Get ready for Cyclocross - new skill sessions this Autumn

Selection of bikes suitable for riding on the bridleways

It’s the Rider, not the bike

What is the right bike for off-road riding?

It’s the question I‘m most frequently asked and there’s no easy answer, with so many types of bike out there, from specialist gravel, mountain, full sus, hardtail, cyclocross bikes to, well, your bike, which is best and what can I use? 

It's so confusing!

Simple answer, at a starting level a basic hybrid bike is absolutely OK for most people.

I rode with a cheerful and utterly enthusiastic rider the other day, she arrived with very basic Halfords special, a hand-me-down from her from her grown up daughter. Heavy and not in the best mechanical condition but the brakes, gears worked, chain oiled, and tyres were pumped. She had a ball, hurling herself down hills and across the trails with abandon and a huge grin on her face.

You would have thought you’d need a mountain bike to compete in a Mountain bike race and I would tend to agree until the other day when I was corrected. A friend of mine turned up for a mountain bike race only to discover she had left ‘that’ vital bit at home,  the MBT was not going anywhere. She did have her commuter bike with her as well, so just rode the race on that and won…

Another rider I remember had one of the heaviest hybrid bikes I have ever had the misfortune to have to lift over a gate, complete with stand, rack, lock and front basket, this bike weighed a ton. I’d expect most people (including myself) to walk it up a gravelly climb. But no, she grit her teeth, that damn hill was not going to defeat her. It was an effort, she was exhausted but what an achievement!

So don't let the bike get in the way of you getting out into the countryside, enthusiasm and a can-do attitude along with a healthy dose of humour are far, far more important!

Just ensure that what you have works, gears change, brakes stop, tyres are pumped, chain oiled. Get out there and enjoy yourself.   

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