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Show Off Your Trail - WINNERS

Posted on June 11, 2019 @ 5:26 PM in Mountainbiking

Over the last few weeks, we've asked MountainBikeNI followers to send us their pictures from the official mountain bike trails. You've responded in your hundreds and some of the photographs we've seen have been incredible. Others have been terrifying. And then there are a few odd ones out there - but we love them all.

Our favourite pictures will win £400 and £100 respectively in online voucher for Chain Reaction Cycles. But first - some of our highly commended pictures!

Ryan Butler's triumphant picture over a turbulent Kodak Corner is all kinds of cool.

One of a few from the seriously impressive photo reel of Warren McConnaughie at Rostrevor.

Colin Smith at Kodak Corner with a mini MTBer is as heart warming as it is impressive. How did he get up there?!

Old faithful style picture from Andy Gilmore, but we love it.

Somehow the view is still amazing, even though it's completely obscured. Cheers Jason Hill for sending this one in!

Another from Warren and this is a pretty idylic shot at Davagh Forest.

We love this view from Boundary Rock. Evan McIlmoyle's shot really brings home how wonderfully remote you are.

Sunset over Run Ragley Run in this shot from Bradley Grahame. How could you not want to get on the bike seeing this?

Brian Lenehan's picture feels like it's literally moving with him here. 

Trails? What trails? Thomas Marks reminds us what mountain bikinig at Davagh Forest can be like in the other part of the year. 

We're at Castlewellan for this great shot from Carlos Russell.

Dark, moody and atmosphere. Quality show of the Castlewellan Lake from Mickey Clarke.

 

But the winners are...

 

In 2nd place we have a tie!

Warren McConnaughie's black and white shot at On The Pulse at Rostrevor MTB Trails is pretty special. The camaraderie, variety in the trails and skill of local riders all hits you straight off.

 

Jonny Clyde has won a special additional prize for his hilarious breakdown on a trip to Rostrevor MTB Trails. Check it out below.

 

And our 1st place winner is...

The vote from our team was unanimous. This one was picked out by every one of us as being in their favourites and we can see why. The atmosphere, the air, the rugged and incredibly familiar look of our local trails. Congratulations Tommy Magnenat - you've won the £400 voucher!

 

Thanks to everyone for sending in your pictures! Stay tuned to MountainBikeNI's FacebookTwitter and Instagram pages as we've something exciting dropping in the next few days...

Ethan Loughrey
Ethan Loughrey  Mountain Bike Officer

Hardest thing about Mountain Biking? Definitely the trees.

Mountain Biking and Mental Health

Posted on March 27, 2019 @ 12:51 PM in Mountainbiking

Following the publication of an article on the BBC which spoke of the huge benefits mountain biking can have for your mental health, MountainBikeNI wanted to delve a little deeper into the many potential benefits of the sport we love.

 

The stats on mental health can be quite scary. One in four people will experience a mental health condition at some stage in their life, and if anything, those figures are slightly higher in Northern Ireland than elsewhere in the UK.

Mountain biking should be fun above all else

A specialist in mental health (and avid mountain biker), Eamonn Duffy spoke to MountainBikeNI about some of the many benefits mountain bikers experience:

In recent years, the positive impact regular exercise (like mountain biking) can have on our mental health is an increasingly researched topic. It is well documented that regular exercise can promote good mental health via reducing social isolation, promoting the release of endorphins (or your ‘feel good’ hormones) and promoting a healthy weight which in turn improves self-esteem and confidence, alongside much more.”

 

An Outlet for Stress

One of the most commonly identified ways in which mountain biking improves mental health is by providing an outlet for stress. This was a recurring theme amongst MountainBikeNI followers, who contacted us in their dozens to agree with the findings.

One rider wrote about how mountain biking was a healing factor for him as he and his partner go through their first round of IVF.

I’ve been welcomed into a few groups and have ‘cycling mates’ who support each other in WhatsApp groups, and who I’ve been able to vent while huffing and puffing my way up fire roads. As a man in my 30’s, that outlet is invaluable, and getting into the habit of talking over where my head’s at is something I know can help in all aspects of life.”

Exercise, being with nature and the satisfaction of a good spin are all beneficial to mental health

Another explained how it gave him ‘smiles per miles’ after having suffered with depression for years. “For me it was a way of relaxing…and leaving everything behind. It gave me something to focus on. Now this year I’m racing in a XC fat bike race for 6 hours. Life’s good, I’m on the up. Everyone who is trying hard to get back to themselves… you can do it. It’s hard yes, but it can be done.”

Work too can play a big factor. Desk jobs can result in a sedentary lifestyle that’s hard to combat. As one mountain biker put it, “I try not to let my work overpower me nor take it home, but sometimes that just doesn’t happen… For me MTBing is my release.”

 

Making Friends

The social side of mountain biking can be just as important as the physical benefits. Making friends can be difficult as an adult as most people don’t even know where to begin. In the world of mountain biking it is relatively straightforward.

There's something about mountain biking that makes it easy to speak to complete strangers

Meet someone once or twice on your local trails and the next thing you know you’ve been added into a message group of 40 likeminded people probably in a similar situation – just looking for someone to ride with. Don’t be under the assumption that everyone in that group is a high flying, super shredding DH or EWS champion. In reality, they’re likely in the same boat as you.

You can also begin to meet other mountain bikers by joining the MountainBikeNI Trails Team, sponsored by Chain Reaction Cycles. This group meets up a few times a year to help with trail maintenance and litter picking.

As another MountainBikeNI commenter put it, “The social side to mountain biking is fantastic. A big problem in your head going out for a ride, shared with a mate might turn out to be a small problem. A different outlook on a solution to problems, maybe some ideas you hadn’t thought of. The biggest thing is chatting – it doesn’t even need to be about problems or issues, just talk.”

 

Finding Help

If you need help making that first step into mountain biking, one great resource can be found in the organisation Mind Your Mate and Yourself, formally known as PIPS. They organise a men’s group to ride the Castlewellan Mountain Bike Trails every Wednesday. If you'd like to join, simply turn up at Life Adventure Centre in Castlewellan at 9:30am any week. A Ladies group will also be starting at the end of May. For more information on this, follow their Facebook Page.

Some of those who attend the group told MountainBikeNI how beneficial it was. "It gives structure to my week... gets me out, breathing fresh air, burning fat and gaining muscle." "Keeps me from becoming isolated".

 

Some of the Men's Group from Mind Your Mate and Yourself

Other resources available include:

Aware (another excellent national organisation which provides help for people with depression)

Stop, Breath and Think (a mindfulness based app to help with anxiety and depression)

Lifeline (excellent for a listening ear and advice. They can signpost you to appropriate agencies and / or provide free counselling sessions).

Samaritans (also great for a listening ear / advice and signposting)

 

We would like to thank Eamonn Duffy for his invaluable input, Jill and all the team at Mind Your Mate and Yourself, as well all the mountain bikers who wrote to us to tell us their stories. Also to the team at Arc Fitness, dedicated to addiction recovery through fitness coaching.

If you would like to create a MTB group or find one in your area, you can visit MountainBikeNI or contact us and we’ll assist you with connecting with others.

Latest comment posted by Shobha Tour on May 3, 2019 @ 1:12 PM

The Hardest To Mount Biking Definitely Depend To Way Too Hard To Mount Biking Read more >

Ethan Loughrey
Ethan Loughrey  Mountain Bike Officer

Hardest thing about Mountain Biking? Definitely the trees.

2018 MountainBikeNI Awards

Posted on January 30, 2019 @ 6:23 PM in Mountainbiking

The MountainBikeNI Awards, sponsored by Chain Reaction Cycles, are a great time of year where we can celebrate the very best of mountain-biking in Northern Ireland. Drum-roll please…here’s your 2018 Winners! 

 

Upcoming Trail Centre Winner: Gortin Forest Mountain Bike Trail Centre

Runner-up: Garvagh Forest Mountain Bike Trails

We’re as excited as everyone else at the prospect of the construction of new MTB Trails in Northern Ireland, so both these nominees are winners in our book. The people’s vote however landed behind the upcoming mountain bike trails in Gortin, Co. Tyrone. We’ll hopefully have plenty more news on both these trail centres soon! In the meantime, check out the other MTB trails across Northern Ireland: www.mountainbikeni.com/

 

 

Favourite Mountain Bike Trail Centre: Rostrevor Mountain Bike Trails

Taking in 42% of the vote, Rostrevor Mountain Bike Trails came out clear favourite here. Just look at that view – it’s not named Kodak Corner for nothing! 27km of red trail and 19km of black plus purpose-built two downhill trails make this consistently one of the top mountain bike centres in Ireland.

 


Favourite Mountain Bike Trail Section: Stream Trail, Davagh Forest  

A fast, flowy, and extremely fun section of trail, with plenty of berms and a few rock gardens thrown in, it’s not hard to see why the Stream Trail picked up its first ever MountainBikeNI Award – this trail section is definitely worth checking out. Big props to Davagh Forest!

Two sections of Rostrevor Mountain Bike Trails fought it out for second-place, with Home Run receiving 127 votes and Batt out of Hell 126 votes. Trail sections at Castlewellan, Davagh and Rostrevor all received more than 25% of the vote each, showing just how much variety there is for mountain-biking in Northern Ireland.

 


Squad Leader of the Year: Andy Coburn   

 

Andy is a familiar face to mountain bikers all over Northern Ireland. A personal trainer at Positive-Attitude by Andy Coburn, he is a firm believer in the mental health benefits of mountain biking as well as the physical ones. Andy wanted to thank everyone that voted for him, earning him a nice little £50 voucher from sponsors Chain Reaction Cycles. He also asked us to remind everyone that he’s 40, so it’s not just a sport for the young ones!

 


Favourite Trailhead Provider: East Coast Adventure, Rostrevor

Taking first place in the ‘Favourite Trailhead Provider’ category is East Coast Adventure Centre, the official trailhead providers at Rostrevor Mountain Bike Trails. They provide an uplift service (with free banter on the road up!)  as well as providing mountain bike lessons to people of all ages; it’s great to see them receive the recognition they deserve! Shoutout to Life Adventure Centre, Castlewellan and Outdoor Concepts, Davagh Forest who received 35% and 21% of the vote respectively.

 

 

Favourite MTB-Friendly Café Winner: Urban Café, Castlewellan

Runner-up: Synge & Byrne, Rostrevor

Only two votes separated the top two spots here: in second-place we have Synge and Byrne at Rostrevor Mountain Bike Trails , and our winner for ‘Favourite MTB-Friendly Café’ is…Urban Café in Castlewellan. No wonder Urban Café kept on to its top spot – this spot is a haven for mountain-bikers visiting Castlewellan Mountain Bike Trails to rest up and grab a cuppa after a manic day out on the trails. I think we can agree on something – these are two top-class cafes for mountain-bikers in Northern Ireland.

 


Favourite Spot for an Apres-Ride Pint: Kilbroney Bar and Restaurant

Some call this the most important category in the MountainBikeNI Awards – while we don’t know about that, we do know Kilbroney Bar and Restaurant truly deserve this award. Well done to all the team there (congratulate them next time you’re in)!

 


Best MTB Event of 2018: Red Bull Foxhunt, Rostrevor

The chaos and craziness of the Red Bull Foxhunt, held at Rostrevor Mountain Bike Trails, ensured it took top spot again as the ‘Best MTB Event of the year’. The Foxhunt was among a number of top-class mountain biking events held in Northern Ireland in 2018, with other events like the Davagh Enduro and the Psycle 24 Hour Endurance Event, Castlewellan also having massive turnouts. It’s fantastic that Northern Ireland is able to host such a great range of events for every level of mountain biker and that they continue to be so popular.

 


Favourite MTB-Friendly Accommodation: Kilbroney Caravan Park, Rostrevor

Coming in at top spot in the ‘Favourite MTB-Friendly Accommodation’, we have a new winner this year: Kilbroney Caravan Park, Rostrevor. The Park is situated in a stunning location, where mountain, sea and valley meet to create some scenic wonderland. Overlooking Carlingford Lough, the Park boasts 97 acres of beautiful parkland nestled within the shadow of Slieve Martin and the Mourne Mountains.

 

A special shout out also to the winner of the Garmin VivoSmart Heart Rate and GPS Monitor from Chain Reaction Cycles, Siobhan McGrath and thanks again to everyone that voted in the 2018 MountainBikeNI Awards.

Latest comment posted by Steven Kyle on February 15, 2019 @ 10:29 AM

Excited about the two new upcoming trails at Gortin & Garvagh, anyone know when these will be open? Read more >

Dominic Lyttle
Dominic Lyttle  Assistant Marketing Officer

Dominic has recently joined the ORNI team following completion of a MSc in Marketing from Queen’s University Belfast.

In his spare time, Dominic enjoys trekking, travelling to new and exciting places, and playing basketball, alongside drinking far too much coffee!

5 Festive MTB Treats

Posted on December 18, 2018 @ 3:19 PM in Mountainbiking

1. Sign up for the Christmas Trail Quest at Castlewellan Forest Park


This fun yet challenging quest takes you around the Castlewellan MTB trails, alongside the stunning scenery of the surrounding Castlewellan Forest Park. The quest will give you the opportunity to test your MTB skills, as well as planning, navigation, and teamwork.

A 2-hour maximum event, the Quest is suitable for Novice and Experienced cyclists alike, and you can enter as a Solo rider or a Team of any number (including families).

Find out more about this event here, and you can book online by following this link: bit.ly/ChristmasTrailQuest

Essential details:

  • Friday 28th December 2018; 10:00-13.00
  • £10/£7 advanced booking online only - ***closing date extended to 5pm on the 27th December*** - PLEASE NOTE PRE-BOOKING IS REQUIRED THIS YEAR

For friends not questing (your team support), whilst not out and about spectating, the Life Adventure centre will be open with fire roaring and both fresh coffee and free Wifi flowing!

As a Quest participant you'll also get complimentary use of the trailside centre with changing/hot showers and access to the cosy coffee dock with free Wifi.

 

2. Visit a new trail centre this Winter

Why not visit a new MTB trail centre that you’ve never been to before this Winter in Northern Ireland? Whether it’s one of the national trail centres like Rostrevor, regional centres such as Blessingbourne, or a local MTB facility like Tollymore, there’s plenty of mountain-biking opportunities to explore in Northern Ireland.

There’s also two brand new trails in Gosford Forest Park that are officially opening to the public in January 2019. Start the New Year off by exploring two brand new trails. Discover the wider Gosford Forest by following the Green or Blue graded family mountain bike trails, including optional technical sections, a Skills Loop and a Pump track.

Check out the trails here!

 

3. Ride out with the squad to the local

Meet up with friends that are home for Christmas or maybe take a friend out to the trails that hasn’t mountain-biked before – then treat yourselves to a few après-ride pints and well well-deserved grub. Remember that the trails are 100% free to use, and you can check trail conditions before you go on MountainBikeNI.com

MountainBikeNI has a range of suggestions for food and drink options available here that are close to the three National MTB trail centres in Northern Ireland: Davagh, Rostrevor, and Castlewellan, alongside suggestions for accommodation if you want to stay over close to the trails.

 

4. Vote in the MountainBikeNI Awards

The MountainBikeNI Awards celebrate the very best of Mountain Biking in Northern Ireland.  This year, MountainBikeNI has teamed up with official sponsors Chain Reaction Cycles to showcase all things great about Mountain Biking in Northern Ireland. 

This year we have also included two brand new categories; “Best Squad Leader" which recognises the person in your group always hounding friends to get out on the bike; and “Trail Centre You’re Most Looking Forward to Riding”. 

Vote here for your favourite MTB trail sections, favourite MTB cafes and accommodation, best MTB event of 2018 and more to be in with a chance of winning a Garmin VivoSmart Heart Rate and GPS Activity Tracker.

Voting closes at 11.59pm on Sunday 6th January.

Good luck to everyone nominated!

 

5. Enter MountainBikeNI’s competition to win this amazing prize!

Win 3 Top Prizes from Chain Reaction Cycles! Fill in your details here to be in with a chance of winning a Muc-Off Premium 3 Step Valet Kit; a LifeLine Pavo 2000L Front Light, and a LifeLine Aero Beam 25 Lumen Rear Light.

The winner will be selected on Monday 14th January at 12pm and will be contacted via email.

Ethan Loughrey
Ethan Loughrey  Mountain Bike Officer

Hardest thing about Mountain Biking? Definitely the trees.

Northern Ireland's 5 Most Iconic MTB Spots

Posted on November 6, 2018 @ 12:57 PM in AdventureMountainbiking

We asked for your favourite bits of trail on Northern Ireland's MTB trail centres and you delivered! Below are 5 of the most popular sections of trails that were sent to us. If your favourite place to shred wasn't included, let us know so we can use it in future! Just email info@mountainbikeni.com

 

1. Boundary Rock, Davagh Forest Mountain Bike Trails

 

2. The Great Escarpe, Castlewellan Mountain Bike Trails

 

3. Stream Trail, Davagh Forest Mountain Bike Trails

 

4. On the Pulse, Rostrevor Mountain Bike Trails

 

5. Run Ragley Run, Davagh Forest Mountain Bike Trails

 

Visited these trails before? Have some epic footage or pictures of you on any of the mountain bike trails in Northern Ireland? We'd love to see them! Send them to us by emailing info@mountainbikeni.com. You can also check us out on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.

The national MTB trails are sponsored by Chain Reaction Cycles. For more information on any of the mountain bike trails in Northern Ireland, please visit MountainBikeNI.com.

Ethan Loughrey
Ethan Loughrey  Mountain Bike Officer

Hardest thing about Mountain Biking? Definitely the trees.

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