Summer of '16

Good weather, dry trails and long days will soon be here again — make the most of them.

Take on a challenge

Make 2016 a year of new bike adventures — yes, your local trails are undoubtedly great, but there’s nothing better than riding something new for the first time. And there are two really exciting new UK destinations this summer.

The first new hot-spot is Afan. Not the trail centre stuff, but off-piste around the Afan Valley, on natural trails hard to find unless you know where to look. Which brings us to Afan Valley Bike Shed, who will guide you round the secret trails, and uplift where possible to connect them together. It’s not cheap, at £480 for the day, so you need five keen friends to make it reasonable.

Watch highlights from the ‘Ard Rock enduro

We also like the look of The Ex. It’s a new enduro race down in Exmoor, a small and cosy affair with just 80 riders, but covering what we know to be some of the best natural trails this side of the Atlantic. There will be 4-6 timed gravity stages per day, covering 35-45km and 2,000 metres climbing, although the organisers treat you to an uplift for the first stage each day. For £250 you get camping, entertainment and a little wine (one bottle per table). Dates tbc, but it’ll be September 2016.

Ride a future classic

You’ve probably heard of, or ridden, classic routes like Cut Gate in the Peak District, or Nan Bield Pass in the Lakes. But what about Foel Fadian in Mid Wales or Wallowbarrow Crag in the Southern Fells? Probably not.

Summer 2016 light evenings

These future classics have the same level of incredible singletrack as the old favourites, and take you high into the hills, but as yet they don’t see the same level of traffic… which is a good thing! This summer, swap the usual big rides for a couple of alternative destinations, click here for five routes to get going on.

Get lost, go exploring

Getting lost isn’t such a bad thing — it can lead to new trails. Try scouting out a new area close to home, or just head a different way in the woods. Try riding at a different time of day too — head out at 6pm and you’re pretty much guaranteed to be the only rider there.

>>> Five ways to improve your navigation skills

Embrace the light nights

Do you struggle to get out riding more than one day a week? If so, try heading out after work and putting in an hour’s ride. Sunset should be after 9pm by high summer, meaning you’ll be able to ride until 10pm with a little backup light — try the Exposure Jockstick, it’s tiny but good enough for full-on night riding, £139.95.

To overcome apathy and the temptations of TV, have your gear all set and ready to go so you can just grab your bike and ride. You know you won’t regret it.