Mountain Biking has undergone an explosion in popularity in the United Kingdom, encompassing everything from children's first bikes, to riding trails in the local parks and all the way up to it becoming an adventurous and thrilling extreme sport. People now are travelling all over the nation to visit some of the more challenging or enjoyable tracks, some visitors are even flying in from overseas to tackle some of the great British trails. If you're going to travel to pursue your passion in mountain biking then be sure to compare prices before booking hotels, you don't want to be out of money when you need to replace a wheel!
Britain's Greatest Trail
Thirty miles south of Edinburgh on the Scottish Borders lies Glentress Forest. A self-proclaimed "Mountain Biking Mecca," Glentress sits in the heart of the stunning Tweed Valley. As one of the largest and most looked after series of trails, Glentress has something to offer for every calibre of rider. From learning toddlers to grizzly veterans, the course offers Green and Blue to Red and Black graded trails. The local area is built around the tourism to Glentress, with accommodation displaying "biker friendly" signs and discounts are thick in the water for those with a keen eye to see. The course also has bike hire for those travelling long distances and repairs for the inevitable bumps. If you leave Glentress with the biking bug, you can even buy one of their expertly crafted mountain bikes.
Designed by a local engineer, the trails are considered the pinnacle of diversity for all things mountain bike. Great care has been taken to ensure that all of the courses are navigable in bad weather, although it's a braver man than I who cycles the mountain top paths in a downpour. For those of you who enjoy the thrill and speed of a ride rather than the technical courses, the famous Innerleithen Red Bull downhill course is but a short hop (or ride) away. Glentress is more than a day trip, you could spend a month here and still be discovering hidden paths and short cuts. Make sure that you compare prices before booking hotels, speak to the course owners or the locals and ring around the offered accommodation. Scotland is known for its down-to-earth folk and it isn't beyond the realms of possibilities to barter for a bed!
In general, the courses which garner the most praise from mountain bikers are the challenging, technical and exciting trails. These can be dangerous to those not fully comfortable or confident on the saddle. Don't try courses beyond your abilities. Mountain biking is full of risks and the thrill is in the danger, but it's never worth injuring yourself if it jeopardises your ability to ride in the future. Practice vigilance and listen to other riders, they'll be able to tell you which tracks are gentle and which are particularly gruesome which you should avoid at all costs.