As part of our ’12 days of Christmas’ we thought it would be great to share some trail side tips! So please sit back and enjoy as Sean from Marmalade MTB shows us how to repair a split in your tyre wall with none other than a toothpaste tube! Trail side repairs can help get you out of a sticky situation or a long, long, long walk to the car!
Hiring a bike is always an option when going abroad, but hire costs can be expensive and if you are like me your faithful bike is set up how you like it and no ‘hire’ bike can quite compare. Fortunately, there are many ways to take your bike abroad – here are just a few options to consider.
This post comes on a day when I have spent, the best part of the day packing up my bike ready to fly to Romania for the Carpathian Stage Race. I am flying with my bike and borrowed a bike bag of a friend. It’s a Evoc bag with wheels making life easier to wheel it about. There are other ways to travel abroad with your bike so below is some information on what else you could do:
Travelling by car
If you’re travelling abroad by car, you could consider getting a bicycle rack fitted. A bicycle rack can be fitted on the roof or on the boot of your car. Both types of rack have their advantages and disadvantages – roof racks allow easy access to the boot but will add height to your vehicle, whilst boot racks won’t affect the height of your vehicle but will limit access to the boot. Consider which one is more practical for you.
If you like to go on family bike trips abroad, you could even consider investing a caravan or a motor home that will allow to carry multiple bicycles. Caravans could allow accommodation on the move as well, saving you money on hotels. You can look into local caravan storage if you don’t have space outside your home to park your caravan and you can even rent out your caravan when not using it to make some extra money. Pickup trucks and vans are other good options for carrying multiple bike racks.
Travelling by Eurostar
An alternative option could be to take the Eurostar to Europe. By booking ahead, you can reserve a space for your bike on the same train as you – not booking ahead could mean waiting for your bike for several hours on the other end whilst an available space is found. There’s a fee of £30 for taking you bike on the Eurostar. If you’ll willing to bag or box up you bike, it will count as oversized luggage and only cost you £25 – however this can entail dismantling your bike.
Travelling by air
It’s also possible to fly with a bike, which could be useful if you’ve got plans for a cycle trip further afield. Different airlines charge different rates for taking a bike – in some cases it’s free, whilst the likes of Ryanair and Easyjet charge £15. Most airlines require you to bag or box up your bike. Bagging it up in a see-through bike bagBox My Wheels are also a great option, where you hire a bike box for your trip.
Plan ahead when getting to an airport – if you’re taking the train to an airport and need to go via the London Underground, you may find that some lines don’t permit you to bring a bike.
Travelling by ferry
Taking a ferry is one of the more convenient methods of travelling abroad by bike. Most ferry operators charge only £5 and it’s a simple case of rolling it on and locking it up. If you’re taking a foot passenger ferry, be wary that your bike could be stored on the outside of the boat exposed to the elements, so make sure it’s well locked and consider taking off any luggage you may have with you.
Nothing quite gets your heart racing like mountain biking, hitting the trails, zipping along on two wheels through singletrack.
As a beginner it can be a challenge to navigate through wheel sizes, suspension set ups and handle bar length. I remember my first mountain biking adventure as a 10-year-old riding my ridged Raleigh bike from Halfords on a holiday to Slovakia with my Dad and Step Mum.
Sometimes the hills were so steep my Dad had to tie a rope to the front of my bike and ‘tow’ me up them! But I loved the singletrack and the exhilarating feeling of racing downhill, trees whooshing by as my mountain bike gripped the ground with its knobbly tyres.
I like to think my skill level on a mountain bike has improved since those early singletrack days! Here are my top tips for beginners looking to start mountain biking:
Go to a bike demo! Before spending your hard earned pennies on a bike, it is worth riding a few to see what works for you. The best way to do this is at a bike demo day or hiring a bike so you can really test it. Riding around a shop car park is not going to help you know if that mountain bike is the right one for you, far better to go and get it muddy! Your local bike shop and trail centres are good places to start on finding demo days.
A quality bike helmet is one of the most vital bits of kit you can buy. Making sure it fits properly is the next step, you should be able to get two fingers between the top of your helmet and your eye brows, the plastic pieces on the straps should be a cm under your ear lobes, this stops the helmet rolling back and the chin strap if you look down should be tight enough to keep the helmet in place but not so tight that you can’t breathe.
So, Bike, check. Helmet, check. I would also recommend getting a good pair of biking gloves and safety glasses to protect your hands and eyes.
So you’re ready to hit the trails! Mountain biking is great fun and these next few tips will help you enjoy your time on the bike.
Move around the bike – mountain bike tyres are knobbly so they grip the ground, don’t pump them up rock hard unless your planning on riding on the road or up steep hills, this will give you more grip and with it more confidence in your mountain bike. Practise leaning forward, backwards and side to side when you ride on non-technical ground to feel how the bike handles. Moving around your bike helps keep it flowing down the trails.
2. Cornering – When cornering your mountain bike do all your braking before the corner, enter the corner wide and exit on the inside. Look around the corner and use the banking (berms) to help carry your bike around the corner.
3. Look ahead – Riding through singletrack, obstacles will appear quickly as you glide through the trees, to be able to react and look for the smoothest line you need to look ahead down the trail.
Mountain Biking Utah
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Hi sorry for the lack of blogging lately I have been working on a really exciting project and it has taken up a lot of time. More on that to follow….
My next guest post is by Jayne who I met on the Whole Earth video shoot with Challenge Sophie. Jayne has been on some incredible bike packing adventures and is a wild camping expert! So I thought it would be great if she could share with us a wild camping, bike packing story.
I’m a 33 year old northern lass living in London who loves to escape the city. I was introduced to hiking and camping about five years ago and it soon consumed my weekends and holidays. Then three years ago I started cycling and last year chased my dream of going on a long bikepacking trip.
I quit my job after ten years in the IT industry and set off for the Scottish Hebrides islands for a solo twelve week trip which entailed many nights of wild camping along beautiful secluded coastlines. There is nothing quite like the feeling of waking up surrounded by the sights and sounds of nature and you don’t always have to go on a long trip or holiday to enjoy a night of wild camping.
My first wild camping experiences happened back in 2015 when a friend and I decided to embark upon a year of Microadventures which involved a wild camp night once a month on a ‘school night’.I was very lucky to have a friend crazy enough to join me because it can be a daunting prospect to consider going out for your first wild camp with someone, let alone doing it solo. So, when I saw a post on the Adventure Queens Facebook group earlier this month from someone wanting some company on their first wild camp, I jumped at the chance to help a fellow camper and to make a new friend.
This is the story of our camp out in the New Forest