Mountain biking has something for everyone - from easy woodland rides to the exhilaration of a downhill trail. It's a great way to keep fit and at the 7stanes you can enjoy some of Scotland's fine forest scenery at the same time. Mountain biking can be enjoyed by the whole family and at the 7stanes we have trails to cater for all ages and all abilities. If you're new to the sport, we've provided some information below to help you get started.
You might also like to refer to the mountain biking glossary.
For a quick and easy overview of what is available at each of the 7stanes from trail grade to facilities download our 7stanes fact sheet.
The three essential items in any novice mountain biker’s kit are a helmet, gloves and a bike.
Equipment hire is available onsite at Glentress, Mabie, Ae, Kirroughtree, and Newcastleton (roughly 3km from the trail head). Seasonal bike hire is available at Glentrool at Kirroughtree and for Dalbeattie, the town is close by. For Innerleithen bike hire is available in the village. There are also bike hire shops throughout the 7stanes area. See the individual 'stanes' pages for more details.
If you already have a helmet, or want to buy one, make sure it is approved for mountain biking.
We recommend your bike has some form of suspension if you want to ride the 7stanes trails.
For the green, blue and red-graded trails, suspension forks – ‘front suspension’ – should be sufficient. These bikes are often referred to as 'hardtails'. As you progress, and want to try riding the black-graded routes, then a ‘dual suspension’ or 'full sus' bike – with a suspension system at the rear as well as the front will make the most difficult trails seem a little bit smoother and easier to ride.
At the 7stanes sites, the colour-coding system for singletrack trails – from the relatively level and smooth green trails to the highly technical black trails – provides a great framework for progression. Start with green and once you are comfortable move up to blue; then progress to red and eventually you might be ready to tackle the black-graded trails. The extreme bike parks - graded orange contain challenging jumps and features. There are different grades of feature within the bike parks and many features can be rolled over but technical skills are important.
Forest roads are usually ungraded. They can vary widely in gradient and evenness of surface. The understanding trail grades has full details of what the different trail grades are.
Skills areas at a number of the 7stanes sites are a good way to practice the techniques you’ll need to tackle the obstacles found on many of the trails. There are skills areas at Glentress, Kirroughtree, Mabie, Newcastleton and Dalbeattie. Our skills and riding tips page has some useful advice too. Always take small steps and don’t try sections of trail, such as steeply bermed corners or jumps that you aren’t comfortable doing. Ride within your limits and you will progress smoothly and safely as your confidence builds.
For anyone starting out it is vital that you build confidence and that you learn good habits. One way to progress more quickly is to take lessons. There are qualified instructors who work at some of the 7stanes sites.
Have a look at the video below which takes you through some basic aspects of riding safely.
There's also information on the forestry commission your safety page.
Find more information on the Forest Cycling Code and information on Visitor Safety and Mountain Biking while on the National Forest Estate at the links above.
Company Number SC. 386358
VAT Reg. 106370542
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