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Considering swapping your road bike for an off-road option? Personal trainer and wellness coach Jeff Archer reveals how to transition to the trail

When you first think about taking up cycling, your individual priorities and where you live will have the greatest impact on the type of bike you choose. If you’ll be riding mostly in the city, you might opt for a hybrid style bike; if you’re serious about your fitness, your first thoughts might lean towards a road bike. But if you think that mountain biking is only for those who live in rural, hilly areas, think again.

Mountain biking is a fantastic way to head off the beaten track, and there are plenty of opportunities to do that wherever you live. If you’re in a city, you can explore parks and riverside towpaths, and from towns and villages you can explore fields, trails and hills that would defeat other modes of transport or simply be too far to cover on foot. A mountain bike enables you to cover the full range of terrain, while taking your fitness to new heights.

If you’re new to mountain biking you can begin with simple, undulating trails. As you become more experienced you can take on more technical terrain that will really challenge your strength, stamina and riding skill. Depending on the time you have available you can pop out for a quick fitness-boosting loop close to home or, if the mood takes you, you can stock up with supplies and be gone all day. Mountain biking is a great way to access unfamiliar, wild and wonderful locations.

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