TRAIL RID­ING 101

Bicycling (South Africa) - - Gear -

The Vibe

Trail rid­ing is the most real, nat­u­ral and orig­i­nal form of moun­tain-bike rid­ing. It’s as much a spirit and an ap­proach to how you ride as it is about the kind of bike and gear you use, and where you use it.

The Ter­rain

Tech­ni­cal, sin­gle­track and de­scents. Trailies cel­e­brate just about ev­ery­thing trail has to of­fer (ex­cept climb­ing – a nec­es­sary evil, for get­ting to the ‘fun stuff’).

Dress Code

Beefier hel­mets, looser-fit­ting cloth­ing, bulkier shoes – and knee pads, more of­ten than not.

The Bikes

The ideal trail bike is the one best suited to the tech­ni­cal level of the trails you spend most of your time rid­ing; so trail bikes vary widely in spec.

A ‘light’ trail bike is ei­ther a hard­tail, or a 120140mm rear-travel: su­per-ver­sa­tile, and suc­cess­fully em­poyed on most trails. Adept rid­ers can use them ef­fec­tively on tech­ni­cal trails or for en­duro rac­ing.

How To Know If You’re A Trail Rider

ÒYou’re happy to climb slowly, so you can chat away eas­ily. ÒYou don’t care about climb­ing PRs. ÒYou seek out sin­gle­track, ob­sta­cles and other techie ter­rain; if you can’t pass through a sec­tion cleanly, you’re happy to stop, dis­mount, push back and do it again. ÒYou’re cool with stop­ping to take in the view, smell the roses or have midride con­ver­sa­tion. ÒYou’re not a fan of cor­ru­ga­tions and dirt-road rid­ing. ÒYou ride to cel­e­brate the thrill of na­ture, to be so­cial and healthy, and to im­prove your tech­ni­cal skills. ÒYou’ve shouted “Track, track, track!” one too many times at a marathon race, and you’re over it. ÒYou un­der­stand de­scrip­tive terms such as ‘rut’, ‘edge’, ‘flow’, ‘sketchy’, ‘arm pump’, ‘go­ing light’, ‘pump’, ‘blown out’, and ‘pow­der’. – M.K.

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