Earlier this year I made a silly decision to roll my ankle quite badly, rendering walking and running impossible for a bit. Obviously I took the right amount of rest, but when I was able to I attempted to find some exercise that would work for me. With Dr W being a keen mountain biker I thought it would be fun to give it a go myself.
Now, it had been over a decade since I’d last ridden a bike. Despite the long break from bike riding, I did eventually get the hang of gear changes again… Since summer I have successfully ridden a mountain bike outside on the trails a fair few times this year. Now getting into or back into riding can be scary, so I thought I’d share this post with some tips for anyone else thinking of hitting the trails for the first time in a while or ever!
#1 You don’t need to rush out to buy a bike
With the whole covid/brexit/supply chain issues buying a mountain bike is almost impossible at the moment, unless you’re willing to wait a while. Also you might just be trying for the first time ever, so why would you buy a bike just yet?! I’m not in the position to buy a bike yet either, so I have been hiring bikes for the day. Most centres will give you a helmet and puncture repair kits to borrow for the day as well with your hire. You can spend anything from £30 for the day for a basic hardtail or a bit more for something fancier. I did hire an e-bike in Dorset and that was super fun! After cycling a few times though, I have invested in my own helmet and knee pads – safety first!
#2 Head to a specialist trail centre
Obviously hiring a bike kinda ties you into this. But maybe you do have a bike but haven’t been out for ages. The joy of a trail centre is that it’s always fairly easy to get back to the start, there’s usually a cafe (cake is a MUST when riding) and well signed trails. We live near to the Forest of Dean, so this is somewhere we head to quite a bit. Not only is there the family cycle route, which is about 10 miles of fairly smooth cycling. They also have marked trail runs – blue, red and more advanced trails. You can often also seek tuition at these trail centres, if you’re looking to level up your skills.
#3 Take your time
Not ridden in ages and the slightest downhill looks terrifying? Or maybe out of puff on a hill? Don’t worry, take your time. Take in the surroundings and enjoy yourself. We like to have a mid way snack point on our long rides, which are quite nice for taking stock of what you’ve done and having a little rest. Everyone has to start somewhere, so don’t worry about these breaks!