TRAIL RIDING 101
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.
Technical, singletrack and descents. Trailies celebrate just about everything trail has to offer (except climbing – a necessary evil, for getting to the ‘fun stuff’).
Beefier helmets, looser-fitting clothing, bulkier shoes – and knee pads, more often than not.
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.