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23 MIN READ TIME

ADAM BATTY

Finding new routes for rad rides is pretty simple nowadays. You have standardised signs and symbols that give empirical evidence to inform your choices. Elevation can be calculated. Distance can be measured. Headcam footage absorbed. Bleep boop beep. There you go. You have a pretty accurate estimation of what to expect from your new ride before you’ve even rolled out of the garage. However, figuring out what to expect from the new group you’ve found in some dark corner of the internet is not always such a predictable experience.

I’ve moved around the country a lot and my bike always follows. However, it’s always been difficult to find a group that suits my riding needs. This often leaves me feeling a little lost out on the trails. There are only so many introspective solo rides you can deal with before you think ‘I’m going to have to speak to some strangers on the internet’… Sadly these online yelps of desperation have not always resulted in a fully warrantied box of friends being delivered to my door. They have, though, given me a good knowledge of the mountain bike group language. I’ll share this knowledge with you now via some handy translations. Slogans converted into expectation-busting truth-speak because, as with many personal ads, no one can resist a bit of embellishment or selective self-editing.

‘Generic All-Terrain Cycling Club – Off-road enthusiasts who enjoy exploring the great outdoors on mountain bikes.’ At first glance, this group seems like it would ideally meet your mountain bike needs. However, the subtle use of ‘allterrain’ and ‘great outdoors’ implies that rigid bikes and army surplus clothing will be the real theme of the group. All routes will be plotted around medieval ley lines and disused pits.

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About Singletrack

Editorial: Greasing Out Chipps ponders the strange language of mountain biking. Is understanding the code the difference between being a mountain biker and just riding bikes? UK Adventure: Glasgow’s Campsie Fells Sanny seeks out some overlooked trails within a stone’s throw of Glasgow. Why does he love them so much? Column: Jason Miles Turns out that, if you ride bikes, your neighbours think you know everything about all bikes. International Adventure: Bohemian Rhapsody Tom Hutton heads to the very-accessible Czech Republic to check out the trails and trees on a three-centre bike safari. International Adventure: Kyrgyzstan Rickie Cotter warms up for the Silk Road Mountain Race with a solo trip around this remote expanse of wild unknown. Beyond The Review: In The Bag Tom Hill writes about the aged Timbuk2 messenger bag that isn’t his, it’s Jenn’s. He’s just using it for her. Classic Ride: Grate Expectations In a cheese pun-filled ride around the West Country, James Vincent takes us on a tour of the trails around Cheddar. International Adventure: You Can’t Script Adventure James McKnight and Victor Lucas get in over their heads in the Pyrenees. Turns out this bikepacking lark is more complicated than they thought. Bike Test: So Long, Huckers Our big friendly giant, Barney, gets friendly with the three longest full suspension bikes in the world. Three monsters tested, from Cotic, Geometron and Pole. 25 Years of Chipps Chipps reflects on 25 years as a bike journalist. Does he know what he’s doing yet? International Adventure: Budget Bolognese Sanny heads to Italy to experience a comfortable adventure without a painful credit card bill. Pete’s Pros: Ruaridh Cunningham Pete Scullion chases downhill legend turned neo-enduro pro Ruaridh Cunningham around the trails of Innerleithen. Last Word Adam Batty discovers that finding riding buddies can be tricky, especially when they’re not being entirely honest.

Other Articles in this Issue


Singletrack
Daz was our ride leader for the evening, so he got
Sanny heads off the beaten path to Glasgow’s Campsie Fells and discovers that the best rides don’t always need the best trails.
Jason unwittingly becomes the local expert in a cycling sport he knows nothing about.
Tom Hutton goes deep into the Czech Republic to discover a world of epic trails and amazing scenery. And the odd earworm too.
Before the Silk Road Mountain Race, Rickie Cotter journeyed alone in Kyrgyzstan to find some peace – and some fear – for herself. She ended up finding far more.
It’s not a review, it’s a relationship. Products aren’t just for testing – they can find their way into our lives, our stories and our hearts. In this edition of Still Going, Tom Hill tells us about a rather special Timbuk2 messenger bag.
James Vincent travels to Cheddar, in the West Country for this issue’s Classic Ride, hoping to find fun trails and the one true cheese.
Scribbles on a map and someone else’s GPX files can never substitute local knowledge. Unfortunately James McKnight didn’t have any of that and, as he discovered, he was soon in way over his head in some of the Pyrenees’ most remote countryside.
Barney gets his lank on with the longest bike test we’ve ever done.
When Cotic unveiled the Longshot Rocket prototype in
Geometron’s Chris Porter is clearly a man with a vision.
Pole is a Finnish bike brand which has been raising
So what have we learned? These bikes are an absolute
January 2019 marked 25 years of Chipps being a full-time bike journalist. Here, he pulls up some of the highlights of a quarter of a century that spans cantilever brakes to e-bikes and McRoy to Minnaar.
Sanny, Dave and Matt tackle the Veneto Trail to see if it is possible to have an overseas adventure without sending the credit card into meltdown.
Pete Scullion is on a mission to ride with his mountain bike heroes and see what makes them tick. This time he catches up with Junior Downhill World Champs legend turned neoenduro pro, Ruaridh Cunningham.
A SPOTTERS GUIDE TO MOUNTAIN BIKE GROUPS.