How To Keep Safe When Mountain Biking In Winter

How To Keep Safe When Mountain Biking In Winter

The idea of mountain biking amongst snowy landscapes may seem very attractive in your mind. Why wouldn’t it? It looks like something out of a film!

But the realities of mountain biking in the winter are less than cinematic. In reality, it can be very dangerous. Whether it’s snow, sleet, ice, or simply the freezing temperatures, there are plenty of ways you can get into trouble when biking in the winter.

However, you don’t want to stop biking over the winter just because of some cold weather. When you look out at the below-freezing temperatures, it can feel tempting to stay in and catch up on the latest rugby union scores, but you know you’ll love it when you’re out on the roads.

For that reason, ensuring you know the dangers and take preventative measures to avoid trouble is essential to keep biking no matter the season.

Check your roads beforehand

When it’s icy out, you need to check the roads you are going to take before you set off. It is imperative that you only stick to roads that have been treated already. This should ensure your safety when biking in icy conditions.

Even when following these routes, you need to stay alert. Large, exposed sections of the road can become icy again as the wind chill affects them. When you see icy patches, you should always try to go around them – that’s only if you have time to manoeuvre it and if the route around the patch is safe.

If you find yourself in an icy patch, the best course of action is to ride it out. But, whatever you do, don’t make any sudden movements.

As with all winter weathers – snow, ice, rain – be aware of increased stopping distances.

Lights

In the winter, it gets light later in the morning and gets darker earlier at night. Even during daylight hours, it can get pretty dingy and dark on a cloudy day. Because of this, keeping on top of your lights is essential. Both so you can see, and so you can be seen by others.

The best way to keep your lights safe is to ensure your lights are USB chargeable, not battery chargeable. With battery chargeable lights, you’d have to stop to switch out batteries if your lights go. Plus, if you find yourself caught out with no replacement batteries, you won’t have any lights at all. This is simply too dangerous during the winter months.

Goggles or Glasses

Wearing goggles might make you feel a little silly, but they are a necessity during winter. The rainier season means the tracks you’ll be biking are much muddier. Keeping your eyes protected from the splatter is key to keeping your vision clear (and your face clean!).
Goggles will also keep the wind out of your eyes – and keep your eyes moist. However, ensure your goggles are clear so you can see your route perfectly.

 

Mountain Biking adventures for kids

Mountain Biking adventures for kids

Over the summer holidays we ran our famous mountain bike camps for kids, these 90 minute sessions are all about building trail skills for young riders in a fun and relaxed environment where they can learn at their own speed and have plenty of time to practise their new skills. All camps take place from our base at Queen Elizabeth Country Park in Horndean, Hampshire.

Every child gets a medal as a well done at the end of the session.

Our mountain bike camps are suitable for riders as young as 5 providing they are able to use their brakes properly and have no stabilisers. We split the children into ability categories as much as possible because this means they learn with those at a similar level. We run three groups beginner, intermediate and advance. Our advance camps take place from Queen Elizabeth Country Park as well as a secret location in Surrey.

All of our coaches are British Cycling qualified making sure we deliver the best in grass roots coaching and beyond. Our camps run in every school holiday and dates can be found on the website as well as our social media channels. If you would like more information on camps or any other riding query please get in touch.

Here are a few pictures from our camps.

 

 

Summer Camps off to a great start!

Summer Camps off to a great start!

The first week of the summer holiday was full of adventure and fun as we ran beginner, intermediate and advanced camps as well as our first ever adventure ride for kids.

Since 2013 we have run mountain bike holiday camps for kids from Queen Elizabeth Country Park in Hampshire, our favourite local riding spot. Over the last two years we are also used a great location closer to London for our advance riders to give more variety and depth to our coaching.

For the first year we have also started running adventure rides, these three hour long rides are full of trail time giving the kids optimal opportunity to practise their mountain biking as well as pick up new trail skills and ride in new locations around the South Downs.

Here are a few pictures from the first week!

 

Fuel your ride with great tasting coffee

Fuel your ride with great tasting coffee

After what feels like a lifetime of being stuck inside our homes and restricted from non-essential traveling, we are now finally allowed to step into the great outdoors once again. Get rid of those odors coming from your biking clothes, give your bike a good clean and get ready to hit those trails again!

There are a few things that we’ve deeply missed when it comes to the thought of getting out on the bike once again – The view of surrounded forests from the top of a climb, the feeling of the wind rushing past your face, and doing all this whilst the rest of the country is still waking up. Now that we’re feeling that extra appreciation, let’s talk about how we fuel these early morning starts on a full day of mountain biking.

First up, let’s talk about equipment. You don’t need anything fancy to make an amazing cup of coffee, an Aeropress is perfect for making great tasting coffee without the faff so you don’t need to wake up any earlier. Overall it should take around 3 minutes including boiling the water.

Aeropress

In recent years there have been world championship recipes brewed with an Aeropress that are so simple to make, you can prepare a cup before you set out or take it in a flask for the journey to your trails. Try the below method:

  • Heat some water over your stove or fire until near boiling point
  • Weigh out 20-25g of good quality coffee, you want a coarse grind if you’re using whole beans and grinding yourself.
  • Add coffee to the press and use 150ml of hot water
  • Stir for around 30 seconds using a spoon and then apply the press and push down slowly, don’t stop when you hear the bubbling, we actually want this to happen and create a nice compact coffee disc when we’re done with the brewing. 

You should now have a fresh cup of coffee which you can dilute with hot water to get your preferred strength and taste. The smell alone from a freshly brewed coffee is enough to wake you up and give you that boost to tackle the day ahead. Take a deep breath in and savour the moment. 

Author: Rave Coffee

“Quality beans. No jargon. No BS. Great coffee made simple”. 

 

Pilates stretches for cyclists

Pilates stretches for cyclists

I just wanted to share with you some Pilates stretches I love to do post ride. These stretches help lengthen out my hamstrings and quads, and mobilise through my back.

Cyclists are prone to not stretching but stretching out your muscles after riding your bike can really help with your posture and form on the bike. Try this simple stretch routine after each ride for supple and healthy muscles.

I hope you find this ministretch routine helpful!

Guidance For Cyclists During The Pandemic

Guidance For Cyclists During The Pandemic

If you’re used to getting a lot of fresh air and exercise, no doubt you’re finding lockdown and self-isolation rather difficult to deal with – but while we’re still allowed out once a day for one form of exercise or other, there’s no reason for you not to get on your bike and put the pedal to the floor.

It might be worth bookmarking Cycling UK’s Coronavirus Q&A page, which is updated regularly to reflect any changes in government advice that may take place over the coming weeks.

It is still advisable for people to cycle for their overall health, fitness and wellbeing, but in line with guidance that states you should only be doing this by yourself or with members of your own household, unless any of them need to self-isolate. Group activities with anyone outside your household should be avoided at all costs.

The charity has spoken to a range of different health experts to seek tips and help cyclists of all abilities, so if you have any questions it’s highly likely you’ll find the answers you’re looking for there.

Anyone over the age of 70 who wants to bike is being advised to proceed with caution, for example. The latest advice for this age group is to stay at home for the next 12 weeks to protect yourself against infection but if you need to go out for a walk or a bike ride, choose a route where you’re unlikely to meet anyone else, or go at a quieter time to reduce exposure risks.

We’d love to hear how you’re all coping with lockdown and self-isolation so get in touch to let us know. And don’t forget to come and see us for mountain bike coaching in Wales once the restrictions have been lifted.