Night-time mountain biking at Coed Llandegla

I got away to Wales this weekend to spend the night mountain biking at One Planet Adventure in the Coed Llandegla (Llandegla Forest, in Welsh). The guys there very kindly offered to take me around their red and black trails in the dark to help me write a feature for the Observer.

It was a tough couple of hours for my legs and lungs, but was also some of the most mentally challenging riding I’ve ever done. Reacting to terrain like that with just a second or two’s notice (even high-end Hope lights will only cast that far) takes its toll, but does make you feel like you’re going a million miles per hour.

Often, the light won’t point where you’re going, so you have to trust that you’ll manage to take whatever springs into view at the speed you’re going. One big advantage is that when you’re on northshore sections, you have no idea how long the drop is. What you can’t see can’t hurt you. Unless you fall off.

Many thanks to Ian and the rest of their group for their time and patience. It was a night to remember, and if you’re ever in the area I suggest you check them out. They have miles of great trails, but also offer tuition, bike rentals/sales and a damn fine cup of tea.

I would say more, but I must away and write this feature. I’ll post a link when it’s up.

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Mountain biking on a Penny Farthing

Mountain biking is forking into an ever-expanding number of niches, and the bikes are constantly changing to reflect this.

But forget cross-country, trials, downhill and freeride – the next big thing could be Penny Farthings.

Sure, they don’t have brakes, and even if they did they’d tip you head over heels at the lightest jab of the lever, but they do look like fun. Continue reading