Feel the trail centre zen

Trail centres are designed to be rideable by anyone, but to really make the most of them you need to understand how to flow from one obstacle to the next. Here are our top tips on how to ride trail centres properly:

Read the signs

Trail centre zen signs

Not just the big red ones (Mainey)

Trail centres are full of signs; some are subtler than others.

  1. Braking bumps indicate that there’s a trail feature you need to slow down for.
  2. If you see one drop or jump, get ready for the next — they usually come in sets.
  3. Dropping from fire road into forest, take off your sunglasses.
  4. When climbing, prepare for downhill sections by watching the tree line — the fewer trees above you, the closer you are to the top of the climb.
  5. Clear felling allows you to look further round corners and prepare for what comes next, so keep your head up.

Bus stops

trail centre zen bus stops

No number 63 here (Mainey)

Bus stops are small detours off the main trail designed to allow you to pass a slower rider in front, or as a bonus feature to have a bit of fun on.

Approaching a large bus stop, drop a gear and spin up it, then at the top move your weight rearwards on the bike and drop back onto the main trail.

If it’s smaller, treat it as a hip jump by compressing slightly as you approach it, then unweighting the bike as you hit it, turning your hips and heading towards the direction of the downslope to rejoin the main trail.

Go wide

Trail centre corners usually have wide entrance and exit points allowing you to keep your speed uphill and downhill.

On tight corners, position yourself on the outer edge of the trail using the corner’s wide entrance to make a large swinging turn. Going uphill, look through the corner for a gravel-free patch, as it’s usually the best line.

Watch our enduro racer tips for trail riders

Your front wheel will follow where your eyes are looking, so keep your head up. Downhill corners often have a berm — do your braking beforehand, then come off the levers and trust the banking to hold you. Corners on flowier bits of trail may have a rock on the inside of the apex to make you go round them, but take a second look — if it’s angled, use it as a jump to straight-line the whole thing.

Where the trail ends

Trail centre zen stopping

Don’t let the man slow you down (Mainey)

Fencing at the end of trails is there to slow you down, but you don’t have to lose your flow. Slow the bike to walking pace as you approach, swing a leg over the back of the bike while it’s still moving and hop off, kicking the bike in front of you with your other foot still on the pedal.

The bike should pop onto its back wheel, so keep a finger on the back brake lever. Weave the bike through the barrier and repeat the process in reverse to get back on, tipping the front of the bike back down as you hop aboard.