Anyone stuck to MTB despite lack of proper trails?

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  • Anyone stuck to MTB despite lack of proper trails?
  • Premier Icon sirromj

    Anyone continued riding MTB despite lack of proper trails in your local area?

    What have you done to keep it interesting for you?

    Me, living in a small town on the coast with chalky cliffs, there’s a wealth of steps and drops, urban stuff to ride up, on to, off of, down. Sure it’s not where I’d ride if I had the choice, but it adds fun. There’s enough of this stuff that I can work my way up to bigger stuff. There’s one gap between the cliffs with a shed half way up. That’s much bigger than my balls will ever get to. There’s another ramp down with a wall alongside. Ride along it as far as I dare and then drop off. Really challenging to not play safe there.

    Mostly straight farm tracks sure aren’t singletrack, but they’re still a bit lumpy, a bit rutted, continual zig-zagging on the way up a hill can be quite a challenge for fitness, zig-zagging on the way down at speed on a rigid MTB can be a bit of a handful. Or just going plain flat out.

    Then there’s skills to learn which can be learnt anywhere, manuals, wheelies, bunny hops, fakies, etc (most of these I’m rubbish at).


    Currently without a car in manchester, not much you can ride from the door but plenty within some reach.

    Though if that video is the best available then time to plan lots of weekends away!!

    Premier Icon oldnpastit

    I live in Cambridgeshire. So yes.

    But heading to Scotland on Friday!


    Other hobbies are available, you don’t have to only do biking.

    If I lived by the sea I’d get a kayak or SUP.

    Premier Icon sirromj

    Though if that video is the best available then time to plan lots of weekends away!!

    If that was the answer I wouldn’t be making videos like that would I?

    I’d be making videos like every other half assed amateur MTB video maker.

    Still enjoy the riding I do.

    Premier Icon lucien

    I live in central London, I have 2 mountain bikes and ride mainly from the door.  Steps are my friend, as are other various items of street furniture such as low walls, higher kerbs etc. There is (surprisingly) a good amount of riding including single track, trees, woods not forgetting the odd BMX track.


    Like your attitude OP. Fun can be found anywhere with the right mindset – only boring riders get bored 😀

    My local loop might seem uninspiring to some but there’s a bit of everything in it. Half urban, half natch and mostly flat with the odd hill for good measure. Over the years i’ve added features and built little sections of technical stuff and there’s generally a session at the dirt jumps included (helped build those too). There’s steps, drops, banks, kickers, loads of wildlife, killer nettles and plenty of opportunities to practice manuals and the like. I can blast round in under an hour or milk it to over 3 if i’m in the mood. On paper it might sound dull but I’d challenge anyone to play follow the leader with me and not have a good ride.

    p.s. OP – work on getting your front wheel higher on those bunny hops – will allow you to get more height

    Seems to me the OP is a trials rider but does not yet realise that fact. Buy a cheap second hand 26 trials bike and never look back.


    Hertfordshire here… dull as ditchwater, but there are occaisional set-pieces that get the juices flowing.  Just ride them harder if you find they’re getting dull!

    No spruce deserts nearby? get digging.


    Yep, having previously lived in between Swinley Forest and Surrey Hills and with Tunnel Hill trails a my backdoor, i married a Norfolk girl and it appears you can’t keep them away for long (running joke with mates in my village from Ireland, Manchester and Stoke all who did same as me!), i had a lovely full suspension and two hardtails when i moved here, i would never have considered a road bike with M3 and M25 so close by.

    But you adapt, i looked at where i lived and over time the riding i was doing, i have some of the best beaches in the country down the road, so have a fat bike for exploring them. I have loads of really quiet country lanes and a huge network of bridleways, so i have a road bike and a nice new shiny gravel bike, and most of my riding is half road, half bridleway long jaunts, often with bikepacking gear.

    For the rare times i get to ride proper trails, the fat bike has a set of 29+ wheels too and i have an old Stooge set up SS.


    We’ve got some ok bridleways round here and the odd nice bit of cheekyness, but I’ll ride anywhere really. Practice manuals on the way to the shops, ride down the stairs into the dene behind Lidl, drop down the stairs in the park on a Lovely View (what we call our quick 5-8 miler (depending on which route we go)), up The Never Endingest Climb Of Doom In The World which isn’t even that bad, maybe past The Old Abandoned Crisp Factory where, rumour  has it, you can hear Old Man Walker roaming the floors at night.

    No need to drive somewhere special to ride your bike in special shoes and special shorts, there’s fun everywhere 😀


    Like @oldnpastit I live in Cambridgeshire, so it’s pretty much short overgrown bridleways and churned up byways, linked by vast tracts of tarmac. No need for a trail weapon round these parts, no matter how much I’d like one. And as much as I’d liked to have bought a 3T Exploro, as it’d be ideal for the riding I actually do, I got a Calibre Dune as it was an eighth of the price…


    Night riding has helped.  But you can plan epic weekends away and look forward to them.

    Premier Icon celticdragon

    Like oldnpastit and k1100t in flat landshire of Beds / Cambs border. I’d like a hill or 2 that’s not a 20 mile ride to reach. Whilst I like just bimbling around the countryside, I am getting bored of the same scenery, so my rides are getting longer and longer and I try and find points of interest to reach rather than Gnarr!

    So far I’ve found bits from the SOE (WW2 spys), Roman era and Bronzeage.


    I keep banging this drum, but an OS map would reveal so much. If you’ve ever taken a balloon or light aircraft flight over your home turf you see all kinds of things you didn’t realise existed and a map would do the same.


    Trails? Where I’m going, I don’t need trails 😛

    Or that’s my attitude. Ride whatever really. Though to be fair I have a massive amount of trails not far away, but getting there is make it up as I go along and use the cheeky. There are little park cut throughs in urban area, odd bit of woodland, plus tonnes of common land round my way. No proper trails, but the paths and animal tracks are my trails. The odd bit of just roam across open land if I’ve run out of trail, and hope I’m not riding into a bog.


    Anyone continued riding MTB despite lack of proper trails in your local area?

    I went through a period in the mid-90s of riding MTBs with slick tyres on the road. Not main roads but the broken country lanes of which there are many km.

    It was actually quite good fun on a HT. Although technically no more demanding than fire roads, by riding at road bike speeds the loose corners were most entertaining and the straights/climbs were a real challenge with a 48T chain ring

    Then of course there were tractors and other dawdling vehicles which needed a lot of concentration and anticipation in order to overtake.

    Combine this with actual real road cyclists, hedge cutting, farm debris and animals in the road and you have a..different sort of ride


    I keep banging this drum, but an OS map would reveal so much. If you’ve ever taken a balloon or light aircraft flight over your home turf you see all kinds of things you didn’t realise existed and a map would do the same.

    Or Strava heatmaps for the 21st century… 🙂


    mmm…. yes but no to the OP.

    As in, I’ve kept the MTB for the few times a year I actually get out to proper trails, but that does mean some years I get it out once if that. The rest of the time I’m on the commuter. If I didn’t need to ever leave my bike locked up in the city, though, I’d probably have stuck to just using the MTB for everything, switching to slick tyres when I needed to get anywhere on road. It’s a lot more fun to ride, for starters, and every time I walk past a decent set of stairs, or some kind of arty concrete installation I do think “one day I’ll bring the MTB and ride that”.

    The main hassle, apart from the fear of it being stolen, was swapping the tyres every week, from nobbly to slick and back again. I could’ve gone with 2 sets of wheels, but then you have to have discs for both sets etc.

    Premier Icon andeh

    I moved to Lincolnshire (for a girl….it’s always for a girl) and get by ok. I find it frustrating, as I love steep stuff, but it could be worse.

    Local “hill” has about 50ft of vertical but there’s a few fun tracks to mess about on. I ride on the roads a lot and then travel further afield when I get chance. Riding the copses and fields from my door usually is either impassable (ploughing) or a sure way to get a shotgun pointed at you.

    Sure, it’d be nice to live in N.Wales or the Lakes, but you can only stomach so much staggering beauty and incredible riding, right?

    Next year we’re moving to Vancouver though, so should be able to just about hack it ’till then.

    Premier Icon benp1

    I don’t have very much nearby, but I still enjoy what I have and appreciate it

    I have a HT which is too much for a lot of it so it’s currently got a rigid carbon fork on it. Also have a rigid SS to go with it. The roads are quite busy so even though there are lots of roads that would make a good ride (and quieter lanes further out) I prefer to be off road, even if its tame. There’s no need for a susser round my way though

    MTBs are a category, so while gravel bikes could be considered to be robust road bikes, rigid MTBs could be considered to be tame MTBs that work quite well

    Premier Icon rossburton

    I keep banging this drum, but an OS map would reveal so much.

    As an ex-Fen boy, this isn’t always true, unless you count ‘so much’ as a definite map of churned up byways.  🙂

    Premier Icon epicyclo

    What’s a proper trail?

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