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5 Reasons Why We'll Miss Winter Riding April 08 2016, 0 Comments

So, the clocks have gone forward and the days are getting longer and warmer. But here's 5 reasons why we'll miss riding in the cold, dark depths of a UK winter...

1. No more being smug
Meeting mates in a lay-by in pitch darkness means you're either party to a local dogging group or you're out riding your mountain bike in the depths of winter. Being (fool)hardy enough to brave freezing temperatures, driving rain and ice in order to go riding provides an immense amount of smug satisfaction. And that smugness continues the next day when your work colleagues ask you what you did last night while they stayed indoors watching crap TV.

muddy mountain bike leaning against car

2. Local trails become slower
Now that it's still daylight when we ride, local trails have gone back to being all too familiar and feel much slower than when riding them in the dark. That hyper-speed, gnarly downhill trail which you've ridden all winter while it was cloaked in darkness now just looks like the gently sloping family trail it really is. And the massive tabletop you've been clearing with a degree of style all winter has now become a small hump which could be cleared by a six year old on a Halfords special.

3. The end of empty trails
As the weather becomes friendlier, there will inevitably be more riders on the trails jostling for position. Those trails you've been regarding as your own 'secret singletrack nirvana' will become more like the A1 on a bank holiday Monday. And forget trying out that small gap jump without the risk of failing in front of those fearless 12 year old kids.

mtb empty night trails 

4. Riding becomes more dangerous
Riding in daylight now means that in order to push yourself and your riding, you've got to take more risks to get the same buzz. Riding at 20mph downhill just doesn't seem fast enough anymore, so you keep off the brakes and charge downhill or into corners with increased speed and aggression until something gives and you get a painful reminder that you're not actually Steve Peat.

mtb night riding

5. Say goodbye to resting under a star-filled night sky
If you want to take your celebratory end-of-hill-climb breather under a deep black, star-filled sky, with borders of neon blue and burnt orange, you'll have to stay out really, really late. A lateness which is way past any sane person's bedtime and is definitely only possible for those who don't have to be up and functioning the next morning. Like students or the unemployed.

mtb night riding

Photo: bike198.com 

Tom Redfern, Apr 08


5 Reasons Why MTB Is More Fun Than Road Cycling February 19 2015, 0 Comments

Anyone who rides a mountain bike knows that they've made the right choice. Okay, some mountain bikers do ride road bikes, but we all know they do it solely for fitness.

So here's 5 reasons why mountain biking is better than road cycling.*

1. Mountain bikers talk to each other
Ever been at the back of the road cycling peloton? It ain't fun. All you get to see is the lycra-clad backsides of those faster than you. Because road cycling is all about the climbs, everyone is racing to the top of the hill, heads down in serious concentration with no thought or encouragement given to those at the back. Can't keep up? Tough. And then, when you do finally get to the top, everyone munches silently on their carb gels, quietly mulling over the approaching terror of having to ride their unstable, narrow-tyred machines down hill at speed.


PHOTO: hawleycompany.net

Mountain bikers, on the other hand, use the uphills as a chance to have a decent life-affirming chat, pull wheelies and generally muck about. So much more fun. And if you are at the back, those at the front spot an excuse to stop and have a breather, and to either offer encouragement for your efforts or to take the piss out of your slow speed. Either way, hilarity ensues.


PHOTO: goskyride.com

2. Mountain bikers get to wheelie
There are only a few people on this planet who can successfully wheelie a road bike. So, if you're not Peter Sagan, or a kid from a council estate, getting the front wheel of a road bike off the ground is always going to be a big challenge. As is keeping it in the air once it's up.


PHOTO: getreading.co.uk

However, if you're on a mountain bike, you can have a go at popping the front wheel at every opportunity. Tree root? Pop a wheelie. Mini drop off? Pop a wheelie. In the car park, getting bored of waiting for your mates to get ready? Pop a wheelie. The possibilities to get the front wheel off the ground and have tons of fun are endless.


PHOTO: mountainbike-magazin.de

3. Mountain bikers breathe in fresh air, not pollution
Cycling on the roads is dangerous. Buses, trucks, cars - all plotted by angry motorists intent on wrapping you and your bike around their wheels. And all the time, you're breathing in the silent and invisible killer; pollution.

But mountain bikers get to breathe in tonnes of fresh air, filling their lungs with the sweet scent of forests and mountains. What could be healthier than the cool, evening air of the forest, with only the fine dust of forest loam to encroach on its purity? The worst that can happen is your mate, riding in front of you runs over some sheep crap and you forget to close your mouth...


PHOTO: basquemtb.com

4. Mountain bikers get to do skids
One of the greatest pleasures of riding a bike is skidding. It was one of the first things we learnt as kids, hammering down the path, riding for the first time without stabilisers. Ever tried to do a skid on a road bike? Here's what happens...


PHOTO: velonews.competitor.com

Yank on the back brake of a mountain bike however, and your world is filled with childhood memories of impressive power slides, and the air is filled with a gratifying shower of dust, stones or mud as your back wheel carves one of the finest arcs known to physics!


PHOTO: wolisphoto.com

5. Mountain bikers have fun - whatever the weather
Finally, here's fundamental reason why mountain biking is better than road cycling. Mountain biking is just so much more fun than road cycling. Have you ever seen the faces of road cyclists when it's wet? Not fun.


PHOTO: reinardtvanrensburg.wordpress.com

And here's the face of someone who's just ridden their mountain bike, not only in the rain, but through the mud and gloop of a well-worn trail.


PHOTO: adventure-journal.com

So, when it comes to fun, mountain biking beats road cycling in every aspect. Now get out on your mountain bike, get muddy, pull a skid and have some fun!

*This is aimed purely at those road cyclists who take themselves too seriously and have forgotten that we ride bikes because it makes us feel good!