Mountain biking is a true sport of endurance, and there’s nothing more rewarding than successfully completing a challenging trail after many attempts that involved taking a tumble. It’s important to remember that with this activity, you should expect to take a few falls.
Given the dangers inherent with this biking discipline, it’s important to remember that you need to stock up on the appropriate gear. Choosing the best bike for the job is the biggest battle, but you’ll also need cycling clothing designed specifically for mountain biking.
To make sure you’re prepared to tackle tough terrain in testing weather conditions, you’ll need shock-absorbing, water-resistant gloves, lightweight shorts that can accommodate knee pads, helmets, padding and specially-designed mountain biking shoes.
After you’ve purchased all the necessary kit, you’re probably aching to get started. Below, we’ll list some our favourite mountain biking spots around the UK.
This mountain is famous for being included in the three peaks challenge, and it’s also great for mountain bikers. Going up will prove to be very difficult, and you might be forced to dismount and push your bike in certain areas. However, all that hard work and effort is well worth it when it comes to trekking back down the mountain.
After you reach Bwlch Maesgwm, you’ll be biking all the way down to the lakeside town of Llanberis, and if you have the skills, you’ll be able to conquer the whole trail without getting off your bike. This trail isn’t for the lighthearted, but it’s a truly rewarding and unforgettable experience.
Ullswater, Lake District
The Lake District boasts some of the most magnificent scenic views the UK has to offer, and that makes it a perfect spot to enjoy a bit of mountain biking while enjoying the outdoors. The trail is only a total of eight miles long, and while you may think that’s not testing enough for your abilities, the terrain promises to give you a thorough workout.
Along this route, you’ll ride along a largely flat carriageway beside the river Ullswater. After you’ve left the river into a much quieter area, you’ll be faced with a testing steep climb back to Ullswater before enjoying a nice steady descent starting at Boredale Valley.
Cut Gate Path, Peak District
This beautiful destination features a few trails for you to take your pick from. It’s worth planning out your route before attempting to tackle it, especially if you’d like your trail to be a loop. If you want to enjoy fantastic views and scenery, you might want to try and head to peaks including Jacob’s Ladder and The Beast.
There’s no correct route to take and different mountain bikers make different claims. But mountain biking is all about the adventure, so you’ll have much more fun planning out your own route or routes and trying them out for yourself.
If you’re looking for a long trail that entails a variety of challenging terrain as well as magnificent natural sights, this might be your version of mountain biking heaven. It starts at Porlock, and after a steep climb, you’ll head along a friendlier track that goes through Horner Wood.
If you complete the full trail, you’ll be faced with more uphill ascents, adrenaline-fueled descents as well as rocky moorland and quiet roads. You’ll pass Dunkery Deacon, Stoke Pero, Hawkcombe head, Worthy Wood, Porlock Weir, Exford and Simonsbath.
That’s a lot of destinations and sights to see, so an early start is a must if you want to complete the largest trail.
Gunnerside Gill, Yorkshire Dales
One of Yorkshire’s nicknames is God’s County, and that’s largely thanks to the beautiful countryside the Yorkshire Dales has to offer. It’s a challenging ride that includes trekking over thick contours, gentle and steep climbs, tough moor terrain and – of course – those exciting downhill descents we all love.
Destinations you’ll see along your way include Surrender Bridge, Melbeck Moor, Old Gang Mines, and Benton Bush. It’s a challenging trail where you’ll have to be prepared to push your bike from time to time, especially where there are landslips. However, it’s a sight to behold, and you’ll probably want to return to this hot spot at some point in the future.
Nan Bield Pass, Lake District
This route is an infamous trail amongst avid mountain bikers, and the decent down Kentmere Common is one of the main reasons why. Reaching the point where you’ll start your decent is arguably the most challenging part of the ride but difficulty makes mountain biking all the more rewarding.
Be prepared to take on some challenging terrains, such as stone-filled carriageways, small streams, chutes that appear out of nowhere and testing runs. You’ll definitely need to keep your wits about you to tackle this trail with a good level of success, but it’s a trail that keeps the bikers returning year after year.
If you’re looking for a trail that’s not so overrun with hikers and mountain bikers, and you’d like to elevate to great heights without the endurance required for steep uphill ascents, Torridon might be the ideal trail for you.
The whole trek offers a decent level of grip, and reaching the highest point on the trail is achieved by traversing relatively simple gradual climbs. This is a forgiving trail for the inexperienced, and it might be the best place to go if you’re just starting out and want to get a taste of how great an experience mountain biking can be.
The UK is filled with magnificent trails to explore, and whether you’re at an almost professional level or just starting out, there’s a trail that’s perfect for you. Just make sure you don’t take mountain biking too lightly – you need to be vigilant and keep your eyes and brain focused, and you need to wear protective items of clothing just in case you take a tumble. As long as you apply some common sense, mountain biking is likely to become one of your favourite hobbies.