Trail-centres, with their wonderful routes designed and prepared specifically for mountain biking, are a delight to visit when you want a predictable ride. Their routes avoid or eliminate challenging terrain to provide an exhilarating circuit, often with massive climbs and breath-taking descents.
Perhaps, if you’ve only ever ridden these ‘safe’ trails, you may find yourself wondering if you’d enjoy more independence, more self-reliance; to choose your own route and have a true cross-country cycling adventure.
Posted by JezT
What he [Geoff] can ride through is what 99% cyclists would do anything to avoid; sucking mud, shifting rocks, running water. Surely, it’s NOT having to ride through this crap that is the wonder of trail centres.
You may well encounter riding conditions such as deep mud churned-up by horses or forestry vehicles, large areas of standing water, rocky watercourses, fallen trees and branches, tussocky grassland, areas so overgrown you can’t see the ground. These, and other challenging situations, can bring your speed right down, sometimes to less than walking pace, and also require careful balance and control to pick a path through.
Posted by mikee
I’ve been thinking of how to word my appraisal of Geoff’s bicycle. I went thru the engineering slant, then the flowery prose. In the end I thought I’d tell it as it is. As an engineer, I’m not a sceptic with most things, including this bike.
But I was simply not prepared for the experience. The nearest I can get is:
[after an event] you’ve packed up your rear-wheel-drive car in wet [parking] field, and now you’re trying to get to the exit [and back on to a road]. It’s slippy and slidey, no traction type thing. Then some idiot in a landy [starts] driving about, up and down, just because they can!
That’s what the Cleland’s like.
My preference is to get a map and configure my own route, explore, find places I’ve never been before. Sometimes, to spice it up a bit, I leave up-to-date maps at home and use instead a first-series Ordnance Survey map from the 1890s, like the one above. It’s so interesting to see what has changed in the landscape over the years and, more remarkably, what hasn’t.
I think of the ride much as I would a walk; it’s all about getting out, exercise, fresh air, nature, all that stuff. A hike on a bike, if you like.
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