Don’t curse their roots next time you’re out riding — mountain bikers need trees like fish need water. Here’s five reasons why.

Raling the berms at Afan Bike Park

Raling the berms at Afan Bike Park

1. Need for speed

The final section of White’s Level at Afan felt fast and close… until they felled all the trees and it suddenly felt pedestrian and slow. Proven fact: trees make trails feel faster and more fun.

>>> The complete guide to Afan

2,500 trail bikes riding 1

More trees = more trails

2. Symbiosis

Forests are the reason mountain biking exists in the UK. The trail centres grew up there because they work well with forestry operations. The best secret trails are almost always hidden in the woods too.

Ride loose roots slide

3. Loam factory

Soft dirt comes from leaf matter. Simple as that.

Kona Honzo Al 2016 review riding

4. Old soaks

Tress can provide a protective canopy to shelter you from the worst of the wind and rain. Plus, it’s not just warmer weather that cleans up the water from the trails. In summer, trees coming into leaf suck up tons of the wet stuff.

>>> 5 of the best summer singletrack trails 

Rooty trails guide featured

5. In praise of roots

Roots are hard and sometimes horrible, but by crickey they focus the mind, and they’re pretty amazing trail features you can use to jump off. Besides, we don’t ride trails because they’re easy.