We are so lucky living in the North West, we have lots of fantastic roads and tracks to cycle on and the scenery is amazing. We first started mountain biking many years ago before we were married and when the boys were old enough to ride their own bikes we started taking them too.
William started with a couple of second hand bikes which were perfect for him to start on and once William had outgrown them Luke inherited them. A couple of years ago we decided that it was time Luke had a new bike so we went to Halfords and bought Luke his current mountain bike which is a Boardman mountain bike. We were very impressed with the staff who measured him for the bike as they actually knew a lot about bikes, unlike many staff we have come across in other shops we have visited! I always take Mark with me when we are looking at bikes as he is the expert in our family but a lot of people starting off in mountain biking don't have that knowledge and we were really impressed with the service at Halfords.
It is so much fun being outdoors in our beautiful countryside and you get to see so much more on a bike. I love riding around forest tracks and the boys especially like the downhills. One of the places we go to is Gisburn Forest which is a great place for bikers of all abilities. There are four grades of trail, green which is easy and aimed at beginners as the tracks are wide and fairly flat, the blue trail is slightly harder and for those are a bit more confident mountain biking. Once you have mastered the green and blue trails you can try the red trails for more experienced riders, these trails have challenging climbs and obviously more descents and usually a few obstacles along the way. We tend to stick to the blue and red trails and in some parts I let the boys take the trickier route whilst I take the slower and more scenic route! For the very brave there is a black route which is definitely for the experts!
We generally take our bikes on holiday with us and Mark always looks at what bike rides we can do whilst we are away. Luke much prefers mountain biking to road biking and will happily ride for miles on the tracks. We usually take plenty of snacks and drinks or a packed lunch if we are going to be away all day. Another essential is spare inner tubes, it is much easier to change an inner tube if you get a puncture rather than having to change a puncture when you are out.
Halfords have a great range of mountain bikes and their adult bikes start from only £99 so there should be a bike to suit everyone's budget. They have also produced a handy beginners guide to mountain biking which is definitely worth a read if you are interested in starting mountain biking. We have so much fun exploring the countryside and it is so much nicer than exercising in a gym so I would recommend that you have a look and get exploring too!
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