Today we are talking all about my favourite subject Mountain biking.
For this post, Halfords have asked me to answer some questions - you can check out their range of mountain bikes here!. As you will see further down I recommend the Boardman range. But first I want to share their awesome beginner's guide to mountain biking
Now that you are well versed in mountain biking from the guide lets talk about me and biking.
How did you first get into mountain biking?
I had just moved in with my husband. He was a sponsored kayaker turned policeman. I worked at the police station. We were looking for something to do together and there was no way I was getting in the freezing highland water for no-one.
My work had the cycle to work scheme and this seemed perfect. My first bike was about £500 Merida. It was good for fire roads but not much else. The next year when the cycle to work scheme renewed. (you can take out a yearly policy) The police had included Halfords in the scheme Yes, I got my all singing all dancing full suspension Boardman bike. I named her Boardie and I loved that bike. I could do trails I never thought I could do. She came all over with me from the UK to France. The day I sold that bike I was so sad. I am not going to lie I had a cry.
How do you encourage others to get into Mountain Biking?
I talk to everyone and anyone about biking. From kids to adults. I started biking in my 20s again after childhood. I was nervous and I bike mainly with boys. To be honest part of me will always be a tomboy but there is nothing like the look on a man's face when he thinks this little blonde girl can't do that trail and here I come. Ready or not I will try it. LOL, all the boy are super supportive.
It is perfect for everyone. Unlike running it will not cause long-term damage to muscles. I am a qualified sports masseuse. once you have been on your bike you will get addicted. It is just so much fun plus a really good work out to. The health benefits are amazing. tell me another form of exercise which is so much fun?
can you tell me a bigger buzz than mountain biking? No, I didn't think so I want to encourage everyone to get on there bike and come have some fun in the forests and mountains.
What did you do today? Climbed a mountain then biked down it. the best adrenaline buzz in the world.
Why should a beginner consider mountain biking?
If you are looking to get into cardio but are a bit scared and want to get into it gently there really is no better way. Mountain biking is brilliant for helping to clear your mind. In this day and age we can all get too in our heads. Taking a 20-minute spin can really help you find your peace and bring balance back.
I get asked a lot why I bike. As it's not really a girls sport. I hate when people say that to me. A girl can kill it. Look at Tahnee Seagrave and Rachel Atherton. I dare you to tell them they can not do it. Plus I love to bike. Like all sports, you have your ups and downs but a good day on your bike is worth 50 days of struggling.
The biking community is super friendly and supportive. if you fancy a ride or pointed in the right direction send me a message I am more than happy to help. What other sport will people stop what they are doing to check you are ok or give you an inner tube or help with your suspension.
Where are your favourite locations?
Oh no really. Ok, I will have to say I live near Fort William so Nevis range is awesome. There are lots of trail centre trails, local trails, and the world famous downhill track. which I have a season ticket for.
I love Glentress Peebles, I could spend a lifetime playing in the skills park there. I love the top section of the red trail. It is a jumper paradise. It has lots of super fun trails for people of all ability and styles.
There is nowhere that can compare to bike park wales. Not only is it uplift. ( you get a van to the top, your bike goes on a trailer, so no pedalling) There is everything from Blues to double blacks. This to me is heaven. I love a fast flowy blue trail. Nothing beats flying down a berm or over a rocky path. Knowing You have no pedalling to get back up to the top to do it all again.
What are your top tips for beginners?
First and foremost have fun.
Biking doesn't have to be expensive but Please buy good safety gear. halfords has an awesome range and doesn't be frightened to pop into a store, they will be more than willing to tell you, what you need. Remember safety is super important. Never cycle on the road without having highviz and don't take any unnecessary risks.
My basics kit for mountain biking.
A good fitting helmet. My head is tiny, I have no shame in saying some of my kits is kids but it protects me better. Yes, call me pea head. ha
Knee and elbow pads. You will fall off. You need to be protected. Most of the time you will laugh and be fine but if the worst happened be protected.
Good gloves. After your first ride, you will thank me.
On that note good padded tights. If you haven't been on a bike in a while this is the difference between a very sore bum the next day and be fine. believe me. I really like Boardman women's capri pants £35. Comfy and no sore bum perfect for us girls and I am told the men's version is just as good.
Please do not do anything you are not comfortable with. There is a reason the trails are graded. If you are a beginner there is no harm in sticking to greens and blues. I have been biking for years and I love a good blue. Honestly, You will always find me on the blues no matter what stage I am at. I have to say the Fort William green is super fun too.
Why not have a coaching lesson? It will help with confidence and give you a great start at biking. I am away on a full coaching weekend on Friday. That's the best thing about biking you are always learning new things and meeting new people.
Join a group whether it's your local mountain biking group or a Facebook group. You will feel supported. Support is so important in building confidence plus making new friends with the same interest is also awesome.
What are your favorite mountain bike memories?
Another tough question Halford,
I have a lot of them.
The first time I conquered the box in Glentress. I was looking at it a few times before I did it, Then I just did it. I felt so proud of myself. I have a fear of small heights yes, I know its weird but I do. Every day I bike I get a bit closer to it being cured. I hate gondolas but I have to go on them to bike. It is my biggest fear and yet mountain biking makes me do it.
This is a jump at Nevis range it took a lot of time an patience from my friends to help me get over this. but I love that I can do it. another achievement ticked off.
I am not much of a racer, But a few years ago My friend Fi and I entered 10 under the Ben enduro mountain biking race (10-mile laps of one of the Fort William tracks) and came third. I did not really train for that I have to admit. but was delighted with the outcome.
I have loads of biking memories but most of them are just hanging out with friends. I have traveled Scotland, Wales, England, and France. This year we are spending a month in Andorra biking. I am super excited for that. But being with my friends outside on the wet muddy or dry and dusty trails is my favorite thing to do in the whole world. My husband laughs at me. I used to spend my money on makeup and hair not its biking short and new wheels.
I want to share with you about biking and our dogs. We got a Springador who loved to come biking with us. Her name is Millie. Unfortuanlty millie has mild hip dysplasia and can no longer come on big rides. She can do a couple of very slow miles. but this broke my heart as she loved it and I loved the company.
When we got married, As a wedding gift to our self, we got our little boy, Ok he's not little now. He is 4 and a dalmatian. My main reason for wanting another dog was if one of us was out on the trails alone we could always take him. His name is Mylo.
My husband and Mylo were out at some local built trails just playing about. My husband hit a tree and knocked himself out. He came round to Mylo licking his face. This is one of my favorite things I have been told. My husband says he wouldn't have known what to do if it wasn't for having Mylo with him.
Mylo loves biking even more than we do and he is such a good boy.
Fangirl moment my husband had Mylo up at Nevis range last year and Greg Minnaar (world famous downhill racer) asked if he could take a few selfies with him to send to his girlfriend. Minnaar won the Fort William downhill the next day. Its the running joke with our friends that Mylo helped him win. My husband is gutted he never asked for a photo of him with Mylo.
If you see a girl around Nevis range or any of the trails mentioned in Halford's guide who has a dalmatian Trail dog. It will be me, why not pop over and say hi? I am not the best mountain biker in the world but I do love it and every day I try a little bit harder and defo have more fun. So why not come join me on the trails for a bit of shredding?