Your time is really limited. Heaps of demands being thrown at you left & right so you want to spend it wisely and find the best places to ride. Let me show you where they are…
Ok so you have decided you want to go for a mountain bike ride but where you actually go?
You’ve got your bike ready.
You’ve got gear your ready.
You are really excited to finally go mountain biking, but where do you actually ride?
And to top it off you have heard a few stories about people being pulled up for not doing the right thing and riding on private property or places where they are not supposed to be.
Well today I’m going give you a few tips about where to ride.
There in many many great places to ride here in Australia, but there are also many places where we need to steer clear of.
Depending on where you live there could be areas where you maybe able to get permission to ride such as –
- privately owned farmland,
- council owned bushland,
- state forest and also
- some sections of National Park which also maybe specifically allocated and set aside just for mountain biking. It is important to do some research to make sure that where you going is the right place to ride. There’s nothing worse to turn up to a place after travelling quite some distance to get there only to find you are unable to get access or that you are really in the wrong place, as it maybe private property and someone puts the skids under you.
This not a great way to start your mountain biking journey and also gives mountain bikers a bad name.
To start off you could –
- do a google search and see where are people riding in your area,
- talk to some friends that are already riding as they might give you a few pointers or
- contact the local mountain bike club (if there is one in your area). Here is a link to mountain bike clubs around Australia
- here are links to mountain bike trails around Australia
When you are starting to ride a mountain bike it is important to find appropriate terrain that suits your ability.
The riding the terrain and level of difficulty can vary incredibly off-road.
Firstly you can have –
- Fire trails which are typically gravel roads that a wide enough for a vehicle to drive up and down,
- Overgrown tracks that maybe old fire trails that have not been well maintained and are only wide enough for a rider and a walker and then you can have
- Singletrack which are the highlight of most mountain bikers rides. These are typically only walking track in width (hence the name “singletrack”) but they provide heaps of different obstacles to maneuver in and out of such as trees rocks and bushand. These also require a very high level of technical riding ability to ride without running into anything and crashing.
Ride to your ability
It’s very very important to start mountain bike riding in an area that is suited to your riding ability. As I mentioned earlier there’s a whole range of different tracks and trails as well as different surfaces, gradients and quality of trails.
The track or trail surfaces may vary greatly from –
- quite hard packed gravel to a very loose gravel surface
Both of these surfaces mean your mountain bike will perform very very differently as you could imagine. A loose gravel surface can become more slippery and difficult to get traction and cornering and climbing requires a lot more skill and practice.
- Other surfaces may include hard or soft packed sand which also requires different levels of skill. Riding across soft sand can become very slippery, can also be very difficult to steer and may cause your bike to slow down or even stop when you’re trying to ride across it. This can cause you to loose balance and fall off your bike.
- Other surfaces include mud which requires different levels of skill to ride through (or around) and rocks. These can become very very slippery in wet weather particularly in situations like creek crossings where the base of the creek may be covered in rocks, particularly if they’re covered in slime or moss.
Trail surfaces in the bush or off-road can also become very eroded with rain and unless they are well maintained, they can become very very washed out or what is called rutted. This can turn a once easy trail into one that is very difficult to ride and would require a high level of ability to navigate along, down or up a trail like this.
In this circumstances like these please take note to approach trails like this with caution otherwise this may lead to you loosing balance, crashing, falling off and injuring yourself.
I remember when I was starting, out this did occur to me on more than one occasion. Not only do you hurt yourself and damage your bike, but also puts quite a dent in your ego when you’re riding with your friends and your accident becomes the centre of their jokes for weeks to come.
Hills also provide a swag of challenges for mountain bikers when climbing and for riding downhill. Both of these require their own technical skills and climbing in particular also requires an additional level of fitness.
As I mentioned earlier there are many many places to ride and some you may have not thought of that may not be too far from home particularly State Forest and some special areas of National Park. Details for access to these areas are generally placed on National Park websites. Here is a few links to National Parks around Australia.
This outlines areas suitable for vehicles including mountain bikes. They will also indicate areas that do not allow mountain bikes. These will be clearly marked signage at or near the National Park. Please take note of the signs as National Park Rangers do not look favorably to mountain bikers when they are caught riding in areas of National Park where they are not supposed to be. And may also issue fines.
Having said this there are many many great places to ride in Australia and other countries.
So do a bit of research of your local area before you actually go out to ride, and always ride in conditions and areas that suit your ability.
I know you guys will love mountain biking as much as I do.
Have a great day guys I know I will.
About The Author
Rod Bucton, mountain bike fanatic from Mid North Coast, New South Wales Australia…discover the shortcuts to mountain biking for beginners and while you’re at it follow Rod on Facebook or Instagram.
Like any sport, bicycling involves risk of injury and damage. By choosing to ride a bicycle, you assume the responsibility for that risk, so you need to know — and to practice — the rules of safe and responsible riding and of proper use and maintenance. Proper use and maintenance of your bicycle reduces risk of injury.