For most of us, mountain biking is divided into two categories: On the one hand there are the after-work and weekend rounds, which clear your mind in everyday life, let you breathe deeply and challenge your body in the most fun way. And then there are the rides that require complete concentration; rides where the trails leave no wishes unfulfilled, where bikes become one with the roots and rocks. Maybe you've only been to such a mountain bike paradise once or twice, or maybe you’ve never been.
Whatever your experience, however, one thing is certain: What you experience during these rides is enough to make your heart beat faster for months on end and to make the same stories seem more and more great over time — and rightly so, of course. To make sure you don’t run out of stories, we've picked out some incredible places that are just waiting to be discovered by you and your bike.
Choose from our ready-to-go Collections with handpicked Tours and lots of handy information, created by passionate people like you.
The best time for you to visit a mountain bike paradise depends entirely on your own priorities. If you go during warmer periods, your days will be a little more pleasant — something you’ll be especially thankful for in the mornings and evenings. If you go during colder periods, you’ll have to take more equipment with you stay to warm around the clock. Unfortunately, however, it tends to get busier the warmer it gets and you’ll always find more people in summer than in spring or autumn. That being said, it’s often not advisable to head out into higher altitudes in the winter at all — unless you’re into the extreme. No matter when you go, just make sure you take more water with you when it's warm and more food when it's cool as the cold weather also consumes more calories.
The way up takes some serious strength and endurance, but that’s what you’re here for, right? Challenging yourself and overcoming that internal monologue telling you to turn around is the reason we head to the mountains. And as soon as you arrive at the top, the strains, the sweat, the swearing; it’s all behind you—now it’s all about the long way down. Therefore, we recommend intelligently rationing your strength on the way up, as getting down safely is tougher on wobbly legs. Start comfortably and in a low gear and climb your way ever upwards at a consistent speed. Allow yourself to stop when the going gets too tough, but try not to do so too regularly as that can drain your motivation by making the way up seem never-ending. And remember to drink plenty and enjoy the views—you should be as conscious of your environment as you are on the way back down; only this time it’s at your own tempo.
First things first: Approach it slowly. Try to start on gravelled tracks before heading on to the more challenging trails, culminating with those steeper, stonier singletracks when your confidence is as high as your heart rate. In terms of technique, take it step by step. It takes a fair amount of ability to weave your way around a switchback or to hop over rocks—and even correct braking technique requires practice. Therefore, start with easier trails and ease your way into it, as the most important thing is that you enjoy the ride.
Just like a hearty breakfast, checking the weather forecast is an important part of your daily mountain morning routine. Often you will experience extreme heat, snow and thunder in the same day. When packing, check the weather and take equipment for every possible condition. During your trip, hut keepers are the most reliable source of information, as well as the alpine club website. When in doubt, asking people you meet on the trail can be helpful, too.
Rough terrain, narrow and steep paths, falling rocks – all are risks when traversing the Alps. Thorough preparation, suitable equipment and an honest evaluation of one’s skills are key to staying safe. If you don’t have any experience in alpine environments, it's best to bring someone who does.
Whether you are on a popular trail or off the beaten path, make sure to show respect toward other people and the environment. Beware of other people around – below steep slopes there can always be other trails, so don't kick down any rocks. Always leave a place as you found it and show responsibility towards your companions, people you meet and the environment.
Research and bring with you the phone number of the local mountain rescue. Make sure you aways have some battery left on your mobile device and be cognisant of where you are at all times so you can accurately communicate your location in case of an emergency.