I get asked a lot of question about mountain biking and I thought I would try and answer them just now for you.
How did you get into mountain biking?I got into mountain biking for real in my 20's, I was looking for a hobby to do with my boyfriend at the time, now husband. We wanted something outdoors. At the time I worked in Inverness in the police and I was discussing this with my Sergeant. He suggested we got mountain bikes on the cycle to work scheme. This was the start of my passion. From the day I picked up my first proper mountain bike I have been hooked. So In away it is all my old sergeant's fault. I am joking of course.
Why do you love mountain biking?I love the freedom and the feeling of achievement. With mountain biking, there is always something new to learn or master. Every trail is different and requires different skills from beginner green trail up to the downhill tracks. I love that there is something of everyone in mountain biking. I love being out in the mountains I am after all a highland lassie and I love nothing more than leaving the world behind and concentrating on the amazing trails in front of me.
I also love the physical side of mountain biking is awesome too. There is nothing quite like the calorie burn you get from a good day in the mountains. You forget you are working out as you are having so much fun. I really recommend it for getting fit and find fun in fitness.
How does it make you feel?For me, mountain biking is not just about the physical challenge. I find mountain biking helps my mind and mental health. There is something so refreshing about getting out in the hills with just the trails and your friends for company. It really helps calm my busy mind. If you have been following me for a while you will know I suffer from mental health issues and getting out on the bike really me.
How grateful are you for your Scottish trail?
I am so lucky to live near Fort William and it's famous trail centre Nevis range. I don't think I would be the rider I am without this being on my doorstep. There is such a huge range of trails in my area not just Nevis range but lots of local trails built by some amazing trail builders. We have everything from fast and flowy trails to steep and rooty. It is heaven up here for mountain bikers.
Scotland has some of the best ridings in the UK. I know I am completely biased but it is true. We have so many awesome places to explore. From Torridon in the north to the seven stanes in the south we are a bit spoilt up here.
Must have pieces of kit?
A good well-fitting helmet is a must. It is not the law to wear a helmet when riding but I have to say this is a law I would like to see. I have had a lot of big crashes and been saved by my helmet.
A well-maintained bike.
You do not need the best or most expensive bike to hit the trails. Do not get me wrong-a nice bike is amazing but when you are starting out it is more important to make sure you look after your bike. Keep on top of washing and lubing your chain. Get it serviced. If there is a fault dont ride on it. It can cause you an injury.
Buy knee pad. You will not regret this purchase. They have saved my legs on many occasion. From falling on fire roads to the downhill track protect your self.
Save you hand from you constantly gripping the bars. Not only that but they will keep you warm
a waterproof jacket is a must as a beginner. The mountain are unpredictable and being caught without a jacket can lead to a very wet and cold ride back to the car.
I love to wear clear glasses when I ride this stops any mud from getting in your eyes.
What would you never leave home without?
I have used Sudocrem my whole life. It has many names in my household from the soother to magic cream this is a must for any mountain biker. I have had Sudocrem in my kit bag for as long as I have been biking. Right now I have the My Little Sudocrem in my kit bag These little pots are the perfect amount to have with you on the trails. What is Sudocrem? I am pretty sure you all know of this magic cream but in case you don't, it is an antiseptic healing cream. It is amazing at soothing any kind of injury like cuts and scrapes.
I have used this to heal many ailments
- Saddle sores -Too much time in the saddle can lead to saddle sores
- Ingrown hair -Yes these happen with lots of cycling due to the friction
- Gravel rash - Falling off hurts
- Glove rub - after a particularly hard ride with lots of grabbing the bars
- Cuts and scraps - these happen. you don't know annoying pain until you clip your pedal
- On my trail dog- Mylo loves to roll in the heather and get cuts and scraps
- As a chamois cream- sometimes you need a little something to stop the rubbing
If you fancy buying your biking friends or any friend a cute My Little Sudocrem tub. You can even get it personalised. You can have a name put in there or a nickname or why not biker? The choice is yours. I think would make the perfect and practical gift for anyone and it is only £5.99. Click the link above to buy your own.
I am always surprised when people don't carry Sudocrem with them. It is as I have said a magic cream so carry that magic with you on your adventures.
What bikes do you ride?
My main bikes is a Hope technology HB130 mountain bike. I am a very lucky woman and part of the ambassador scheme. There will be a full post on this soon.
My downhill bikes is a Vitus Dominer. I also have a custom-built hardtail and a Genesis Zeal road bike.
Advice for a newbie?
Get out there and ride. The best thing you can do is go out and have fun on the trails. Start by mastering the basic skills this will make progression so much easier. Why not try joining your local biking group or having some coaching. Also, join some Facebook groups. I find them really supportive. I am always happy to talk biking so send me a message and I can point you in the right direction.
I hope you have enjoyed this post and I hope to see you out on the trails soon.