It’s been a rough winter. Literally .. The big bad wolf Arwen came with her pack and blew the forests down. Like for most people of the woodland realm it was (without any pun intended) for us – devastating both personally and professionally.
However frustrating the lack of progress by Forestry Land Scotland has been in clearing up after this years storms it is ever more apparent that “need” is the mother of all invention and with some local knowledge and fortitude there is still a huge amount to keep us busy.
We had been meaning to go back to our roots (or routes perhaps) and head back up some of the more well trodden paths that got us hooked on the hills long before it was just about going up to plummet down the newest, steepest enduro trail. But, getting ever shorter on time and ever more blessed with winch and plummet enduro loops that give you your “fix” in a jiffy its proven a tricky habit to break and if you can get a motor to assist you … well that’s even better for the constraints of post COVID time management!
THE GOLDILOCKS EFFECT: THAT ONES TOO FAR, THAT ONES TO MUDDY, THAT ONES GOT TOO MANY TRESS DOWN!
The Three Brethren are a must see
We’ve all been here right? Particularly over the last couple of years when its been more difficult to go to new places, a known quantity is often the best compromise? But with so much opportunity at our finger tips to research routes is it necessary to compromise? No – is the short answer! But unless your blessed with a bunch of mountain leaders or locals as your ride crew or travelling companions the choice can be debilitating in it’s self and lets face it, trails/hills/forests change regularly with the weather!
So here’s our check list for making the most of changing the status quo and doing something different to your usual compromise:
- Rides that link trails or trail centres and ancient rights of way such as the Southern Upland way are a great option right now as there is probably less chance of them being impassable and more options to divert round any blockages.
- Big out and back rides can be a slog; changing weather, changes to the usual ground conditions or mechanicals can all make it take much longer than planned. Pick a route that has “bail out” options and is never that far away from a road. Routes that have a very well established trail or surface like the Southern Upland will help negate these possible spoilers. They are also well sign posted, meaning navigation skills are not 100% required 😉
- Adding electric motors into the mix will significantly increase your speed so you’ll go further faster and the whole group can ride at a similar speed. There is nothing more miserable than being the fastest or the slowest in a group. However, remember fitness and body weight are the 2 biggest factors.
- If you really want to maximise your time and have a level of sloping shoulders (no one really likes being the organiser, navigator and customer care representative) then consider a guide. Not only will they probably be local and know what routes are suitable for you as a group but they’ll have a plan B, C and get out of jail free cards too. British Cycling qualified guides or MBL’s are going to be skilled in planning and delivering safe, memorable routes that take into consideration weather, group ability and accessibility. They will also be skilled in trail side fixes of a mechanical nature and have first aid training. From as little as £20 per person per day they are a sound investment to ensure you have a great day out.
If you’re interested in a guided ride please contact us: email@example.com and we can help you work up some options.
Below are links to our trusted partners Ridelines for guiding and Ebike Hire Scotland for Ebike hire. Remember all hotel guests can get a discount on bike hire and guiding… We also highly recommend our partners at MTB beds for spot on packages that show Europe’s finest destinations with great guides.
Thanks to Tony for the great video too!