Holidays mean different things to different people. Some of us like to spend two weeks in five-star luxury, rolling from the pool to the bar to the spa. Others want to take on a culture trip, heading to a big city and visiting museums and galleries to learn about other countries. If you like a little more excitement from your adventures, then mountain biking holidays could be for you. They are also possible for the whole family to be a part of.
Learning to ride a bike is one of the significant milestones in most of our lives, although some never actually get taught. Riding a bike gives you freedom and is something you can enjoy anywhere in the world. Mountain biking gives you even more of a feeling of freedom. Even on wet days, you come home with the biggest smile on your face! It also works all of your muscles and is excellent for cardiovascular exercising. Riding a mountain bike on a trail route is quite like HIIT as you will be pushing hard for short bursts on steep hills, then get breaks on flats or downhills. If you have the technique right, you will find you are burning calories and building muscles even on the downhill sections.
Before you head off searching for a mountain bike adventure, you do need to master a few of the basics. Across the world there are great family centres where you can get to grips with tackling tricky terrain, navigating berms and taking on small jumps or a pump track. Mountain bike centres are a little bit like ski centres. There are small areas for children or beginners to learn the basics then there are different routes you can head out on. These may be yellow, a family-friendly route, blue – which is a little more complicated, red, and black, which is the most technical.
Learning the technique will prepare you for riding anywhere, and it doesn’t take too long to get yourself to a level where you can be safe and confident. You should also make sure your fitness level is good, although you can now hire e-bikes from most holiday MTB centres.
Once you are all confident on a bike and can get yourself around a blue route with no issues, then it’s time to look at the kit you will need. Most MTB adventure holidays will provide you with all the essential items you need, from the bike to the safety gear, such as helmets and possibly gloves. However, some things will make riding much more enjoyable. Invest in a good pair of sports sunglasses; if you wear glasses, then prescription sunglasses are a great idea. Riding trails can throw up a lot of dust or mud, so investing in a good pair of lenses will help you keep your vision clear all day. You also need to have a small first aid kit and a good backpack. There are some great backpacks which you can keep water in and drink through a tube, and this will be a brilliant way of keeping everyone hydrated while riding. You should also invest in some energy gels; there are great ones on the market, including organic and vegan options. For children, taking gummies or other sugary sweets will help keep energy levels high.
When you have your kit, and you are confident you can all ride together, you can start looking at destinations for riding. Canada has some fantastic mountain bike trails and centres where you can stay for a week and get exploring. The Rocky Mountains are beautiful, and you can experience so many thrills while you are there. You may also find that you can do special rides where a tour guide can take out the children while you can take on some of the technical routes on your own.
The United Kingdom has some great mountain bike centres including a little place called The Forest Of Dean which is on the Welsh border. Although the weather can be a bit unpredictable, you will have an incredible visit. You will also have time to explore some of the other great things the country has to offer as it isn’t a vast country. So you could nip off to London and get to the heart of the culture.
Mountain biking holidays give you an adventure every day and will also make you feel fitter and healthier. So why not consider taking the family off and riding your way through some incredible countries?