MountainBikeNI's Top Five Events of 2017

Posted on February 28, 2017 @ 3:49 PM in Mountainbiking

From about February onwards, the mountain biker's calendar doesn't let up. Below are just a handful of the big events coming to the trail centres around Northern Ireland this year.

Ulster XC Series

With Round 1 kicking of this year's Ulster XC Series at Tollymore Forest on 19th March, it will progress until the height of summer. Round 3 will be happening on the 7th May at Davagh Forest and Round 4 at Castlewellan mountain bike trails. The Ulster Championships will also happen at Castlewellan, on 30th July.

For more information on the XC Series and registration, visit their website here.

Vitus First Tracks Enduro Cup


If this picture from Glyn doesn't make you want to sign up for the Vitus First Tracks Enduro Cup, we don't know what will. Consistently voted as one of the favourite local events of the year, the Vitus FT Enduro is back again for another 4 Rounds for the intermediate and advanced riders. While Round 1 is happening at the start of April, Round 4 will be taking place at Castlewellan on the 16th and 17th September.

Expect this to test your skill, fitness and mental resiliance. We can't recommend signing up enough. To do so, visit the Vitus First Tracks website here.  

Davagh Enduro and Davagh Youth Enduro 


 A blind event this year, the Davagh Enduro will take place (unsurprisingly, at Davagh Forest) on Saturday 24th and Sunday 25th June. The adults race will be happening on the Saturday, and the much loved Youth Enduro on the Sunday. More information on this event will be released as the date gets nearer, but in the meantime if you have any questions about it, then please email Michael Regan

10 In the Glen


10 in the Glen will take place on Saturday 22nd July this year.  This leg crushing challenge isn't for the faint of heart. Bring plenty of jaffa cakes and gels as you tackle Rostrevor mountain bike trails as many times as you can in a ten hour period. Give it a go on your own (we salute you) or as part of a team of 2 or 4 (we still salute you). Organised by the guys at 26 Extreme, this is definitely one to go along to if you have the day free. For more information on registration, visit the 26 Extreme website.

Red Bull Foxhunt


Usually taking place the second weekend in October, the Red Bull Foxhunt has become one of the largest sporting events in the calendar year. Drawing thousands of people to Rostrevor Mountain Bike Trails every year, 2017 promises to be even more spectacular. Following three successive wins by Rosco, the organisers have added elevated him to 'Fox' status, along with World DH Champion Gee Atherton, and effectively are unleashing double the pandomonium as the guys go 'elbows out' with 400+ mountain bikers. Keep an eye on MountainBikeNI's Facebook page for updates on this bad boy.

To keep up to date with all the mountain bike events taking place this year, follow the Events section on MountainBikeNI.com!

Latest comment posted by Kawser Ahmed on April 10, 2017 @ 11:14 AM

All the big events together. Thanks, Ethan! Founder http://www.apexbikes.com/ Read more >

Ethan Loughrey
Ethan Loughrey  Mountain Bike Officer

Hardest thing about Mountain Biking? Definitely the trees.

Bike Lights and Daylight Visibility: Why Cyclists Should Be Seen at All Times

Posted on February 21, 2017 @ 2:07 PM in Cycling

In our newest blog, our friends at SeeSense explain why bike lights aren't just important for night riding.

What do you look for when buying a bike light? You might consider brightness and decent battery life as being important features, or you might want a light that offers good visibility in the dark. But what about being seen during the daytime? How much emphasis do you place on daylight visibility?

It is a crucial aspect of cycling safety that many people tend to ignore when making their purchase. But when you consider that 80 per cent of cycling accidents happen during the day, and with a significant increase in fatalities within a 10-year period, it’s become evident that visibility during the day is now just as important as being seen in the dark.

A greater onus has been placed on cyclists being seen during daylight hours. Companies are designing bike lights specifically for daylight visibility, and it makes sense when you look at some of the research that has been conducted into road safety in recent years.

Following a study of 184 cyclists previously involved in collisions, Australian researcher Phillipe Lacherez found motorists had “looked but didn’t see” the cyclist before it was too late. He suggested that a solution to this was both wearing reflective clothing and fitting a light which works during the daytime and also at night. Many cyclists sport high-visibility gear when on the roads, but hi-vis clothing only offers visibility during daylight hours as it reflects UV rays from the sun. Lacherez suggested the use of reflective strips on your knees and ankles that allows the lights from cars to bounce back and signal a cyclist’s movement.

In another survey conducted in Denmark, 4,000 cyclists were enrolled in an experiment that again proved the benefit of daytime visibility. In the survey, 2,000 only used their lights during the hours of darkness, while the other 2000 participants used their bike lights all day. The results showed that there was a 47 per cent decrease in accidents when lights were used throughout the day.

Also, since 2011, all new cars in Europe are required to be fitted with daytime running lights because of the proven safety benefits. If large vehicles like cars need to be seen during the hours of daylight, then surely it makes sense for a cyclist to also require high visibility?

Most accidents have been found to happen during the hours around dawn and dusk. This is partly due to rush-hour traffic, and also because of factors including changing ambient light conditions which can make it more difficult for motorists to spot cyclists. Bright, visible bike lights can help counter that problem by giving cyclists more of a presence during the day.

Almost half of fatalities occur on rural roads , making them particularly dangerous for cyclists. There are various factors which contribute to the high volume of accidents. Not only does the speed limit tend to be higher, but isolated routes can also be unlit or have poor lighting. Having a bike light that flashes brightly from both front and rear can alert drivers of a cyclist’s presence before they get too close to you, reducing the risk of a collision or near miss.

Motorists have a vital role to play in helping reduce the number of cyclist fatalities and accidents on our roads. Research has found that 60% of major collisions happen at junctions, with drivers commonly reporting that they ‘failed to look properly’. Better awareness of other road users is a crucial factor of road safety for motorists and cyclists alike.

A cyclist also has to be aware of the traffic around them, and by making themselves more visible they are taking an important step towards improving their own road safety. See.Sense ICON and ICON+ lights have been designed with twin CREE LED lights and a fresnel lens to offer unique visibility during the day. Our lights have a 15-hour run-time with optimised battery use, all which can be monitored and controlled from your smartphone and recharged by USB.

Improving cycle safety isn’t just important for reducing fatalities, it can also encourage more people to take up cycling. And the more cyclists we have on the roads, the better cycling infrastructure can be developed to improve the overall cycling experience. Cambridge University found that 85% of local cycling correlated with the provision of better cycle routes. So if we cycle, they’ll build it, and if they build it, we’ll cycle more.

 

Gareth Fullerton
Gareth Fullerton  Works at SeeSense

Top Places to Spot Snowdrops in Northern Ireland

Posted on February 10, 2017 @ 2:47 PM in Walking

A sign of the start of Spring these pretty little white flowers can transform landscapes and give a whole new experience to your walk.  Here are our top spots to enjoy beautiful displays of snowdrops on a crisp winter walk:

Castle Ward, Strangford, Co. Down

Castle Ward National Trust Elaine Hill

Image Credit: National Trust / Elaine Hill

Springhill House, Moneymore, Co. Derry~Londonderry

Springhill

Argory, Dungannon, Co. Armagh

argory

Castle Coole, Enniskillen, Co. Fermanagh

Castle Coole

Rowallane Garden, Saintfield, Co. Down

Rowallane Garden

Barnett Demesne, Belfast

barnett demesne

Keep an eye on the National Trust Website for lots of great snowdrop events happening at the properties over the next month. 

We’d love to see your snowdrop sightings when you’re next out walking.  Use #walkni on Instagram or @walkni on Twitter and Facebook.   

Sarah Nelson
Sarah Nelson  Marketing Officer

Sarah joined the marketing team of Outdoor Recreation NI in 2011. A firm believer in giving anything a go at least once (unless it involves jumping out of a plane at 6,000ft!) she is always looking for new adventures in the outdoors and can often be found wandering the Mournes or Glens of Antrim attempting not to get lost!

8 Best Places to go Walking this Valentine’s Day

Posted on February 8, 2017 @ 2:50 PM in Walking

Somewhere Magical - Glenariff Waterfall Walk, Co. Antrim

Glenariff Forest Park 

Somewhere Breath Taking - Slieve Binnian, Mourne Mountains, Co. Down

Image: Ryan Simpson Twitter: @rsimpsonphoto  

Somewhere Peaceful – Castle Caldwell Forest – Rossergole Point, Co. Fermanagh

castle caldwell

Somewhere Above the Clouds – Slieve Bearnagh, Mourne Mountains, Co. Down   

Bearnagh

Photo: Hibernia Landscapes by Stephen Wallace Twitter: @hiberniaphoto 

Somewhere by the Seaside – Ballintoy, Co. Antrim

Ballintoy 

Image: Chris Ibbotson Photography Facebook: @chrisibbotsonphotography

Somewhere Secluded - Blessingbourne Estate Woodland Walk, Co. Tyrone 

Blessingbourne

Somewhere Away from it all – Divis and the Black Mountain, Belfast  

Divis

Somewhere by the Shore - Island Hill & North Strangford Nature Reserve, Co. Down

island hill strangford

Image: Chris Ibbotson Photography Facebook: @chrisibbotsonphotography

Happy Valentine's Day!

Sarah Nelson
Sarah Nelson  Marketing Officer

Sarah joined the marketing team of Outdoor Recreation NI in 2011. A firm believer in giving anything a go at least once (unless it involves jumping out of a plane at 6,000ft!) she is always looking for new adventures in the outdoors and can often be found wandering the Mournes or Glens of Antrim attempting not to get lost!

The Best of Mountain Biking in Northern Ireland!

Posted on January 30, 2017 @ 11:23 AM in Mountainbiking

After almost two months of voting, we’re delighted to now be able to announce the winners of the MountainBikeNI Awards 2016, sponsored by Chain Reaction Cycles. Find out how your favourite trail centre did in one of the closest years yet!

 

Favourite Trail Centre: Rostrevor Mountain Bike Trails

Our reigning champion, Rostrevor Mountain Bike Trails have done it again! Gathering their fourth consecutive title, there can be no denying Rostrevor’s power house status in the world of mountain biking. It could be their two incredibly fun downhill courses; or possibly the challenge of a seriously steep climb followed by some incredible views. Whatever the reasons, Rostrevor continues to draw mountain bikers from every part of the UK and Ireland.

 

Favourite Trail Section: Home Run, Rostrevor

This proved to be our closest category with only a singular vote pipping it for Home Run at Rostrevor. Even our second and third places only had a handful of votes between them, which we take to be a pretty good sign that so many of the trail sections across Northern Ireland have their respective fan bases. As it is, Home Run proved victorious! It may be helped that many riders are glad for their legs’ sake to be almost at the end of the marathon trail.

 

Favourite MTB View: Kodak Corner

Taking 58% of the vote in this category, it’s no surprise that Kodak Corner reigns supreme again for mountain bikers favourite view in Northern Ireland. On a quiet day in the office, it’s one of our favourite past times to search #KodakCorner on Instagram, and bask in the stunning pictures you all send us from there. Be sure to keep them coming!

 

Favourite Trailhead Provider: East Coast Adventure

Another close category with a difference of only around 3%, East Coast Adventure have retained their title as the favourite trailhead provider. Home to mountain bike hire, Mark, Peter and the team are also continuing to grow a range of other activities that mountain bikers are taking advantage of, including their highly successful East Coast Glamping.

 

Favourite MTB-Friendly Café: Kilbroney Park Café

With almost double the percentage of votes, Kilbroney Park Café strongly won the MTB-Friendly Café vote. Based right beside the trail head, and with plenty of cake and sugar to pick you up after a hard day’s riding we completely understand the café’s popularity. The view of one of most stunning mountain ranges in Northern Ireland doesn’t hurt either!

 

Favourite Apres Ride Pint: Kilbroney Bar & Restaurant

Rostrevor’s winning streak continues, as the Kilbroney Bar and Restaurant wins in the after ride pint category. This has proved to be one of the most closely contested categories, with a different winner in each of the past three years. Busy year round, the Kilbroney Bar & Restaurant is in it’s prime during the increasingly popular Fiddler’s Green Festival.

 

Best MTB Event of 2016: Red Bull Foxhunt, Rostrevor

One of the biggest mountain bike events in the UK or Ireland, the Red Bull Foxhunt is a renowned favourite of weekend warriors and seasoned folk alike. This year seen Colin Ross retain his title, despite the best efforts of Gee Atherton. The Red Bull team have already promised some exciting changes for 2017, so we can’t wait to see the carnage returning to Rostrevor! In the meantime, check out some of our pictures from the event on the MountainBikeNI Facebook page.

 

Favourite MTB-Friendly Accommodation: Blessingbourne Estate

And at the very end, we have a non Rostrevor victor! Blessingbourne Estate, home to centuries of history and Northern Ireland’s first purpose built MTB track, proves to be incredibly popular with mountain bikers, families and couples alike. Check out their recent promotional video showing off their trails and accommodation alike.

 

MountainBikeNI Awards Competition Winner:

Congratulations to the winner of our MountainBikeNI Awards competition, Tim McQuade, who received a Garmin Edge Bundle from Award sponsors Chain Reaction Cycles.

Ethan Loughrey
Ethan Loughrey  Mountain Bike Officer

Hardest thing about Mountain Biking? Definitely the trees.

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