I hadn’t been on a bike in twelve years, let alone one built for mountain trails. It started with a tweet from Martin, a keen mountain biker, who suggested we head out for a half day experience in the Wicklow Mountains. Our small group (myself, Christian, Ben, Amy and Ciaran) met up on a Sunday morning outside Roundwood in Wicklow at the regular base of Track and Trail. Paul and Aine run the company and provide outdoor adventure experiences including mountain biking, canoeing, hill walking etc. After brief intros we got down to a basic skills course on the bikes. There’s a good bit to take in so it was great to be able to spend the time going through gears, brakes, how to position yourself on the bike etc.
After we’d got comfortable, Martin was good enough to show us a couple of trails. The initial uphill was damn tough but the bikes have a huge array of gears which makes it much easier when you find the right one. After we’d reached the start of the first trail (about half a metre wide), we got going with the downhill and I can attest to what a mix of adrenaline and fear it is. You have to concentrate on the route ahead whilst controlling your speed and balance over a lot of different obstacles. After the first couple of trails we’d reached the car park and decided to go up again for a second bash. Our group had really gotten into it and wouldn’t forget it anytime soon.
Did I come away a bit bruised and mucky? Yep but I genuinely loved it. I’ll be back up the Wicklow Mountains again soon and with half day bike hire from Track and Trail coming in at €25, it’s damn affordable. Check out Track and Trail’s web site, Facebook and Twitter for more info.