How to mountain bike when you're skint
No money, no problem
It's that time of year when the bills go up and we have to start forking out for Christmas, basically the worst time of year to be thinking about spending money on bikes.
We know that mountain biking isn't cheap but don't worry though, there's a few ways you can still get out and ride without shelling out a shit tonne of money.
Of course loads of you go riding locally most weeks, probably so much that you're bored of it, but there's more to where you live than meets the eye.
Try hitting the streets or have a sweet sweet jib session on the trails you normally blast through. Think bowls, parks, pump tracks. Even pancake-flat Blackpool has a world class BMX track - there are no excuses.
Use 26 inch wheels
Let the weekend warriors follow the wheelsize trends and pick yourself up a bargain 26er they've left behind. There are loads of components and frames that brands are looking to get rid of on the cheap so take the chance to pick yourself up a bargain.
Wash your bike
Ask any mechanic what their number one tip for keeping your bike in order is and they'll tell you to wash it more.
Simply put, the longer between washes, the quicker components wear out and the more you'll have to fork out on new kit. It only takes five minutes after a ride to give it a wash and rub down, so you've nothing to lose.
Take your own food
"Fuck you overpriced burger with stale bread and dry meat, that only tastes nice because I'm knackered" is what you're going to start saying next time you head out on the bike (apart from Bike Park Wales lamb burgers, some things are too hard to resist).
We'll stick to a sweaty cheese butty and some squashed malt loaf. Mmmm tastes like savings.
Organise your own races
There's no denying that racing is an expensive hobby. You get what you pay for, but it ain't cheap. But if you're not bothered about the official titles but still want the thrill of competition you'd be surprised how easy it can be to just do it yourself.
A stopwatch and a pair of walkie talkies can be your timing system or, even easier, just do a mass start race and the first to the bottom wins. You don't even have to organise prizes but cakes are always recommended.
Don't go to the Alps
Are the Alps really that good? Erm, well, yeah they are. But that doesn't mean you'd be disappointed having a wee road trip around the UK. Our bike park scene is booming at the moment and you won't have to shell out for flights, lift passes or pastries for breakfast. Winner.
Build your own tracks
If you want to take this one step further, don't even bother going to bike parks and build your own tracks. Make sure it's somewhere legal (or at least well hidden) and pack some turns into the dirt.
You'd be surprised at how much fun you can have just from a slimy rut in the ground. Plus you get to moan at other riders all year for ruining it by riding on it.
Buy second hand
This is the obvious one but you don't have to sway to the whims of 'the industry'. Yes, we know new things are shiny, but old things work just as well.
Head over to eBay and shop around for a bargain. Obviously there are pitfalls to doing this but as long as you don't pick up one of these you'll be doing ok.