THE TGO BEGINNERS GUIDE TO MOUNTAIN BIKING

Chris Evans from Plas y Brenin highlights the advantages of swapping your boots for a bike – and offers 10 tips for beginners

Illustration photo of THE TGO BEGINNERS GUIDE TO MOUNTAIN BIKING

THE HIGHS AND LOWS enjoyed when hillwalking can be very similar to those experienced mountain biking – the enjoyment of being active in the outdoors and experiencing local wildlife and scenery. Here I’m going to suggest some reasons why every now and again, you might choose to leave the boots behind and don a pair of wheels for a refreshing change.

[1] SEE MORE SCENERY

As it is possible to cover a lot of ground in a day when travelling by mountain bike, the areas, scenery, wildlife and views that you take in can vary dramatically. One of my favourite rides here in North Wales starts at sea level in Abergwyngregyn, giving you stunning views of the Menai Straits, then heads up through Aber forest next to the mightily impressive waterfall and opens up as you continue your climb all the way up to the summit of Drum.

Due to the surroundings this relatively short ride, normally a quick blast after work, can change in atmosphere by the minute. If you are thinking you could walk this in a day and still enjoy the same sensational experiences, you are quite right. However, on a bike there is one huge advantage: the descent!

A big descent from a mountain summit to forest single-track to open, rolling grassy slopes is a truly exhilarating experience – and there’s no need to rush. Taken slowly, descents on mountain tracks allow you to stop and admire the view any time you like.

[2] GIVE YOUR BODY A REST

If done correctly, mountain biking can mean less wear and tear on your body. With hillwalking it’s mainly descending that can damage knees, hips and ankles through a repetitive jarring motion.

If your bike is set up propertly then it’s your wheels of steel (probably aluminium or carbon now) that take the punishment.A day out on the bike can be a great rest for certain niggling injuries, allowing you to enjoy the outdoors and give that troublesome body-part a rest.

[3] GET THE FAMILY INVOLVED