Nothing kills stoke like a winter of sloppy trails. So far, our home trails in Scotland have received a fair old battering with above average rainfall from an all-too-regular passage of frontal systems that have swept in off the North Atlantic and turned the brown pow of summer into liquid dust. Wait. Come back. We’re not here to depress you. We’re here with some great ideas to keep you out in the woods and deep in the hills until we start to get the first sniff of spring.
We often say that our expertise in foul weather gear comes from being based in a natural climate chamber – where the forecast for mid-winter and mid-summer can often be identical- and whilst that is totally true, but it also shapes our MTBing through the dark months too. Here are our top ten tips to turn what can be a crap season into an awesome one that’ll have you raring to in a couple of short months time:
1. Gear up – you know how we mentioned that we have a reputation for foul weather gear? Our legendary MT500 range has the kit you need for a dry winter, a wet winter, a cold winter or any combination of the many flavours of winter.
2. Bike down – winter is a great excuse to work the N+1 rule to your advantage. Keep the bling full susser out of harm’s way and reach for the hardtail, singlespeed or CX bike that can all shrug off grinding paste better than a bike full of bearings, bushings and linkages.
3. If you can’t go long, go short and technical – Head deep into the woods and find a few nadgery “problems” to work on. Like bouldering, but on bikes.
4. Brush up on your navigation – how are your map reading skills? If you like to explore off the beaten track then winter is a great time to take a course or get out and practice the key skills that’ll keep you on the straight and narrow out in the hills.
5. Ride with friends – nothing beats laziness than the scorn of your mates, get a hardy winter crew together on WhatsApp and make sure non-attendance to rides is heckled.
6. Trail maintenance – pack a folding saw in your pack and do a little gardening, join your local trail crew and swing a mattock or do some Wombling and clear up some of that trailside litter.
7. Diversify – winter MTBing just not floating your boat at all? Keep your mojo in shape and go for a trail run or a hike or even hit Zwift instead.
8. Make plans – got a trip to a new riding spot in mind? Get plans in place now and you’ll have something to keep your ticking over and motivated to ride.
9. Recharge your stoke – we’ll admit that some days it’s just too crap to head outdoors and sometimes it might not even be safe to do so. Instead, we suggest firing up YouTube and watching your favourite sort of riding vids to remind you what summer looks like.
10. Purposeful play – find a bit of easy trail or open ground and brush up on your skills when no-one is looking – wheelies, manuals and (proper) bunny hops can all be practiced with a few props – sticks and stones make for great targets to aim for.