15 Tips and Tricks
Once you picked a specific bike destination, you will eventually start looking for the best mountainbike trails and tours. With limited time at your hands, finding the best trails is key for the perfect biking holiday. Below, we have gathered the best tips and tricks that have helped us in the past. Feel free to comment at the end if we missed one that should be on here.
There are many sources of information to find trails and tours. Next to the huge databases that you will find in many places online, there are also many great ways to find amazing in the offline world.
It is also important to mention that not everyone has the same taste. Whereas some riders prefer technical trails with lots of rocks and roots others prefer smooth, purpose built flow trails. Therefore it is important for you to gather as much information as possible to find your perfect trail.
1 – Ask your friends
Chances are that you ride with a bunch of likeminded friends. Most of the time, they ride at a similar level and have a similiar preference for trails. They even might have suggested you the destination you are travelling to. Therefore, they might as well be the best source of information regarding trails and tours.
2 – Magazines
In the good old days, where the online world did not exist, magazines where a great source for new destinations and trails. Also in the digital age, the printed as well as online magazines usually have a section where they present destinations and some of the trails. Be aware though that magazines can be biased as they get invited (or even paid) to write about a certain destination.
3 – go to the local shop
If there is a local bike shop, you will want to head there and chat with the people working there. Get to know the locals and ask them about the best trails and tours in the area. Don’t forget to to buy something as they just spent part of their working time giving you advise. A six pack is usually also a good idea :-).
4 – follow people on strava
If you have a hard time finding information about a certain area or you want to find that secret trail, go online and start following locals on strava. A good way to find people is to find popular segments and follow the fastest riders. Even though some riders have their privacy settings up high, chances are that you will find one with an “open” account. Now start to scroll through their activites and try to find a pattern of trails they use over and over again.
6 – Most ridden trails on Trailfors
If you can find a good number of trails on trailforks.com there is an easy way to find the most popular trails: Navigate to a specific regions’ trail overview and filter the list by “Popularity Score”. This is usually a good way to start your search. Going from here, you can pick trails with a high popularity score and then go to ride-logs that include that trail. Scroll through a number of ride logs (easily done in the app or mobile view) and see what other trails can be combined with this one.
7 – Follow people on social media
Follow other riders on social media. Often people post pictures with the exact location of a foto. You can then try to locate the trail and, using the other tips here, find tours that include that trail.
8 – Heatmaps
Heatmaps have been used for intelligence use in the past (click). They can also be used to find trails and/or determine if a trail that you found on a topo-map is rideable. If there are no tracks visible on the heat map, it is usually very difficult to impossible to ride. Heatmaps are published by Strava, Trailforks and others.
9 – Talk to locals
Talking to locals, even if they are not bikers is generally a good way to find popular trails. In the mountains, locals know which trails are used by bikers and if they are currently rideable. Especially in remote and wilder areas, it is highly recommended to talk to a few locals before heading out.
10 – topo maps
If there is no bike specific information about an area or you are looking for the next great trail, topo maps is the way to go. Head over to our country overviews to see our recommendation per country. Once you discover a trail/route, it is recommended to cross-check it with heatmaps and pictures you find online.
11 – chat with other bikers
If you are already on site, talk to other bikers and ask them what they have ridden in the area and they would recommend. Sometimes these conversations are easier on the trails than online where people might be more cautious in giving away their trail knowledge.
12 – tourist information
Destinations that market themselves to mountainbikers usually have specific tours and trails they recommend. You can find them on their webpage and sometimes on printed maps that are available at the local tourist office. Make sure to cross-check them with other research as not all destinations have the same taste for singletrails as the avid mountainbiker ;-).
13 – search for pictures
If you’ve discovered a certain route, trail or peak you might want to establish if it is rideable for you. We use several tools to find images of the trails. You can use google earth and the swiss topo map (Switzerland only) for satellite images. These only give you an idea of the trail (width) and area. Additionally, you can use the search on google maps, google picture search, instagram location search and hikr.org tour database.
14 – check current conditions
Especially during and after the cold season you might want to check current snow levels at higher altitude. We can highly recommend to use webcams. If there are no webcams, the extensive use of social media (especially Instagram) can provide the needed information. Go on Instagram and search for a specific location. Filter the content for the newest picture and check how long ago it was taken.
15 – use trail-hub.com
At Trail-Hub.com we have gathered our favourite tours in a great overview. You will only find tours that we have tested and would suggest to our buddies to ride.