sure your shoes are clean! Specifically the cleats and cleat bolts! I will need to adjust your cleat position, and it takes extra time for me to clean the mud and dirt out of your cleats if they need to be adjusted.

Your time.
Your uninterrupted time. I know you are busy, and time is precious. Constant cell phone interruptions add extra time. Respect my time, and I will respect yours. 😀

What’s the difference between a Retül Fit and a Static Fit?

A Retül Fit is a dynamic fit (pedalling) using LED markers and a Retül Motion Capture system. It takes 3.5 hours minimum and costs R1750.

A Static Fit is a good old, old-school fit (no pedalling) using a goniometer, spirit level, plumb line, rulers, and my “fitter” eyes. It takes 1 hour and costs R500.

Can I do a fit on multiple bikes? Like a MTB and Road bike?

YES! If you have a second or third bike, it’s important to try and get a similar fit/position across all your bikes.
Additional time is required, and an additional cost is applicable.

What does it cost?

A Retül Bike Fit – R1750.
Excluding any bike equipment changes.
Includes 1 x cleat adjustment and a free follow-up fit that is valid for 1 year as long as you do not change bike equipment.

Cleat fit/adjustment – R350

Static Fit – R500.

Additional bike – R850 per bike

Annual fit – R875

Ready to be dialled in with your bike?

Schedule a fit using my online booking link.

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