The first time I had decided to go mountain biking was, believe it or not, at the tender age of 23 years old! It is unfortunately true that during my childhood I had missed the fun and joys of riding a bike down the streets and even more thrilling doing the paper round! Furthermore, I had never experienced the joys of going on mountain biking holidays with my family, more so because no member in my family (with the exception of one or two) could ride a bike!
Now, this is not to say that I had a deprived upbringing. Far from it, I was simply always afraid of doing something that will risk breaking or injuring my limbs – thus my family opted for safer sports such as golf, badminton and (contrary to fears) swimming! However, this never did stop me from learning to ride a bike, and then fifteen years later actually begin to ride a bike – all in an attempt to prepare myself for the dreaded first timers’ mountain biking holidays experience.
Until a few years ago, I did not know that such a holiday existed. In fact, other than skiing, snowboarding, bungee jumping and skydiving, I was not aware of any mountain biking holidays in France – nor was I aware of the mountain biking championships held every year. Clearly, mountain bikers’ right now are probably thinking I had not yet lived until I have at least been involved in one biking holiday!
However, I did learn that places like Les Gets (France), riding the Andes (Chile and Argentina), Cuba and even as far as Ethiopia accommodated space for mountain biking. An adventure like this seems too good to be true for avid biking fans; many would place this on the same par as bungee jumping or skydiving. This is the thrill junkies dream, but also a sightseer’s experience of a lifetime. This is certainly something I am looking forward to experiencing.
Holidays in places like Ethiopia for some people, may conjure up an image of an impoverished country with dusty plains and bumpy rough roads. Far from this misconception lies a colourful history, friendly people full of pride in their country and living in a country, which has some of the highest plateau peaks in the continent. As well as the 6500m of descent, there is still an awful lot of climbing and the odd rocky road tracks and mountain trails to keep you busy.
The French Alps is famous for all it sporting versatility, more specifically skiing. However, when the snow melts down and the sun beams through it is a relaxing yet stimulating mountain biking haven. The high mountain peaks caters for bikers of all levels, from avid professional mountain bike enthusiasts to first time free riders. There are chalets nearby that accommodate for people of all ages and these offer French and English speaking guides to provide people with a tour of the land.
For those looking to relax on the beach Spain, try taking a trip to the Marina Alta Mountains in Valencia whereby people can spend a week following the winding trails whilst enjoying the beautiful scenery beside them. These mountain tracks were originally carved out for donkeys and over the years, these side trails became over grown. However, this mountain trail is almost hidden from tourists; thus making this an uninterrupted riding experience.
People planning a holiday should consider the prospects of mountain bike holidays, this is not something that should be approached hesitantly but more for the joy of experiencing something new. Not to mention a cheaper and ideal way to keep fit whilst enjoying a relaxing holiday abroad. Holidays does not need to involve copious amounts of alcohol and beaches; the option for taking part in something is thought to be uplifting, stimulating and even refreshing.