Inexpensive models have made them popular modes of transport in built up areas, but mountain bikes are built for tough, off-road terrain. Now enjoying a resurgence as a sport, mountain biking is becoming an enjoyable and healthy activity for those living near trails. There are thousands of mountain bike trails around the world, here are a few of our favourites.
Britain is a nation that loves cycling, but mountain biking isn’t as big as it is in North America or on the European Continent. However, Britain does have some incredible terrain perfect for mountain biking, most notably in Scotland. Kirroughtree in the southern part of Scotland is a collection of trails through forest, valley and open country. Kirroughtree is particularly enticing because it offers courses for all difficulties, including a a worryingly named 20m Black Craigs trail featuring the infamous ‘Heartbreak Hill.’
2.) Park City
North America is, by its nature of size, a mountain biker’s paradise. Park City is an often overlooked section of trails because of its relatively safe course. But safe doesn’t mean easy, Utah is an up and down frenzy of hill and valley. You will be trailing the Western edge of the famous Rockies, drinking in the incredible expanse of wide open country that only the Mid-West can offer. At 8,000ft above sea level and with the constant altitude change, this won’t be an easy course for even the largest of lungs. But the reward of cresting every hill is right before your eyes.
3.) Cancha Carrera
Those looking for the purest form of mountain biking, getting lost in the wilderness of an outback and riding for the thrill of it will want to pay Chile a visit. In the peaks of the mountains, Cancha Carrera is an advanced course which should only be attempted by experienced riders with a local guide. A must for any serious about their downhill riding, this course is a difficult and breathtakingly fun trail combining tight chicanes and sweeping bends across loose sand and rock. People have reported riding from top to bottom without ever pedalling a single revolution, and using their brakes even less.
The only professional man-made trail to feature on this list, a lot of bikers shun artificial courses. But Winterberg Bike Park in Germany is an incredible place to whet your appetite if you aren’t quite ready for mountains and wilderness. Like Kirroughtree, Winterberg offers something for everyone. Those looking to make an in-road to the sport will find a gentle introduction of twists, turns and downhill slopes alongside challenging trails for the pros. If you’re visiting in winter, don’t forget your gloves!
5.) Colorado Trail
A course which emulates every biker’s dream, the Colorado Trail is one of the most incredible single track courses in the world. The elevation is enough to ‘bust a lung’ and there are few people who have ridden the entire section. Snaking around conservation areas, a lot of the trails are well kept secrets in the community. Snaking across the mountains, the meadows of the trail truly give you the sense of grandeur and solitude than bikers crave, but don’t change your mind half way through. To cycle the whole trail, you can expect to be asking your boss for three weeks leave.
Jenny Jay is guest blogger on behalf of Sealskinz.com, who offer great deals on waterproof and hard wearing cycling gloves and socks. Visit Sealskinz today.