Photo: © The Press Room
The off-road group is an active and sociable part of Edinburgh RC. We do a wide range of riding - from 3 hours in the Pentlands on a Saturday morning, to a full summer’s day in the Highlands. We also have a presence at MTB race events in various categories.
Saturday morning Pentlands ride meets at 10.00 am on the corner of Westgarth Avenue and Colinton Road. This is usually a 2-3 hour ride at a steady pace. There will always be a ride leader who will do their best to choose a route to suit the group who appear on the day. This is aimed at all levels of ability and the pace will be to suit the slowest person - you should not get left behind! Contact details of the ride leader are available on the What’s On? And Facebook pages and you are advised to give them a call if the weather’s looking dodgy. There are also occasional ad hoc Wednesday night rides either at Glentress or the Pentlands - check the ERC Facebook page for location and start point.
We sometimes organise day rides at weekends - trips to Glentress, Innerleithen and other Seven Stanes centres, longer local rides and big Highland day rides. These are generally posted on the What’s On page and typically organised through the club's MTB Facebook page. If you haven’t been before, you are advised to contact the ride leader to find out the details, eg. route length and how technical it is likely to be.
As many club riders are more interested in improving their MTB bike handling than racing, we often arrange MTB skill courses with professional instructors such as MB7 and Dirt School. All skill levels can be catered for from novice (blue trails) to advanced (black trails). We have also organised First Aid courses for MTB ride leaders and Trail Cycle Leader courses.
Racing & Events
Some members of the off-road group race at various levels, mainly in cross-country or enduro. The club aims to offer a supportive environment for riders with race ambitions, whether you want to compete for the podium or just challenge yourself. We also have a good representation at mountain bike events such as the Merida 100 series in Selkirk, the No Fuss 10 hour series which includes
the popular 10 Under the Ben in Fort William, and the Glentress Trailquest mountain bike orienteering event.
Every so often we run a weekend trip - previous trips have been to the Cairngorms, Bridge of Orchy, Fort William, Aviemore, Dumfriesshire and the Lake District. These usually involve a couple of ride options each day and a strong social aspect with a few beers down the pub afterwards.
Preparing for a MTB ride
Bike: the club rides are best tackled on a reasonable quality mountain bike with knobbly tyres and a wide range of gears. Front suspension and disc brakes will be a definite advantage on all rides. It’s more important to look after a bike than spend a fortune on one in the first place - check nuts and bolts are tight, brake pads and tyres have life left in them and the drivetrain is clean and lubed. Crudcatcher style mudguards that mount to the seatpost and downtube to keep the worst of the mud off are a good idea too. Carry a working pump and at least one spare inner tube, a multi-tool with a chain splitter and any spares you may need - such as brake pads, tyre boot, zip ties, rear mech hanger, powerlinks and so on.
Self: quite often riders carry more emergency gear for their bikes than for themselves. A helmet is absolutely essential for off-road riding - there are probably more of our regular riders who have landed on their head at some time or other than haven’t, and we will not accept anyone on a ride without a helmet. You’ll need food, water and spare clothing (including a waterproof) appropriate to the ride you’re undertaking - if in doubt ask - and a wee first aid kit including a foil space blanket is also a good idea. A lot of the day rides go out to remote areas and there may not be a café stop so it’s advisable to bring some food on all the rides. It’s best to carry stuff in a rucksack, and ones with a water bladder such as Camelbaks are increasingly popular.