Riding your bike in exotic places or at a cool bike park is part of the exciting world of mountain biking and you should absolutely do it. At the very least a trail centre visit should be on your agenda at some point, and experience a well crafted and hopefully well maintained mountain bike trail with challenging features in a controlled environment.
Also trailblazing in a foreign country under the watchful eye of an experienced and knowledgeable guide is as good as it can get in my opinion. However, you should not forget your own “back garden”. A ride from your own door without the hassle and faff of packing up a car, worrying about parking or fuel, is hugely satisfying and doing it with your mates is great fun.
It doesn’t matter where you live, even the most densely populated and built up city will have a trail or a park somewhere you can spin your legs without having to pack up that car.
I’m pretty lucky in Wiltshire (not as lucky as some though) as I can leave my house and within 10-15 minutes I can climb a local hill and be out of the town, away from the traffic and enjoying some single track, a few cheeky descents and miles of rolling hills and forests.
While out riding I regularly bump into small groups of other riders from my area, mostly riding the same trails and routes on a weekly basis. I decided it was time to try and pull together the local knowledge of known and less known trails and routes and start a Facebook Group. Last week 10 of us rode a 30km loop on our Calne MTB inaugural ride. Most riders knew the route and trails but it was good to meet some new faces and have a bit of a social.
Calne MTB now has around 40 members and this Sunday we are heading out on our second group ride. I have planned a route that could very well find us knee deep in mud but it will be great fun to lead a ride again and hopefully show some of the local guys somewhere new and interesting to ride.
A quick mention for the Divine Cafe at Cherhill that is likely to be the spot for our post ride tea and cake – http://divinecafe.biz/
My little local ride last night is the main part of the MB Swindon ride I will be leading in June. As I indicated yesterday, one reason for riding was to ensure I will be fit for the loop, another reason is to make sure the loop is fit for the club.
MB Swindon has a ride leaders guide designed to help those leading a ride abide by some basic rules including the countryside code, knowing rights of way etc. The club’s reputation depends on a number of factors and my ability to define and lead a safe, legal ride is important. So I am taking this seriously.
My responsibility starts with a duty of care towards the riders and I must ensure as far as reasonably practicable that they are safe during the ride. So I have to perform a kind of safety assessment of the ride and be aware of the features and obstacles that we will come across.
The route is very predicatble but if we have a wet period the rock garden will be tricky (not impossible) to climb and this and the monument descent will be slippery!
I need to make sure we are riding where we are allowed to ride and that the route has been described accurately so as to attract the right riders. I don’t want people being disappointed!
Expect some more updates and photos on this route as I use it for fitness training and as I recce it a few more times!
MB Swindon is a mountain bike club based in Swindon. I joined around 2 years ago and as mentioned previously I try to ride as much as I can with them.
Well tonight was the AGM and I have to take my hat off to the guys that run the club, as it takes some work. It’s easy to think its just a couple of guys arranging for a larger group of guys (and girls) to go and ride their bikes from time to time. But it’s so much more than that.
I guess I never gave it much thought before but to be a club proper you need to have chairman, treasurer, secretary and you need to keep accounts etc. This in itself is a big task, but on top of this there is a challenging feature packed MTB trail that is constantly being maintained and adapted to add more and more features.
Did I mention that there are organised rides? Local and national rides are organised practically every weekend to cater for all levels of skill and fitness. If this doesn’t satisfy you they also organise trips away within the UK and even to France to the alps.
This year MB Swindon has also organised sponsors for two teams to compete in cross country and gravity enduro races…
These guys put in the work that make my mountain bike life easier, thanks to the MB Swindon team, I never really appreciated how much work was involved until tonight. Good job…
Want to know more, why not visit the packed web site for details of rides, membership benefits and discounts, training courses and mountain bike articles and photos.