Beginners trails – the apparent lack of

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  • Beginners trails – the apparent lack of
  • TandemJeremy

    Blues routes? Plenty at GT


    Gisburn Blue?

    Premier Icon richmtb

    Glentress has a great blue route so does Kirroughtree.

    Not the best advice mind if you live down sarf.

    Try some less technical natural routes if there aren’t any blue trail centres nearby

    Premier Icon mikewsmith

    blues at Glentress, Blue at whinlatter think there is one at Mabie, red at Llandegla.


    where you based?


    Cannock’s FTD is pretty easy.


    Got an OS map? Loads on there but you might need to ride them first to ‘grade them’?

    Wd do live in the south.
    Quite a few bits of Follow the Dog scare her. She has done it but with a lot of confidence eroding walking.

    I think it’s easy to forget how daunting certain things can be. Especially when there’s a load of other riders coming up behind.

    Hence the need for blue.

    We live near the New Forest but that’s so flat it’s not really a good learning ground.

    Why don’t you get her a skills course as a present? I work with lots of cautious and nervous riders and the result is amazing. They really enjoy riding so much more when they know what to do, rather than leave it to chance.

    Brechfa has a great blue / green if you’re ever down in South Wales.


    I was just about to say Follow the Dog. My other half, although pretty fit does tend to scare easily and Follow the Dog is probably her favourite trail and the only one where I wont get a B******ing for taking her somewhere too difficult.

    I even get stick at Swinley forest sometimes.

    If your other half does nt even like that trail I’d question whether shes ever going to want to do technical MTBing

    My wife has been coming along MTBing with me for many years and although shes quite happy pushing her self running (ie half marathons etc) shes never shown any inclination to improve technically and we always seem to back at stage one everytime we go.


    when you say dead keen…….. what bits does she like? begin by focussing on them.

    sounds like she doesnt want someone breathing down her neck (who does) maybe you are best off avoiding ‘trail centres’ for a while, get an OS map or have a trawl through sites like for route inspiration.

    bits off road, bits of linking road and a pub for lunch is great, let her get a taste for the off road.

    in fact if you ask for a XX mile loop based round MYTOWN on here the chances are someone can help you out.


    skills course – it’s no more than the cost of driving to one of the northern trail centres and will pay her back big time in increased confidence and happiness. Are you anywhere near Jedi/Tony? he seems to get a good rep here – and good with total beginners it seems.

    edit: linky

    Premier Icon nickjb

    Have you tried Moors Valley Country Park. They have a couple of easy loops (might be too easy) with some cheeky cut throughs and some northshore-lite. The shore stuff is low down and swoopy, really good fun and not remotely scarey. Not epic riding but good for a play and not far.

    A skills course is on the list of things to do.
    The things she likes are swoopy bits but ones with no surprises. I know it’s all down to practice and she could be fitter. It’s just frustrating as she has quite a selective memory for trails, get’s all excited, sounds like she wants to really go and then gets cold feet in the car park.
    I’m happy to hold her hand (not literally, would be dangerous) around somewhere like Cannock but we don’t play that well together under those circumstances.
    I’ll remember Brechfa.
    Who does skills at Cannock? It’s not that far from the in-laws so we’ve been quite often.


    If you know where you’re going Surrey Hills are about as good as it gets for beginner trails – it is an acquired skill to link it all together without straying into unsuitable territory though. Holmbury Hill particularly can be a confidence-builder if you do it right.

    Obviously I would say this, but a suitably-graded skills session is honestly a good idea. I reckon most people actually only need to make a few changes, but they are so important and not so obvious.


    I used to take my other half to cannock, but as the dog has changed unfortantley her skills haven’t! lots of walking round stuff for her. She does enjoy Llangedla the blue there now has singletrack and is a good ride, even the red isn’t too challenging now the bridge has gone towards the end.

    One trail my other half loves is Laggan Wolftrax, i know its miles away but the orange route is a fun blast if you go midday midweek no kids skids around the route!

    Brechfa should be perfect then, lovely and swoopy but dead easy taken slowly… Ridiculous fun done fast too. The blue has a few (rollable) tabletops, but it’s a loop off the green so you don’t have to do it. The green is just fun!

    Premier Icon cinnamon_girl

    Swinley Forest could be ideal. I have led a few Forum ‘Slackers’ rides there cos I’m not very brave either!

    E-mail in profile if your other half would like to be shown around. 🙂

    Re skills training, would highly recommend jedi of UK Bike Skills. 8) Had a one-to-one skills session with him and that made a huge difference to my confidence.

    I do my skills courses near Stockport (NW Peak District) it is about 1 1/2 hours from Cannock. The course starts off with very smooth flowy terrain but builds up to riding very rocky terrain and drops (even doable by cautious beginners by gradually making it harder and providing the right techniques etc). The good thing about doing a course on more challenging terrain compared to the one you aim for her to actually ride is that everything will seem very easy after the course.


    What SOOBalias said. I’m sure skills courses are great (I’d love to go on one), but seriously, at this stage? Just let her ride the bike and learn at her own pace. If she’s riding to be able to do something together with you (as well as enjoying it hopefully), then appreciate that and have patience. You can’t just magically fill her head with skills that probably took years for most of us to accumulate, if we ever even did.


    perhaps more “open country” bridelways and less trail centres? The problem with trail centres is, in order to attract riders to an area (and justify the funding) is the trails have to be good, and in the UK, “good” normally means technical and challenging of skill as well as fitness. My other half wont ride much, but my mates ex used to want to come riding. We’d generally do short blasts in local woods (several laps of) which included vaguely techie bits, then long ride over the dales at the weekend which were more endurance slogs than technical challenges. built up her confidence no end.


    warpcow – I think you might be wrongly guessing what the content of a beginner skills session would be. It doesn’t take years to acquire the basics, in fact it can take a very short time indeed – but a lot of it is counter-intuitive.

    I’m with Meehaja on this, trail centres have to be manufactured to attract riders, plenty of natural trails are enjoyable without being massively trechnical. Get thee a weekend booked in the Peaks, Dales, or Lakes. If the OH doesn’t like the type of riding that trail centres produces, then ride less at them for the sake of the OH.

    Premier Icon cinnamon_girl

    I’m sure skills courses are great (I’d love to go on one), but seriously, at this stage?

    I would say even more reason to go on one! Most of you blokes have been riding for years, playing on BMX’s, skateboards etc. I was too busy playing with my dolls and didn’t start mtb’ing til the age of 40.

    Looking back I should have done skills courses to understand bike handling, use of gears, balance etc etc.

    Good point made though about using bridleways. Can be a nice way to start and there are some challenges on bridleways, depending on where you go. Perhaps check out these:

    I have ridden many of these so if you need more info, let me know. 🙂

    actually you can fill someone head beautifully with skills in a few hours, not wheelies and endos, but correct body positioning and use of brakes and where to look etc. Really basic things that brings a rider from being really nervous to getting the right feedback from the bike and actually enjoying riding harder terrain, without having to learn the hard way by falling off! I see it happening every week! And it makes my job increadibly rewarding and hugely enjoyable! I just wished people came earlier on a course before you have to deal with bad habits and bad experiences to over come!


    Fair enough. I guess I’ve only ever really heard about them from people who already had a few years of riding (and definitely some bad habits). It just seems so far away from how I learned, but times change 🙂

    Premier Icon midlifecrashes

    If you live near the New Forest, I’d say just get out more on the bridleways and Downs more. Heading on hundred+ mile round trips might be putting too much pressure on. Before trail centres sprang up, that’s what we all did. I got into MTB as a sort of off road exploring/touring/days out in the hills rather than for the swoopy jumpy bermy overgrown BMX track feel of lots of the trail centres. Not knocking it, it’s fun now and again, but it’s not why I got into it. Trail centres pressurise you into riding everything straight away too rather than stopping to have a look, or walking a bit if you don’t feel confident, as you know it has been designed to be ridable. Out on bridleways it’s more normal to stop and have a look at stuff, and sometimes accept it’s beyond your (sometimes everyone’s) abilities. Then maybe next time you give it a go.


    I agree on the skills course – it doesn’t mean she’ll learn jumps etc. they can be tailored to the rider. A lot of people don’t really spend much time learning stuff for themselves when on a bike, they just always react to stuff and may or may not crash as a result which doesn’t give them any confidence. Better to have a basic skills course (before too many bad habits develop as well…) to learn some simple stuff (body positioning etc.) and at least they have the confidence they’re doing things correctly so then they just need to start trying things.

    The other half is dead keen on MTB’ing….
    Until we get to the trail centre and the only routes available are green ones that toddlers can ride or red ones that she’s not confident on yet.
    Where are the in-between routes?

    Premier Icon tomhughes46

    Day at Haldon, day on Dartmoor?

    Quite a few bits of Follow the Dog scare her

    Are we talking about the same follow the dog, the one my mum did on a shopping bike?

    As others have said, natural stuff down south is generaly quite dull and featureless.

    Maybe look into womens only skills coaching or if your near Reading, Mountain High in Pangbourne do a WAGS ride every Saturday at about 10. I’d definatley look into skills coaching as it doesn’t take long to get to a point where you could show up most riders.

    I think it’s easy to forget how daunting certain things can be.

    I found the opposite, we usualy forget just how un-RAD we actualy are. I often go to Jump Gulley at Swinely and see people wandering arround saying they can’t do it, when 3 months ago I was rolling in wondering WTF am I doing here.

    Premier Icon timmys

    From my experience, with a girlfriend who’s confidence is lacking compared to her skill, – some places she has really enjoyed;

    – Brechfa Green and Blue
    – Follow the Dog (apart the wooden bits).
    – Thetford Red (which if we’re being honest is a blue by any other standard)
    – Selected trails in the Surrey Hills
    – A lot of the trails at Woburn (hint; keep well away from the play area – I find the mere sight of anyone in a full-face helmet or body armour will have her freaking out!)

    Perhaps a slight notch up the skill rating but she’s also recently enjoyed the Pendam trail (red) at Nant Yr Arian.

    I’d definitely recommend a skills course and preferable a one-to-one rather than a “ladies only day”.

    Premier Icon ryan_c

    Sherwood Pines red route
    Its not like other reds, alot less challenging, my gf does this one but can’t do dalby…….yet

    Premier Icon Lummox

    new ‘singletrack’ route at moors valley should be fun, faster you ride the more the challange purely from the winding between the trees, few more technical tracks by the watchmoor bike park as well.

    Im not sure it’s rating but i think it’s a blue


    Book her in with Jedi. He’s got a Public Blue graded trail focus day on the 5th of November.


    have you ridden queen Elizabeth CP in petersfield?
    moors valley.
    some bike trails at micheldever that are ‘family orientated’
    loads of good natural stuff around the downs.


    I don’t think FTD at cannock is easy for a beginner, even in the dry. What percentage of weekend riders there fail at the two tree roots and the werewolf slope?


    Sherwood & Thetford would probably be worth a go….?

    Few laps of the XC trail at Chicksands?


    I don’t think FTD at cannock is easy for a beginner, even in the dry. What percentage of weekend riders there fail at the two tree roots and the werewolf slope?

    To be fair Im thinking of the original dog before the monkey trail was added.

    No werewolf slope + no stegosaurus bit at the beginning.

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