5 Tips on Introducing a Friend to the Mountain Bike Trails

Posted on June 27, 2018 @ 5:13 PM in Mountainbiking

We’re fascinated by how people get in to mountain biking. To those on the outside, it’s a sport for people who are indifferent to collarbone breaks, terrifying heights and bikes worth more than their cars.

Obviously there is some truth to that, but there’s also so much more. We’ve put together 5 tips on how to get your friends into this amazing sport. 


1. Start Small

"You mean we're going up THERE?!"

Picture it: You’ve finally convinced your friend to meet you at the trailhead. Rostrevor Mountain Bike Trails are your local, so it’s obvious to meet there – right? They get out of the car, look up – and lo and behold, there is Slievemeen starting them in the face. Even the most hardcore mountain biker will be daunted by that sight, let alone a newbie.

Start small and take them to somewhere with plenty of green and blue trail. The likes of Blessingbourne Estate and even Castlewellan Mountain Bike Trails are ideal for that. Leave the red trails for the next session unless they are really taking to it.

In addition to introducing them to the trails themselves, do the fun stuff. Send them a link to learn the mountain biking lingo. Both Blessingbourne Estate and Castlewellan have pump tracks, so have a bit of fun trying to get them going as far as possible without pedalling.

 

2. Speak to your trailhead provider

All of the trailhead providers love to see mountain bikers cross their door.

There’s a wealth of information out there for beginners that most mountain bikers never have to consider. What height should the seat be? What’s the procedure if you hurt yourselves on the trails? In addition, the trailhead provider is your best bet if your friend doesn’t have a mountain bike themselves.

Trailhead providers for:

Davagh Forest Mountain Bike Trails – Outdoor Concepts

Rostrevor Mountain Bike Trails – East Coast Adventure

Castlewellan Mountain Bike Trails – Life Adventure Centre

Outdoor Concepts also do bike hire for Barnett Demesne along with Mobile Team Adventure, and the Lowry’s at Blessingbourne Estate do bike hire and will be more than happy to provide you with advice on their trails.

 

3. Ride ahead (at the start)

Pedals level, seat up, lean into it... You know the drill!

You’ve picked your trails, sorted a bike and all the other bits and pieces you’ll need for the day – now it’s time to actually get moving. At the start, it’s probably best for you to keep ahead of your friend on the trails. They’ll be able to see the lines you choose (presuming you choose the easier ones for their first time) and follow.

Equally, you can shout back to warn them about any particularly gnarly bits. It also has the advantage of keeping their eyes up on you and how you’re riding, rather than staring down at whatever is immediately over them.

Once their confidence is up – and maybe when you’re on a fairly level bit of trail – feel free to fall behind and help coach their technique.

 

4. Stop for a breather

Pit stops are a must when spending hours cycling the trails

The mountain bike trails around Northern Ireland provide some spectacular views, which is just as an important element of mountain biking, if not more so, than the exercise. Most people new to mountain biking will feel the burn in their legs a lot earlier than you will, and might not want to let it show.

Stop as you go around and chat to them about whatever section of trail you’re on. Chat to other riders. Lift some litter.

If your friend is struggling badly, it’s possibly a good idea to recommend they try out an e-bike – particularly for the climbs.

 

5. Fall Off

A  mountain biker crashed out in the Red Bull Foxhunt 2017.

As much as we’d like to say this never happens, if you’re on a bike – it’s going to. And that’s part of the fun. While mountain bikers certainly don’t relish coming off, a small tumble here and there adds to a great recounting of a day on the bikes and generally provides a healthy respect for the trails and your bike.

Remind your friend that they will come off, and that’s okay – just keep the helmet on, the pace steady and the GoPro rolling.

 

All in all, mountain biking’s hardcore image shouldn’t put people off an incredible sport. The rider who does XC every other day is very different from the DH fans. There are loads of different levels of interest and technique and with a friend like you, they’ll get into it in no time.

Ethan Loughrey
Ethan Loughrey  Mountain Bike Officer

Hardest thing about Mountain Biking? Definitely the trees.

Take Me To That View

Posted on June 26, 2018 @ 1:06 PM in Walking

Northern Ireland has an abundance of great views, whether you're in search of an epic Instagram photo or looking to explore somewhere new. Here are some of the amazing views we recommend experiencing this year.

Dunluce Castle

View from the Causeway Coast Way over Dunluce Castle

Dunluce Castle, Co. Antrim
Grid reference to start: C904414
Picture by Chris Ibbotson Photography

Big Dog Forest

View From Big Dog Forest Walk

Big Dog Forest: Big Dog WalkCo. Fermanagh
Grid reference to start: 
H041494
Image courtesy of Marble Arch Caves Global Geopark

Rathlin Island

View from Rathlin Island to Fairhead

Rathlin Island Roonivoolin WalkCo. Antrim
Grid reference to start: D147510 
Picture by Hibernia Landscapes

Cloughmore Stone

Sunset views from the Cloughmore Stone across Carlingford Lough

Rostrevor - Cloughmore Stone, Co. Down
Grid reference to start: J195174
Picture by Jaime Collins Photography

Slemish

A view of Slemish from Saint Patrick's perspective

Slemish, Co. Antrim
Grid reference to start: D217056
Image courtesy of Tourism NI

Mourne Mountains

Sunset Views from Hare's Gap

Hare's GapMourne Mountains, Co. Down
Grid reference for the start: J311314
Picture by Ryan Simpson Photography

Mussenden Temple

View from Mussenden Temple onto Downhill Beach

Mussenden Temple & Downhill Demesne, Co. Derry~Londonderry
Grid reference to start: C760354
Picture by Derek Heeps Photography

Please note National Trust entrance fees apply to this walk. For details see National Trust: Downhill.

Slans Graveyard

View of Strangford Lough from Slans Graveyard

Slans Graveyard, Co. Down
Grid reference to start: J639550
Image courtesy of Outdoor Recreation NI

Davagh Forest

The enchanting 50 shades of green view of Davagh Forest

Davagh ForestCo. Tyrone
Grid reference to start: H694862
Picture by Simon Nieborak Photography

C.S Lewis Square

View inside the wardrobe of Aslan in C.S Lewis Square

Connswater Community Greenway: C.S Lewis Square, Co. Antrim
Grid Reference to start: J366750
Image courtesy of Bradley Quinn

Doan

Mountain Top Views of Lough Shannagh from Carn Mountain

Lough Shannagh, Mourne Mountains, Co. Down
Grid reference to start: J284214
Picture by Brian McCready Landscapes

Sunset views along the Newry Canal

Newry Canal Way, Co. Armagh
Grid reference to start: J014539
Picture by Mickey Shields Photography

For more incredible walks with spectacular views check out WalkNI.com. Don't forget to share pictures of amazing views you discover with us on social media, using #WalkNI on Instagram or @walkNI on Facebook & Twitter.

Jayne Woodrow
Jayne Woodrow  Marketing Officer & Active Clubs Coordinator for Walking

Jayne joined the marketing team of Outdoor Recreation NI in March 2014. She oversees the marketing and communication on WalkNI, OutdoorNI and Walking in Your Community Project. Most recently she has been working with Parkrun Ireland & UK to introduce the 'Walk @ parkrun' initiative.

Get Wet with a Watersports Club near You

Posted on June 5, 2018 @ 1:42 PM in AdventureCanoeing

GetWetNI has been a huge success already. People from all across Northern Ireland have been trying out water sports for the first time and developing a love they didn’t know was there. If you have missed any events so far, don’t worry! There are lots of exciting come and 'have a go' water sport sessions still happening over the next couple of weeks as part of Get Wet NI 2018.

With no experience necessary, all equipment provided and many of the activities suitable for individuals, families and groups of friends, there really is no excuse not to try something new out on the water this summer!

Sailing

With the weather having been so great recently, it's the perfect chance to experience Northern Ireland from the water. Whether you're part of a larger crew taking a yacht through it's paces, or learning the ropes on a small dinghy, you're guarnateed to come away having had a brilliant time.

Women On Water Sailing Programme, Lough Neagh Sailing Club, Craigavon, Sat 13th May

A great opportunity for the girls to try out sailing out in the Irish Sea.

Bright Night Sailing, Donaghadee Sailing Club, 20 Shore Street, Donaghadee, BT21 0DG, Every Friday throughout the Summer

For the kids only, this is a great introduction for boys and girls aged 8 – 16 to experience the excitement of sailing.

Women on Water Sailing Programme, Ballyholme Yacht Club, 262 Seacliff Road, Bangor, BT20 5HT, Tues 24th July

Set sail and learn the basics in this girl’s only programme in which everything will be provided.

 

Try Something New

Wakeboarding is one of the most exhilerating water sports around. A blend of water skiing, snowboarding and surfing, it's an amazing resource to have here in Northern Ireland!

Ladies Beginner Wakeboarding Lessons, Knockbracken Reservoir, Carryduff, BT8 8BP, Sat 28th and Sun 29th July 

Another event just for the girls, Cable and Wake will introduce you to the exhilarating world of wakeboarding!

 

Rowing

Rowing is wonderful in it's simplicity - pull as part of a team, get fitter and enjoy seeing Northern Ireland from a different perspective!

Go Rowing with the Lagan Currachs, Stranmillis Mooring Dock, Governor’s Bridge, Belfast BT7, Every Saturday during the Summer 

At just £5 per person, you and your friend can experience sailing the River Lagan and see Belfast from a different perspective.

Free Taster Youth Rowing Sessions on Strangford Lough, Strangford Lough, leaving from Cook Street, Portaferry, BT22 1LB, Sat 9th and Sun 10th June

A great introduction to rowing for young people aged 11 – 17. Get fit while learning to row on Strangford Lough.

4 Week Rowing Course for Beginners, Lockview Road, Belfast, Runs from Sun 5th Aug and Sun 2nd Sept

Aimed at improving your basic rowing skills and giving you the confidence to be on the water in a safe and fun way!

 

Canoeing / Kayaking

Paddling has exploded in popularity in Northern Ireland in recent years. Whether you're braving your first try or heading back to your favourite waterway for the 100th time, it's an experience to be savoured.

Summer Splash for Families, Creggan Country Park, Westway, Derry~Londonderry, Every Sat and Sun through the Summer

Hop in a canoe, race your friends and have a go on the giant inflatables anchored in the lake!

Lower Bann Recreation Paddle, Access point 3, Newferry East on the Lower Bann Trail, Sat 23rd June

Realise the beauty of the River Bann with a day out on the water alongside the Canoe Association of Northern Ireland.

 

To check out more events taking place, check out GetWetNI.com

Ethan Loughrey
Ethan Loughrey  Mountain Bike Officer

Hardest thing about Mountain Biking? Definitely the trees.

Northern Ireland's Outdoor Adventure Blog outdoorni.com walkni.com cycleni.com canoeni.com