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Winter is well and truly upon us. And what does that mean? Wrapping up in your winter cycle clothing and tackling the snow, ice, and frozen or muddy trails. While riding in the winter might not be the simple joy that summer riding is – you’ll need to kit up extensively to avoid the elements and time your ride with the early nights in mind – there’s something that bit more rewarding about tackling everything the colder months can throw at you.
But if you fancy mixing it up a little and enjoying a summer ride in between winter rides just to keep yourself fresh, how about a bit of Southern Hemisphere mountain bike action. Here’s our guide, just to give you a few ideas.
It’s the home of extreme sports in the Southern Hemisphere; with both the North and South Island a haven for mountain bike enthusiasts. The small town of Queenstown in the Otago district of the South Island is one of the top locations for extreme sports anywhere in the country. There are the world famous AJ Hackett Bungee jumps, a top skate park and some stunning skiing and snowboarding. The mountain biking isn’t bad either, with the Queenstown Bike Park located in the Ben Lomond Recreational Reserve, high above the town, rivalling many bike parks around the world. The town has a number of specialist mountain biking outlets offering you inside knowledge on the top trails and your choice of the best in full suspension mountain bikes, so you can really hit those trails hard.
Other great locations to explore on the back of your mountain bike include the many parts in and around the capital, Wellington; Woodhill Bike Park in Auckland and Pan Pac Eskdale Mountain Bike Park in Napier.
Any trip to South America is bound to be the adventure of a lifetime, but even better if you throw in a couple of days of mountain biking in amongst seeing the sites and sampling the local culture. Most famous is the “world’s most dangerous road” from La Cumbre to Yoloso outside La Paz in Bolivia, but that’s not the only Bolivian highlight with some great trails in and around the capital city. Hitting the mountain bike trails here can be quite difficult, due to the high altitude meaning a few days to acclimatise is essential, but you’ll get there.
Latin America’s version of the Lake District, Patagonia, located across both Argentina and Chile also has some fantastic trails. The Carretera Austral is arguably the top ride in Chile, while the best of Argentina is showcased by the region of Bariloche. If you really want to push yourself try some of the trails over the Andes.
Australians and New Zealanders are always competing. Whether on the rugby field, the cricket pitch or in the pub it’s always a game of one-upmanship, so it’s not for us to say which country has the best mountain bike trails. They both offer something different.
Top spots in Australia include the 30 miles of purpose groomed mountain bike trails at the You Yangs, in Victoria just outside Melbourne, the Blue Mountains Trail Network in NSW and the Mount Wellington Pipeline Track in Tasmania. Take your pick!