CTC - MTB Bikes (Mountain Biking)

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'Hit the Hills' - fully-catered weekends for mountain bikers

Bored of staying in stale bunkhouses, run down hotels or chintzy B&Bs? Fed up of eating basic food made without any pride? Struggling to come up with new destinations to go riding? Want to have a great weekend and meet new people? Christian Newsome may have the solution.
Hit the Hills for a great mountain biking weekend

We talk to Christian Newsome, the founder of Hit the Hills.
What is Hit the Hills?
Hit the Hills offers catered weekends in the best mountain biking locations in the UK.
How do you do that?


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Is Trail Riding Damaging the Environment?

Mountain biking causes some wear and tear to trails, but is it any more damaging than walking? Or horse riding? Jon Sparks investigates
Trail erosion

When trails become eroded, mountain bikers often get the blame. I wonder about this. Is it fair? Having ridden certain trails several times myself, am I partly responsible? Well, mountain bikes certainly can cause trail erosion. But then all outdoor activities can cause erosion. Walking certainly can.

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Off-Road Group Riding

Group riding off-road is great – unless someone gets lost… CTC Off-road’s Dan Cook suggests ways to stay together and, at worst, regroup.
off road group riding

You’re out in the hills with half a dozen friends, pausing for breath at the top of a climb while taking in the view. As you get ready to set off, someone says: ‘Hang on a minute. Where’s Jon?’ Maybe he’s walking up the hill with a flat he can’t mend? Maybe he got fed up and went home? Perhaps he thought everyone turned left halfway up? Or maybe he’s fallen off and is lying in a ditch…

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Trail Centres

In a little over 15 years, purpose-built UK trail centres have transformed mountain biking – and mountain bikes. Outdoor writer Jon Sparks assesses their pros and cons, and wonders how they’ll develop further.
Trail centres

Trail centres range from well-developed hubs like Glentress and Coed-y-Brenin, which have cafés, bike shops, bike hire and a wide range of trails, to other spots with a few kilometres of trail and a car park. The unifying factor is the existence of purpose-built cross-country trails, often graded like ski runs: green, blue, red and black (green being easiest, black hardest).

To read the full magazine article, please click on the PDF below.

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Hydration Packs

How else would you carry three litres of water, tools, snacks and a spare jacket on your mountain bike? Mike Davis reviews four backpacks
Hydration packs

Camelbak introduced its first hydration pack in the early 1990s. The idea of carrying water on your back instead of in bottles seemed outlandish at first. But it made sense for off-road riding. It's a lot easier to grab a tube and suck than get hold of a bottle on uneven ground, and a bottle carried on the frame is considerably more likely to end up covered in unpleasant substances thrown up by the wheels.

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MTB Trail Grading Guide

This is your easy reference guide to the colour-coded grading system used for cross country singletrack trails.
Trail cyclist

MTB Trail Grading Guide

Cross country singletrack trails at dedicated mountain bike centres use a grading system to inform riders of the difficulty of their various trails.

As good as any grading system may be, trail surfaces will vary throughout the year - and particularly during or after heavy rain. If in doubt, speak to the rangers, or stop and walk through a section.

Mountain biking is a potentially hazardous activity carrying a significant risk. Always ride within your own abilities.


Gosford Forest Park

"Not only a fantastic cycle trail but a wonderful forest filled with incredible flora and fauna. The trail combines forest roads with two short sections of single track. The trail is suitable for cyclists with basic off-road cycling skills and should take an average of 1 hour to complete."


Gortin Glen Forest Park

For further information on Gortin Glen Forest Park MTB trails, please contact:

Forest Service Headquarters
Dundonald House
Upper Newtownards Road

Tel: 028 9052 4480
Fax: 028 9052 4570

Email: customer.forestservice@dardni.gov.uk

Rostrevor Forest

"Popular with XC and DH bikers alike, with great climbs and mental descents, some great sections of singletrack. Extensive Forest from Slievemartin to Rocky Mountain, and a great place to start an epic."

East of Warrenpoint, signposted from Newry or Newcastle on the A2. Park in Rostrevor village or Kilbroney Park, which has a cafe at the car park

Blessingbourne Estate

"Launched in 2011 as Northern Ireland's premier Mountain Bike venue, Blessingbourne offers testing single track riding and family friendly route combinations. The Blessingbourne trails have been created by the world class Phil Saxena, course designer for the Beijing Olympics."


Blessingbourne Estate,
Co. Tyrone,
BT75 0QS
Northern Ireland

Tel: +44 28895 21188

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