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Mountain biking holidays and breaks
are mountain biking holidays?
This category lists holidays and courses that involve
the use of a mountain bike, usually off-road and on tracks, dirt
trails, double and single track mountain bike routes, and cross-country
including back-country mountain biking. These holidays and
tours will be for users of dedicated mountain bikes. Road bike
tours and cycling holidays are covered is a separate section.
you need for a mountain bike holiday?
Apart from the bike which can either be your
own mountain bike or, in many cases, can be hired from the tour
company you'll need: water bottle or hydration system (it's
thirsty work, particularly those uphills!), bike tools, pump, spares
and repair kit. Many tour operators will hire out some of this equipment,
which can save a lot of hassle if you are doing a trip in some of
the more remote parts of the world.
An essential is a well fitting helmet, standard or
full face; these days many mountain biking companies make a point
of asking you to use an approved helmet e.g. CE approved
in Europe (look for CE stickers), ANSI or Snellin the US and Canada
(look for Consumer Product Safety Commission [CPSC] or Canadian
Safety Association [CSA] stickers).
The rest of the gear you'll need will depend on your
destination and the climate and weather you are likely to encounter.
In general we'd recommend wicking layers, the number of which can
be varied according to the temperature, padded cycle leggings, trousers
or shorts and a waterproof and/or windproof jacket. Mountain biking
can be a muddy experience, so plenty of changes may be required
unless you are going for the hard mountain man look!
Cycling gloves are an essential, they'll help prevent
blisters and compression of the nerves in your hands, as well as
offering some protection in falls.
Shatterproof sunglasses or goggles are needed to protect
your eyes from the sun dust and passing branches.
Cycling shoes are not essential, particularly when
you are just starting mountain biking, but they do have advantages,
for example stiffer soles (for better transfer of energy), tougher
exterior and short or covered laces (to avoid tangles with the crank).
If you are not using dedicated cycling shoes go for something stiff
soled, with a good grip and probably something that that you don't
mind getting muddy.
If you are worried about how your body will stand
up to likely falls you may also want to consider additional padding,
this can be anything from shin guards, elbow and kneepads to some
of the high tech padded clothing produced especially for sports
like mountain biking and snowboarding.
Finally don't forget a first aid kit, suncream and
a seat bag, or small backpack to put things in.
The majority of mountain bike holidays are run as
day tours and use comfortable hotel, chalet or B&B accommodation,
so you can take as little or as much additional kit as you like.
It's a different story if you are doing a trip to a remote area
or a multi-day mountain bike tour and here it is best to be guided
by the kit list provided by the tour company.
a mountain bike holiday company
These days mountain bike holidays are available in
a huge variety of locations, from wild mountain areas, to deserts,
to forest trails near popular tourist areas.
If you are UK based there is plenty on your doorstep,
with dedicated mountain biking trails being set up across the country
North Wales and Scotland have some great locations.
The UK is also good for trying out mountain biking on a weekend
In Europe the Alps are popular and trips there often
offer the benefit of powered uplift on the ski lift systems, as
well as some tremendous and very exhilarating descents! Similar
advantages can also be had in North American ski areas.
Or why not go further afield to South America, Tibet,
India, Australia, New Zealand ...
As well as the location you'll also need to consider
the level of the trip. Most companies offer a range from beginner
upwards, some more structured and geared towards skills training
(e.g. training for riding single track), while others are more about
journeys on the bike and just having fun! One or two companies specialise
in testing trips for experienced riders too.
See details of mountain biking leadership qualifications
on the cycling holidays and cycle
touring breaks page.
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biking holidays >>