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Fo' Bidniz in da haus
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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
It looks like I will be moving to England for about 2 years. I will be living in the flatter part but was curious if anybody knows of websites/books/etc where I can gain knowledge on what to expect. I know it will be very different but I want to find biking (around London etc) so that I can at least stay in shape and maybe even race or whatever to keep in the sport. I will be bringing my trailbike for when I make trips up to Northern England and other countries for weekend biking and ironically, I just bought a Ti hardtail frame to build up as a project bike which will actually now be perfect for miscellaneous mountain biking in the flatter non-technical areas....however, I will be selling the Bullit as that cannot be justified any longer :(

Cheers and thanks in advance for any advice.
 

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used to be uno-speedo....
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You'll have some good riding 45 mins south of London on the train.

Check out google for info on the north downs. Places like Leith Hill, Holmbury St.Mary, Box Hill should start to sound familiar.

Couple of links for you:

www.justridingalong.com

www.freeborn.co.uk

A local riders diary:

https://www.diaryofamountainbiker.co.uk/index.php

Also in south London (near Kingston Upon Thames) is a place called Sandown Park in Esher. They have a park dubbed 'North Shore'
Never been myself just heard about it:

https://www.werenearlythere.co.uk/esherleith.htm



Some pics can also be found on pinkbike.

Weekends you can take a three hour drive to Wales. Coed-y-brenin kicks ass. Check out the pics in passion, the Cymru post.

I have a friend who works for sigmasport.co.uk and is a good roadie and mountain biker. Other riders I know who would be more than happy to show you the trails.

I'm an ex-pat and south london, surburbs are my old kicking ground. Happy to give you any info you need.

Nik.
 

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Fo' Bidniz in da haus
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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Wow...thanks!

uno-speedo said:
You'll have some good riding 45 mins south of London on the train.

Check out google for info on the north downs. Places like Leith Hill, Holmbury St.Mary, Box Hill should start to sound familiar.

Couple of links for you:

www.justridingalong.com

www.freeborn.co.uk

A local riders diary:

http://www.diaryofamountainbiker.co.uk/index.php

Also in south London (near Kingston Upon Thames) is a place called Esher. They have a park dubbed 'North Shore'
Never been myself just heard about it:

http://www.werenearlythere.co.uk/esherleith.htm

Some pics can also be found on pinkbike.

Weekends you can take a three hour drive to Wales. Coed-y-brenin kicks ass. Check out the pics in passion, the Cymru post.

I have a friend who works for sigmasport.co.uk and is a good roadie and mountain biker. Other riders I know who would be more than happy to show you the trails.

I'm an ex-pat and south london, surburbs are my old kicking ground. Happy to give you any info you need.

Nik.
Thanks for the great advice!! I will look into the info you suggested. I am not yet familiar with any of the names of places you mentioned but I am sure I will soon. At this point, it looks like I will be either in Cambridge or London (East part of London I believe but I will have to check tomorrow).

So do you think a 5" trailbike and a hardtail front suspension bike will be worth taking? I figured the Bullit would be overkill and frankly, it is more bike than I can handle anyway.

Thanks so much again for the advice.

Cheers
 

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used to be uno-speedo....
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FoShizzle said:
Thanks for the great advice!! I will look into the info you suggested. I am not yet familiar with any of the names of places you mentioned but I am sure I will soon. At this point, it looks like I will be either in Cambridge or London (East part of London I believe but I will have to check tomorrow).

So do you think a 5" trailbike and a hardtail front suspension bike will be worth taking? I figured the Bullit would be overkill and frankly, it is more bike than I can handle anyway.

Thanks so much again for the advice.

Cheers
Hmm not sure on rides around Cambridge I'll look into it out of my own curiosity.

East Londons cool. Very up and coming areas.

Take the Bullit. You figure you don't want it you sell it in the UK and make a profit (hopefully!).

Don't forget flying in Europe is dirt cheap. Think of flying to France for about $40. You have seen the posts in Passion of the Alps I hope?

Oh and all those vacation days you'll have. Twenty days a year is the norm, on top of the national 'bank' holidays.
 

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Just to add to the good comments, Thetford is near Cambridge and is a firm favourite with Northern hill dwellers and flatlanders alike. It is almost completely flat but has some wickedly fun singletrack to explore and a few good events held there.

Also near London (though West, not East) is Bracknell Forest/Swinley Forest - Lots of races run in the area/prospective Olympic MTBing site, East of London is Epping Forest, West/North-West is the Chilterns. All within an hour of London.

There is so much good riding packed into a small island - a huge network of bridleways where bikes are allowed, the difficulty is figuring it out and targetting where you're going to explore. You need to invest time exploring, although there are a few areas where there are waymarked trails and you can turn the navigation off.
 

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Fo' Bidniz in da haus
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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
More good news...thanks

scorcher seb said:
Just to add to the good comments, Thetford is near Cambridge and is a firm favourite with Northern hill dwellers and flatlanders alike. It is almost completely flat but has some wickedly fun singletrack to explore and a few good events held there.

Also near London (though West, not East) is Bracknell Forest/Swinley Forest - Lots of races run in the area/prospective Olympic MTBing site, East of London is Epping Forest, West/North-West is the Chilterns. All within an hour of London.

There is so much good riding packed into a small island - a huge network of bridleways where bikes are allowed, the difficulty is figuring it out and targetting where you're going to explore. You need to invest time exploring, although there are a few areas where there are waymarked trails and you can turn the navigation off.
I think I was wrong about London....I was told today it is actually West London and not East. However, I still dont know if it will be Cambridge or London.

Its funny......at first I was actually a bit depressed that my mountain biking fun might suffer and after the many great pieces of advice I have already received, I am actually now excited to move.

I have a question to you or Uno-speedo about the Bullit....where Uno-speedo indicated to take the Bullit and sell it potentially for a profit, is that because Bullit are not common in the UK? It is a 2003 with very few miles on it and frankly, not freeriding or downhilling at all so it is in great shape. Since my company would be moving my junk over, I would simply add it to the stuff to be shipped if in fact it will be better to sell it over there. On that note, should I load up on Burner frames (Supergo is about 10 miles from my house) ? Since my company will ship my stuff for me I could get Burners over there effectively for the price of $949 since I would not have to pay shipping myself etc.. Maybe I should buy anything and everything that is tough to get in the UK before I move.

Cheers
 

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used to be uno-speedo....
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FoShizzle said:
I think I was wrong about London....I was told today it is actually West London and not East. However, I still dont know if it will be Cambridge or London.
West London is nicer IMO.

Its funny......at first I was actually a bit depressed that my mountain biking fun might suffer and after the many great pieces of advice I have already received, I am actually now excited to move.
Don't be, there is some great cycling to be done in the UK. Granted your not going to get SoCal weather all the time but you deal with it as best as possible. And it dosen't rain all the time...its just overcast a lot!

I have a question to you or Uno-speedo about the Bullit....where Uno-speedo indicated to take the Bullit and sell it potentially for a profit, is that because Bullit are not common in the UK? It is a 2003 with very few miles on it and frankly, not freeriding or downhilling at all so it is in great shape. Since my company would be moving my junk over, I would simply add it to the stuff to be shipped if in fact it will be better to sell it over there.
I just checked www.cyclesurgery.com and their price for the frame new is 1200GBP. Thats approx $ 2200!

On that note, should I load up on Burner frames (Supergo is about 10 miles from my house) ? Since my company will ship my stuff for me I could get Burners over there effectively for the price of $949 since I would not have to pay shipping myself etc.. Maybe I should buy anything and everything that is tough to get in the UK before I move.
Where in socal are you? I'm in Oceanside.
Go for it. You could make some money. You should start selling Pace forks to the US crowd ;)

Photo attached is at the top of Leith Hill approx 600/700ft high. Not very high but theres some great trails out there. You can make a good 20/30 mile ride out of the surrounding areas.
 

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FoShizzle said:
I think I was wrong about London....I was told today it is actually West London and not East. However, I still dont know if it will be Cambridge or London.

Its funny......at first I was actually a bit depressed that my mountain biking fun might suffer and after the many great pieces of advice I have already received, I am actually now excited to move.

I have a question to you or Uno-speedo about the Bullit....where Uno-speedo indicated to take the Bullit and sell it potentially for a profit, is that because Bullit are not common in the UK? It is a 2003 with very few miles on it and frankly, not freeriding or downhilling at all so it is in great shape. Since my company would be moving my junk over, I would simply add it to the stuff to be shipped if in fact it will be better to sell it over there. On that note, should I load up on Burner frames (Supergo is about 10 miles from my house) ? Since my company will ship my stuff for me I could get Burners over there effectively for the price of $949 since I would not have to pay shipping myself etc.. Maybe I should buy anything and everything that is tough to get in the UK before I move.

Cheers
Santa Cruzes are very popular here, but Bullits are overkill for most riding in the UK. Plenty of people have bigger bikes though, there is DHing, and plenty of people head to the Alps in Summer. Re: shipping frames, some people might prefer to have a warranty, Customs might suspect that they aren't for your personal use and tax the hell out of them, your company might balk at the level of insurance you put on the shipment (it isn't cheap when shipping containers), etc.

West London is definitely more desirable for access to the better riding and closer to Wales etc.

If it is London, not Cambridge, then come along to trailbuilding on Leith Hill and you will get a head start in trying to find all the trails that don't really exist. You could do worse than base yourself in the Dorking area for the riding and access to work in West London.

http://www.justridingalong.com/building/index.php

You might not get the California sunshine but you can ride all year round. Even snow isn't a deterrent. I moved here from SoCal and don't regret it.
 

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MTBR Tool
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Another Ex-Pat

here and another vote for Leith Hill.

The weather does suck but you'll adjust. A Burner might be a good choice as a primary bike in any case due to Turner's bushings and the amount of cold/wet/muddy abuse they can take.

Here's another couple of sites for you that my friends back there frequent.

http://www.westdraytonmbc.co.uk/

If you want to race:

www.beastway.com
http://www.londoncyclesport.com/southernxc/

Say hello to Sam, Ben or Chris if you hook up w/the West Drayton crew
 
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I say keep the Bullit at least until you get here

and check out the riding. There is a surprising amount of good technical riding near London. I live in Ascot, which is a suburb to the west of London about 25 miles (Just outside the M25 and in between the M3 and M4), and there is plenty of riding for which that bike is perfect.

There are several books available that basically connect bridal ways, byways and some roads into good cross-country rides (Ordinance Survey publishes some good ones). I particularly like the Chilterns for good bridleway rides because of the numerous excellent descents. There are also many areas with very technical mountain bike specific trails near London. I also go to Wales as often as possible and can assure you that you'll get to use all the travel on your trial bike there!
 

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Pick up copies of 'What Mountain Bike' and 'Mountain Bike Rider' (they are available here); each issue has a pull out map of different trails and details on the ride. Very informative.
 

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Fo' Bidniz in da haus
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Discussion Starter · #12 · (Edited)
Thank You So Much

I truly want to thank everyone for the great comments. For me, this is my only post that truly went beyond the surface layer of mountain biking issues and to have gotten such great feedback from all of you makes a difference to more than just my general mountain biking interests.

I will be moving (from Southern California where I can mountain bike on great singletrack at lunch year round) for 2 years somewhere between now and possibly as late as next summer. This is a major deal for me as I will not only be transitioning job responsibilities (the easy part) but will be moving my family (wife and 4 kids). While we all like the idea alot (great opportunity for me and my family to experience the world outside of American culture), mountain biking is the one thing that I can claim I do just for me (ie, my major identity outside of being a husband and dad) and it means a ton to me, as I am sure it does to many of you. In light of your comments I am so much more comfortable with this decision and for that, I truly appreciate you taking the time to provide such meaningful reponses.

Cheers
 

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used to be uno-speedo....
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Forgot to mention. If your working inside London and want a more suburban lifestyle then check out the town of Cobham its located in the county (state) of Surrey. Its located outside London on the south west side. Its a popular place for Americans to live. You have a good connection into London either by train or car. For the kids there is an American school also, might be a good place to make friends for them. Again your not far from the hills for biking. Also there is a 'secret' jump spot not far from this area located in the woods!

If you want good mexican/american food with a twist then try the Texas Embassy in London or Pacifico in Covent Garden.

Good luck.
 
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