We are fortunate to live amongst the northern hills of England and have ready access to a wide network of rideable bridleways. This has meant that there is little incentive to get away at times - especially when mountain biking. However we have made some trips further afield: a couple to the forests of the Seven Stanes and a recent trip to the Picos de Europa in northern Spain.
The Seven Stanes is a government backed initiative (through the forestry commission) to develop seven different forest parks for mountain biking. These are all in Southern Scotland and are centred around Peebles on the one hand and Dumfries - Newton Stewart on the other. Each centre has been given a different character so if one set of trails doesn’t suit you another almost certainly will.
Picos de Europa
The Picos de Europa is a small mountain range in northern Spain, situated about an hours drive west of Santander and a further half an hour inland. The range is very compact and is surrounded by a range of steep sided foothills. Threading their way around, up and over these hills is a range of tracks and paths that provide some interesting and occasionally lung bursting cycling. Our three outings here provide a good introduction to the mountain biking available in this region.
Peru would appear to be a strange destination for mountain biking but there are a surprising number of the old Inca trails that are suitable for two wheeled transport despite the Incas having never used the wheel for transport. There is a gallery of slideshows of our trip there.
Perhaps the loveliest of the Yorkshire Dales. Most of the mountain biking is situated above the valley on tracks associated with the old lead mining industry.