If like many people, you’ve made your new year resolutions to get outdoors more, get more exercise, and get fitter and happier in 2020, then there’s no better way for the whole family than taking up mountain biking. There are mountain bike coaching centres in the UK and wales, and it’s so beneficial for your health.
It’s easy to stay at home, warm and wrapped up in winter, but it’s much better to encourage your family to head outdoors, get some fresh air, and share an adventure!
Biking is shown to improve your heart health, and vastly improve your cardiovascular fitness. Mountain biking uses a large muscle groups that require a lot of oxygen, forcing your heart to work steadily, improving your heart health by 3 – 7 per cent.
Cycling is much less stress on your joints than running, and mountain biking is a low impact sport. You’ll get a complete workout with fewer risks of injury with other higher impact activities.
Regular moderate exercise will boost your immune system, keep you healthy, and ward off all those winter colds and flu. Exercise will also release endorphins, which are the body’s way of feeling good and getting more energy, and also boosts serotonin which helps prevent depression and anxiety.
The act of cycling downhill on rough terrain helps increase your balance, reinforces muscle memory, and improves coordination. Mountain biking gives a whole body workout, as opposed to mostly just legs with other cycling.
It’s also very social, and a great opportunity to get yourself in to nature, fresh air, and most importantly, it’s extremely good fun! Get in touch today if you want to know more about mountain bike coaching in the UK.
Now that the clocks have gone back and we’re firmly into winter, it might feel like you’re not able to get out on your bike anywhere near as much as you do in the summer months.
After all, by the time you finish work it’s already dark, and you probably don’t feel like you have opportunities to go mountain biking, apart from at the weekend.
But last month British Cycling suggested you might want to have a go at mountain biking in the dark. This isn’t as crazy as it may sound. For a start, there are some great, high-powered and lightweight cycling lights available that will mean you can illuminate the trail ahead of you.
The organisation pointed out that it’s a great way to experience trails you know well in a whole different way. Only being able to see as far as your lights allow will mean that your trail feels more exciting and exhilarating.
As British Cycling points out: “Holes seem bigger, slopes steeper and you’re never quite 100 per cent sure what might be lurking around that next bend.”
If you’ve been finding your local mtb trails a little tame, riding them in the dark could be the perfect way to inject a little more excitement.
Of course, another big bonus to going mountain biking in the dark is that it gives you back the evenings to enjoy on two wheels. And if you’re not sure you’re ready for this challenge, invest in some mtb coaching before you hit the trails after dark.
Cycling News recently looked at some of the things you need to think about when you’re buying lights for your bike. For mountain biking, consider a helmet-mounted light rather than one that’s fixed to your handlebars. This is because a light on your helmet will illuminate what you’re looking at, rather than just the track in front of your bike.
If you’ve never been to a Pilates class you might be wondering what all the fuss is about, but we’re here to tell you that it brings a multitude of benefits – particularly if you enjoy other sports like mountain biking.
Shape recently highlighted some of the main benefits of regularly attending a Pilates class. At the top of the list is the boost it gives to your core strength. This is about more than toning your abs, it’s about providing support for the rest of your body.
The publication even cited a study which found that women who attended a 36-week Pilates course improved the strength of their rectus abdominis muscles by 21 per cent and eliminated muscle imbalances between the right and left sides of their bodies.
We mentioned that a strong core supports the rest of your body, and that’s particularly true of your back. If you suffer from back pain, it’s well worth going to Pilates to see just how much strengthening your core can help.
Master Pilates instructor in Chicago Tracy Zindell explained why it improves your performance in other physical activities: “When you start focusing on your core, you realise that all of your muscles are connected through your core.”
She also pointed out that you can work with your Pilates instructor to learn moves that will imitate and improve moves in your sport of choice – like cycling or mountain biking.
Want to get a taste of what Pilates is all about? Try one of the videos in our Workout Wednesdays series. We’ll run through some of the common Pilates movements each week.
Think it could help? Come along to one of our Pilates sessions in Hampshire and start reaping the benefits.
If this will be your first winter season of mountain biking, you’re in for some different conditions to what you may have experienced during the summer. Even if you’re a seasoned mtb rider, it never hurts to remind yourself of the essentials when it comes to tackling wet and muddy trails.
Luckily, off-road.cc has some handy tips to help ensure you stay safe and enjoy those winter trails. Don’t forget that we also run mtb courses in South Wales, so come and see us if you want some extra tuition and guidance.
The first piece of advice is to remember to look up. Sounds simple, doesn’t it? But it’s easy to get distracted by puddles or particularly muddy stretches of track. Just remember that you need to keep your eyes on where you want to go though.
The other reason this is important is because it keeps your weight centred on the bike. This is really important when you’re tackling muddy trails, as too much weight front or back will either cause your wheels to dig into the mud or to slide out.
Braking can be a tricky skill to master on a mountain bike, but it’s really important that you give it extra thought when it’s muddy. Start braking earlier than you would in dry conditions and with less power to prevent your wheels from locking up and sliding.
If you think you’ll need some motivation to keep riding during the winter months, think about signing up for an event or two in the spring. That will give you something to aim for and could provide the extra push you need to get out on those trails when the weather is a little less inviting.
If you’re into mountain biking, you’ll know who Danny MacAskill is. If you’re not, then a quick Google search of his name will throw up a host of YouTube videos where he performs unbelievable mountain biking stunts, usually in spectacular locations.
He certainly knows his stuff when it comes to mountain biking, so it’s something of a treat to hear what he thinks are some of the top pieces of gear out there at the moment.
In an interview with T3, he recently gave a glimpse of his essential mtb kit – it’s certainly interesting to see what he splashes out on and where he economises a bit more.
At the top of the list is, of course, the bike he rides. With a price tag of nearly £6,000 this is out of reach for most of us! His preferred wheels are the Santa Cruz 5010CC X01, which he described as “the perfect UK mountain bike”.
Danny explained that “with a 130mm travel front and rear, it means that you can climb to the top of any mountain and take on any sort of downhill”. He also revealed that he likes the fact it doesn’t have much suspension, and that this means you have to “work with the bike to get it down the trails”.
Another essential piece of kit for Danny is his camera. His first choice is a GoPro Hero 7, which is always mounted on his helmet.
He revealed that he never rides without it because it’s a great chance to “passively film content”, and it means you can prove the crazy stunts you pull off (or share the crashes) with anyone who doesn’t believe you.
When you’re heading out for a day on the trails you’ll need some kind of backpack to carry all your essentials. The one recommended by Danny is the Evoc Enduro 16l backpack, because it not only has space for everything you’ll need when you’re riding in remote locations, but also has a back protector.
And what should you be carrying in your pack when you’re out mountain biking? Water, food and the tools you’ll need to fix your bike if it picks up some damage.
He also has some advice for anyone who wants to feel a difference on the trails without spending too much money on new kit – pick up the right pair of shoes. His choice is a pair of Five Ten Adidas Free Rider Pro trainers. “They’re generally really breathable as well as being nice and lightweight. They will literally transform your riding,” he asserted.
At around £100 a pair, they’re not the most expensive piece of mtb kit you’re going to buy, so could be a good place to start if you’re just getting going in the sport. Of course, if you’re new to mountain biking it’s best to do some beginner’s mountain bike coaching to make sure you’re prepared for what you’ll encounter on the trails.
With the cold weather on the way, one piece of kit you don’t want to be without is your gloves When choosing think about their warmth, breathability and waterproofing. If you get cold easily, you may decide to sacrifice breathability for warmer, more waterproof gloves for instance.