The reviews on this page are from riders of all levels that have completed BetterRide Mountain Bike Skills Coaching, Camps and Clinics.
Reviews from Passionate Riders
Thank you for creating what has been one of the best learning experiences of our lives. We traveled all the way from Australia to attend your camp in Golden, Colorado and it was worth every penny! Andy was a fantastic teacher with great personal skills. He has our highest commendation for creating a safe, exciting and fun environment for learning.
It is refreshing to find someone who understands their field well enough to be able to deconstruct difficult and often hard to pinpoint concepts. This is a rare talent. We appreciate all of the careful thought that you and Andy have put into creating the mountain bike skills curriculum. The content was well-organized into different sections, and logically progressed from foundational skills (like body position and braking) to more difficult skills (like cornering). It is obvious that you have spent a lot of time not only thinking about how to mountain bike, but also how to teach it to others.
Learning these mountain biking skills has truly made us “betterriders”. Thank you for the opportunity to attend your camp and we look forward to attending a core skills camp #2 !
Just finished a 3 day camp in San Diego with Chip. Absolutely the best coaching\instruction I’ve ever had.
Thank you Gene for what you do and for having Chip as part of your team.
The money spent on this camp with Chip is the best “up grade” I’ve ever invested in for my Mtn. Bike obsession.
I too just finished the San Diego camp. Big kudos to your boy Chip. He was motivating and made the learning fun. Money well spent. I look forward to practicing this new knowledge. First thing is to change my Facebook mtn biking pics, my chest is way too high.
Checkout this thread: http://www.bikemojo.com/speak/showthread.php?92241-Betterride-net
A few highlights:
I’ll write a more detailed review when I’m not exhausted, BUT, I will say that:
1) I am already a better rider after the clinic.
2) I expect with some practice of the skills I learned I will be MUCH better by mid-summer.
3) i only thought I knew how to ride a bike. Halfway through day 3 something clicked and everything felt new and better and totally awesome.
I attended the Better Ride clinic at Walnut last year and absolutely loved it. Some of the best $600 I’ve ever spent. I agree with the others – it totally opened my mind to a new and more effective / efficient way of riding (especially the cornering). It did more for my riding than any bike or component upgrade ever has!
First of all, I wanted to thank you again for such a super weekend. One other kudo I think you deserve is your obvious interest in staying current–and not just on mountain biking. You shared a wealth of knowledge from other sports, psychology, and just how to live a better life. But you made it all relate to the task at hand. You seem to stay aware of pertinent trends both on and off the bike. Despite your vast experience, you do a great job of sharing the knowledge, experience and research of others as well. It was never like you presented yourself as “Gene the All-Knowing” but rather became a conduit of valuable information arising both from your personal experience and from others. It was sometimes like we had access to a whole faculty, not just one person. Very well done.
Thanks again and best wishes for all your future endeavors.
I’m still “coming down” from the excitement of attending your mountain bike skills camp. Exciting because I have been ”winging it” on a mountain bike for the last 20 years. There are no more ”gray areas”, it’s now black and white. I will be practicing and implementing the skills that I learned, for the rest of my mountain bike life. I’m sure that you have heard this before, your head coach Andy W. is perfect. Besides his obvious experience he has the natural ability to pass on the essential material. His instruction was polished combined with his people skills and communication skills. When it comes to constructive criticism, I can’t think of anything that could have been improved on and have nothing to add.
This was a priceless experience that I will never forget. I’m amazed at how much better of a rider I have already become. With your skills that I learned, I definitely accomplished my goal to become a better and safer mountain bike rider.
The camp location was a 8 hr. drive for me and well worth it. For people that you have that might be “on the fence” about attending one of your camps, tell them that no matter what it takes (time and money), attend a skills camp ASAP. It will pay dividends every time they get on the bike.
I was just now sitting at my computer thinking of emailing you when this email popped up at the inbox. (I had just sent him the first follow up email after his camp)
Thanks so much for making available such a great bike skills camp. Like I was telling Andy as we were finishing up last Sunday, I did my research and knew you guys had a good course but it really exceeded my expectations. Your course has given me the foundational skills and en powered me to be the best rider I can according to the effort I put into practicing and working on the skills taught. Andy is a great person, instructor and bike handler. Also thanks for sending the good info with this email, I really like the figure 8 drill and plan on making it a staple of my practice time.
Just wanted to express to you and your staff my gratitude and give props. I was one of the last ones to sign up because I was skeptical of what I could learn in the time frame for the price. Luckily I did foot the bill and was able to attend the camp in Conyers, GA (April 8 – 10). Wow! I can’t say enough good things about the coaches Andy & Joe, and the overall experience. They were great teachers, patient, and more than willing to help any of us out in honing our skills or answering any questions that came up. I came away from the camp with a lot of knowledge and understanding of why the basic simple techniques are so important. Most of all I learned you have to go slow to go fast, vision is the key. I now have a greater appreciation when out riding and see many old trails as a new trail to explore and practice my skills. I could spend all day on an easy trail and have more fun than riding several trails…riding is no longer a measure of how fast I can get from point A to B. I’m gonna keep practicing what I learned and am looking forward to attending the second camp! Thanks again for all you and your staff do!
I attended you Bend, Oregon camp in Aug of 2009. I had just purchased my Trek 8.8 in June and joined a local club and had done a few rides before I left for Bend. Being 53 yeas old, I was hoping to get some good habits before I developed to many bad ones (already have enough of those) and give myself a jump start on the people who figured hey knew all they needed to know about mountain biking. I took some serious crap for spending $600.00 on a mountain bike camp. Why I would do that when there are good riders here just ask them. Well here we are 8 months later and I talked myself into entering the 2010 Shasta Lemurian here in Redding to see how I would do after practicing for the last 8 months. I entered the 45-54 class of the 8 mile short course. Wow!! What a difference a passionate teacher can make. I tried to stay very consistent in the 4 mile uphill so I wouldn’t totally exhaust myself and try to make up what I could in the downhill. The Vodoo mind thing is amazing along with all the other skills and I passed 7 riders going down, having to leave the best line several times to get around. This singletrack downhill is last part of both the 20 and 26 mile courses and has many oshit moments in the rocks. I was able to get back most of what I had lost and finish at 56:13, 2nd in my class 10 seconds behind first.Overall in short course was 46 minutes. Now it is time to work on hard my climbing so I push the front runners a bit more.
Gene all I can say is heartfelt thanks for bringing this passion for mountain biking and the skills you have given us to work with and practice. Looking forward to the spring racing here in Northern most California.
I want to thank you for a great camp; you’re a great coach with the ability to explain and demonstrate skills for easy learning.
When anyone asks how the camp was they get an earful. I was so excited afterwards; it’s like being a kid learning to ride your bike for the first time and wanting to tell everyone they knew. I’m 43 and when was the last time I learned so much about something that I loved to do? I can’t remember when and that’s what was so great about your camp. I’m glad you made it to Bend and I’m sure it will become a regular stop on the Better Ride Tour. I look forward to your next visit.
Laurie and I were blessed to be coached by Andy and you at the Golden, CO camp this June. The before and after camp riding experience has been truly transformational in raising significantly our MTB skills, confidence and pure enjoyment of riding. We are spreading the word that riders need to go your Better Ride Camp as soon as possible to experience this transformation. I recently met a friend in the middle of a single track course in the Minnesota woods. He mentioned that he had the good fortune in May of being with a group that hired you for private coaching in Moab. He was also singing high praise for how you improved his riding performance to an advanced level.
Incredible! It’s like night and day. I took my first ride after your clinic, it’s like taking your favorite challenging singletrack and it becomes a four lane highway; you see your favorite trail in a whole new light. Gene, I’m totally serious. I went out this morning, my purpose being to work on your vision techniques. I was amazed at how it helped me in my climbing. I make it up stuff that I know I would of walked up before talking the clinic.
GET SMART: Gene Hamilton’s BetterRide mountain bike camps are all about vision: opening your eyes and mind to become a faster and more graceful rider. In his three-day clinics, Hamilton will re-wire your bike brain with skill drills that help you see the trails like a pro, milking terrain for momentum and carving high-speed turns with confidence and a huge smile on your face. We took a three-day camp earlier this year and immediately felt a difference on the bike. By practicing the drills before every ride and completing his e-mail homework assignments, we were able to keep improving week after week. Hamilton also brings in some of the world’s best riders — we had world champion Marla Streb on hand — to share their tips and secrets on and off the trails.
-USA TODAY adventure sports reporter and 2007 Mountain Bike Hall of Fame inductee Sal Ruibal -
Thanks for the homework! I think I’ll take you up on a couple of these books.
I thought your “camp” was awesome. I don’t know when I’ve experienced so many emotions and thoughts all in three days! The camp was like a microcosm of Life itself. Fun, challenging, frustrating … overwhelming, exhilirating…you name it.
I went out the Wednesday following the camp, did the drills then rode the Sport loop out at McDowell three times. Do you remember that darned hill at the end? I had NO PROBLEM making it up the hill every time. Funny because I watched a couple guys struggle and pop off as they practiced for the race! HA! They got to watch me use technique and easily make it up the hill.
On Saturday, I met Celia and we practiced the drills…then rode the Pemberton trail. It was great. We used each other to remind ourselves of the skills you taught us!
On Sunday…..I rode with a couple of my friends who have been riding awhile. They took me to a new park called F.I.N.S. (Fantasy Island North Singletrack). It is located at the base of the Estrella mountains. Let me tell you…it was challenging. Lots of exposure, switchbacks and climbing. While some of the switchbacks took me out…I climbed every hill great! I even made it up what they call Grunt Hill and shocked my friends. They couldn’t make it up the hill. What an awesome day.
Thank you, thank you, thank you. My riding has improved 100%. I am grateful for your patience with us…and me. I look forward to taking another camp from you as I’m sure it will truly “sink in” the concepts and techniques.
Keep sharing your knowledge, it truly is a gift!
I have to say a big THANKS for the great camp a couple weeks ago. I’ve been practicing my drills, and this past weekend I hit two of my favorite trails (Hall Ranch and Walker Ranch). I was able to wheelie up stuff that I’d never even tried before! The cornering skills were amazing in the swoopy section on Walker. And I *finally* made it up a hard technical climb that has confounded me for years …
First off thank you for an excellent training experience. I have to tell you I woke up this morning and felt like I was missing something not heading to camp this morning. Here are a couple of quick thoughts I had on the way back about the camp.
1) 3 days is the perfect amount of time, it allowed me to shut out the rest of the world and focus on biking, by the third day I really felt a clear focus and as I mentioned above, I was bummed out this morning when I got up and realized camp was over.
2) You did a great job of getting to know everyone by first name, that was very important to me for a number of reasons
- Each time you called out my name to tell me I did something right I felt really good inside and it allowed me to stamp that feeling in my head. Also the excitement and happiness in your voice when you noticed one of us doing something right was very noticeable. Thinking back right now I can clearly remember you telling me I nailed the rear wheel lift or how smooth and calm I was on the downhill switchback. Oh yea and I remember seeing the fear in your eyes when I almost went over the handlebars during the braking section…
- Since you were continually calling out our names, it was easy for me to remember the other students names. Which made the camp even more fun because I was able to connect with the other riders easier.
This was by far the best use of both money and time in regards to my mountain bike training. Its 3 days of my life I will never forget…
I just wanted to let you know that I’ve had big improvements in my racing this year after taking the betteride course (about 10 minutes improvement from last year). I got 2nd place in the beginner category at Eldora, then placed 15th out of 35 in the Sport category at Winterpark in my first ‘sport race’. I passed people on the downhill for the first time in these two races, and am feeling much more confident on the downhills (I hit 31.5 mph max on a tight singletrack in the Eldora race).
I wish I could tell you I was sent to test your teaching skills by “acting” difficult but then I wouldn’t be telling the truth. I have always been a difficult person to teach because, not only am I impatient, but I expect to be an expert immediately. I also am horribly competitive, so if I have a “team” of people, I want to kick their asses and be the best. (Believe me; you do not want to play Charades with me…ever). However, I was really impressed with your coaching skills and your ability to put humor into my attitude. You have a unique ability to explain technique to a diverse group of people and keep it interesting and clear. As you said, every group is different, but it is easy to tell that you have no problem meshing random people together to make them feel like a real “team”. I also thought your use of stories and personal experiences were good tools that you utilized when everyone started thinking too hard about the task at hand.
I really feel that the core of your program lies in all the drills you taught. Already I feel more confident on my bike and understand some ridiculous mistakes I had been making in the past. I think that everyone who even considers MTB should really take your clinic, and I can also see how there is great potential for repeat customers and further training. You have a lot to offer riders and your energy and enthusiasm creates a wicked inspirational atmosphere that makes me personally want to challenge myself and realize my potential.
I wish you all the best and hope I do get the chance to study under you again.
Over the past month I haven’t had as much time to ride as I would like (because I’m working on another goal – to become a published novelist- woot!) so my improvements have been small, but I am riding better.
A few notes from my recent rides:
On my first ride after camp, I focused on body position and vision for the descent. Normally my Wed night ride buddy is ahead of me, but this time I passed her and when I turned around to check on her she was nowhere in sight. She said that I took off about twice as fast as I normally do, but the great thing is, I felt completely smooth and in control. I used to think I was looking ahead all the time, but now that I focus on it, I see that that was not the case – now when I do, it makes a huge difference.
This weekend I was on some unfamiliar trail and came across a spot where the trail zigzags down into a deep ravine then immediately zigzags back out of it. This was a great place to practice both climbing and descending switchbacks.
I have always thought I was a decent descender because I could force myself to white-knuckle my way through stuff, but I never had fun that way. And I realize that I would always push my bike out in front of me, like we were two kids going into a haunted house and I was trying to make my bike go first. This weekend while I was practicing the skills you showed us I was amazed at how SMOOTH I felt. I wasn’t pushing my bike out in front of me I was in position and looking ahead and everything just worked. No skidding, no stiff arms, no terror.
The climb was more of a struggle – there was one moderate switchback then two really steep ones. I am proud to say that I eventually rode all three of them. Whenever I didn’t make one I realized that I had stopped with my eyes on the trail right in front of me. When I would remember to “look to victory” I would make it. It’s so interesting that when I would stop, I would THINK I was stopping because I had run out of steam and momentum, but that wasn’t the case – I had just convinced myself I was out of steam … when I looked to victory, I had enough left to get there.
I spend some time on drills every time I ride and I can see that the new skills are starting to burn in. I haven’t been on some of my
favorites recently but can’t wait to get out and see how they feel.
I hope this message finds you doing well and on your way to a speedy and complete recovery. I am thankful you were willing to continue with our class despite the challenge of your broken foot.
It has been nearly a month since I finished your camp in Fruita, Colo. You were absolutely right when you said if we practiced your drills off the trail, we would notice the difference on the trail. I have spent the last couple of weeks practicing the drills here on the streets in my neighborhood. The drills returned my best dividend today when my mountain bike camp classmate, Jerry and I went for a two hour ride on the trails here in Sedona. I was amazed at the difference in my riding ability. Today’s ride was the best ride I have ever had since I first bought my mountain bike two years ago. Your superb instruction in teaching how a bike turns made the ride fun and exhilarating. I rode faster, smoother, relaxed, in control, and had fun.
The confidence in my ability to handle the trail and its features was the highest I have ever experienced to date. I successfully climbed several hills that I had previously failed to climb, I could almost hear your assistant coach Andy’s voice in my ear repeating all of the tips and techniques needed for the successful climbs. I remembered Andy telling us. “To look to victory,” as I rode through the trails technical features that I had never cleared before. It was great fun to enjoy steeps and drops that had previously intimidated me into the hike-a-bike mode. I am absolutely thrilled with the new found confidence in my riding ability. The best thing about all this is that I have even more room for improvement. You have made a believer out of me with all you taught us. Am I perfect in my riding? Absolutely not. Can I become a better rider? You bet, thanks to you, your coaches, and the superb course.
As you can tell, I am very grateful for all your class did for me. I wish I would have taken the course before I even thought about taking a bike on the trail, but it is never too late to do the right thing. A classmate struck up a conversation with me last week while we were attending IMBA’s trail building class. She said she had moved to Sedona recently and was having a difficult time riding our trails compared to where she had come from. I immediately referred her to
The mini-camp in Richmond VA exceeded my expectations. After not riding for many years, I felt the need to develop proper skills and good habits, and you succeeded.
When I used to ride years ago, my number one focus was preventing the loss momentum on a climb, through a corner, or over obstacles. I would ride harder and faster each time I went out on the trails in order to improve my ability to maintaining momentum.
I now plan on getting to all my destinations early to practice drills in a slow controlled and repeatable manner. I also plan on dedicating entire rides to working on specific skills. It is amazing that I have years of martial arts training experience that concentrated on slow deliberate skill practice and I never translated that over to MTB.
I already feel my biking skills and confidence are much greater as a result of your instruction and I look forward to building on them. In addition, despite the weather, it was really fun.
Wow, what a great class, my son and I had a great time and learned so much. We went riding this weekend and I was amazed at how much I have already integrated into my ride habits. I feel like a new rider! Andy is a great instructor, he’s able to reach all levels and make all the class participants feel at ease and welcome. Thanks so much for all your help!