Every month in MBUK we go on a Big Ride on an exclusively selected route from our resident routes expert Max Darkins. Max highlights all the info you’ll need to keep you on the right track as well as a whole load of detail on the experience you can expect to have if you give it a go – which obviously you should! So far this year he’s hit some amazing spots, each offering something different in the way of challenges. See if there’s one not far from you and give it a go before the year’s out. You can order back issues here to get hold of more details on the route.
The South Downs
These are a range of chalk hills covering 627 square miles near the south coast of England. Now a National Park, they offer around 750 miles of bridleways to explore. They’re known for big, open riding with amazing views but there’s some great forest singletrack too.
Our route takes in some interesting forest trails as well as the more familiar rolling Downs hillsides
Er chaps, I think you’re being followed…
This is what the South Downs are mainly about – rolling hills and views that go on for miles and miles
Situated between the West Midlands and Welsh border, Shropshire has nearly 3,500 square kilometres of rolling rural land and forests which are great for mountain biking. For our Big Ride we chose paths less ridden and discovered a ton of hidden singletrack that’s bags of fun to ride.
It’s tight and twisty through the trees – beware, those with wide bars!
The trails snake through pine trees on a carpet of green
It may take a while to find but the singletrack is well worth it in the end
Rhyd Ddu, Snowdonia
Pronounced ‘Hrreed Thee‘, this moody landscape can be found in Snowdonia National Park, which is located in north-west Wales and is home to Snowdon, the country’s highest peak. The weather round here can be very changeable, and once again it foiled us and we were unable to reach the summit. But that didn’t stop us – we still found some great riding around the base of the mountain.
Riding away from threatening skies amid a properly dramatic landscape
There’s plenty of climbing when riding in Snowdonia but the views are usually more than worth it
Wet slate and ominous, looming mountain ranges are pretty standard fare for riding in Snowdonia
Helvellyn, Lake District
The Lake District is a region and National Park in Cumbria in the north-west of England and has just been granted World Heritage status, which should tell you a lot about how beautiful it is. It’s packed with technical riding but watch out for sudden weather changes. We had a nightmare when a blizzard hit right while we were on top of the mountain and our day’s riding became a battle for survival.
Big, techy, rock-strewn descents are a feature of Lake District riding. Cracking view if you dare to look though!
The weather can be changeable on the tops of mountains. A blizzard kept us on our toes
Good job we packed extra warm clothing – the sudden change of weather nearly did for us on top of Helvellyn
Boreraig, Isle of Skye
Off the west coast of the Scottish Highlands, Skye is know for its dramatic landscapes, jagged Cuillin mountains, pretty fishing villages and historic castles. This ride in the south of Skye offered proper get-away-from-it-all riding with challenging trails and spectacular scenery, with not a soul for miles.
It’s a long way down for a quick dip – and too bloody cold anyway!
Once the climb is over, a fantastic place to stop and admire the stunning view
Big mountains? Check. Deep blue loch? Check. Soft-focus gorse foregound? Check. All the elements of a classic Isle of Skye photo luring you to come and ride
Yep, you heard us right, Milton Keynes. Perhaps not the first place that springs to mind for mountain biking, but just south of here there are some great new rooty trails to explore.
This is Milton Keynes. Well OK, close to Milton Keynes. Not a bad bit of dappled, wooded singletrack though, eh?
Almost a bit of dual slalom competitiveness coming out on the corners of Woburn Forest
You can just about make out the riders through the trees as they get ready to rip down the fast, flowing singletrack
There are four new routes for you to try in every issue of MBUK. Subscribe here.
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