trail-business https://www.trail-business.com We give you inspiration and show you how to organize your perfect mountain bike holidays besides a full-time job. Sun, 16 Jul 2017 15:15:49 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=4.8.1 https://www.trail-business.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/12/cropped-Logo-web-36x36.png trail-business https://www.trail-business.com 32 32 Holiday planner for mountain bikers https://www.trail-business.com/holiday-planner/ https://www.trail-business.com/holiday-planner/#respond Sun, 16 Jul 2017 13:33:27 +0000 https://www.trail-business.com/?p=5131
Mountain bike holiday planner and the theory of organizing mountain bike travels

Planning mountain bike travels can get very sophisticated and confusing quickly. During planning you will come across many options asking yourself whether to go by ferry or plane, sleep at a campground or in a cabin, stay 6 or 7 days or even take a guide? Which combination is now the best in regards of your budget and travel time?

Imagine yourself planning mountain bike holidays for you and five of your friends. Now you try to find the best combination out of hundreds of solutions with respect to cost, time and environmental impact. Not an easy task! But we have been through this a few times by now and want to share something with you:

The trail-business holiday planner!

How does the holiday planner work?

It is an excel spreadsheet that can easily be used by everybody (who has Microsoft Excel running on the computer…). Download a blank version and an example file. After opening one of the files simply follow the steps in the 8 tabs along the bottom of the sheet:

  • Starting Tab: Start with entering your basic travel data (dates and people joining the tour)
  • Tab 1: Enter daily costs (assumption for food and maybe bike rental)
  • Tab 2: Enter transportation options (car, train, bus, ferry,…)
  • Tab 3: Enter accommodation (hotel, campground, cabin,…)
  • Tab 4: Enter services you want to use (guides, tour packages,…)
  • Tab 5: optionally you can enter equipment you need to purchase for this travel
  • Tab 6: Build 3 combinations based on the tabs 2-4 using the dropdown menus
  • Final Tab: In this final calculation you get an overview. Based on travel time, costs and environmental impact you can then choose you best option

The holiday planner is totally flexible and you can edit every cell colored in blue. Every tab comes with an important notice colored in red at the top of the sheet.  Don´t worry, even without substantial knowledge in excel it can easily be mastered. We are currently thinking about recording a tutorial video for you, let us know if you need it.

How much does the holiday planner cost?

It is 100 % free! Trail-business.com is a private project so far without any monetarisation in mind. The only thing that is not free is the improvement of the holiday planner. This is where we need your input! You found mistakes, typos or have a question? Let us know and we can make the holiday planner better together.

Please download, use, like and don´t forget to leave a comment below!


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Norway https://www.trail-business.com/destinations/norway/ https://www.trail-business.com/destinations/norway/#respond Thu, 13 Jul 2017 20:41:38 +0000 https://www.trail-business.com/?post_type=portfolio&p=5726


Norway – 06/2017

Norway


panorama
driving skills
endurance

Norway? Why should you go to a destination so far up north only for mountain biking? Well, after having biked three different areas in Norway we found a thousand reasons why. Here are just a few:

  • awesome landscape,
  • beautiful natural trails,
  • daylight from 4 AM til 11 PM in summer,
  • very friendly people,
  • and the weather is better than what Norway is known for.

This time we rented a drone at droneking to capture the amazing landscape. Enjoy our report, pictures and video about mountain biking in Norway (and prepare for weird food combinations).

Planning

Inspired by Dustin´s hiking holidays in Norway we wanted to experience the trails on our bikes. Having agreed on the week right after Daniel´s wedding in June it was on Dustin to organize the trip to mountain bike in Norway. Luckily we where already in contact with Bjørn from Trailguide.net who seems to be famous all of over Norway 🙂

With his help we narrowed our options down to three different spots:

  1. Hallingdal – to meet Bjørn and bike together with him.
  2. the Fjords – for epic singletracks in stunning landscape.
  3. Gautefall – for biking on large rock areas created by glaciers during iceage.

After having set the destinations we used our cost calculation sheet to compare different accommodation and transportation options. Finally, we decided to go by ferry and car and book accommodation on AirBnB.

There is thing to bear in mind if you plan your budget: Food and drinks (especially alcohol) is pretty expensive in Norway. Therfore, we brought food and a portable cooler in order to save some money.

Best travelling time

As Norway stretches up over about 1750 km from north to south there is maybe no general “best” travelling time. But there are some things to consider: The further you go north the colder it gets (what a great finding ;)). Especially far up north climate is arctic all year long. In the fjord and coastal regions the weather is pretty mild, but often rainy in the mountains. Anyhow, prepare for snow even in summertime!

Most locals we met told us that the best travelling time is between June and September. Most mountain passes open already by the end of May until October.

We came to Norway at the beginning of June and were not really lucky with the weather. Hence, we were very happy about our sponsored dirtsuits light by dirtlej we used almost every day.

Getting there

Depending on where you start you can either go by plane, train, ferry, car, on a bike or even walk if you have time.

By plane:

Norway has almost 100 airports, but Oslo is by far the largest, followed by Bergen, Trondheim and Stavanger. If you fly to Oslo you can easily start your mountain bike adventure from there or rent a car or take a train to other areas.

By car from Europe mainland:

Driving through Denmark you can cross the bridges to Kopenhagen and Malmo. From Malmo you can then make your way up the coast. Be aware that the roads in Norway have many turns, uphills or bottlenecks and often a speed limit of 80 km/h. During planning you consider that driving by car sometimes takes longer than expected.

By ferry and car from Europe mainland:

There are three major ferry lines going to scandinavia:

Depending on where you start you can drive all the way up to the ferry ports at the northern tip of Denmark. Another option is to go in a cruise from Kiel, Ruegen, Rostock or Gdansk. In any case start planning early to not miss early booking offers. Try to keep you car within the dimensions of 5m in length and 2m in height to not pay extra.

Accommodation

All we were looking for was a place to sleep, cook and put our bikes during our roadtrip. Therefore, we booked self-catered cabins via airbnb, which turned out being a really great solution.

Hallingdal/Gol:

Appartment at Ligia on an old farm. Very warm welcome with delicious selfmade waffles and fruits!

Norway

Norway Norway

Hafslo at the Fjords:

A spacious and well-equipped self-catered cabin in the woods. The host Ernst even brought us wood for the fireplace.

Norway

Norway

Nissedal/Gautefall:

We stayed in a basic rural cabin about 400 metres of walking distance to the parking spot at the road. The host Henrik prepared the place for us. Hence we had a warm cosy place with enough water and beer 😉

Norway

Norway

As Norway has the “right or roam” you are allowed to camp in the wilderness and even on private ground after permission. For more info check the website from Visit Norway.

Language

Guess what, they speak Norwegian in Norway 🙂

It is nice to learn some very basic words like “takk” for “thank you”, but you get along with English very well. Most of the Norwegians switch to English anyways, as soon as they recognize you are a tourist.

Food

Already mentioned in the planning section above, food can be pretty expensive in Norway. If you like to drink a cold beer after a long bike ride, you will find yourself paying 8 € easily, even in supermarkets.

Hence, we decided to bring a cooler and fresh vegetables, food in cans and drinks from Germany. If you plan to do so either, double check toll.no/en on what you are allowed to bring into Norway.

For meat lovers try to find a place where they serve reindeer, tastes very nice, even on pizza.

Moreover, if you bring a fishing rod, you are allowed to go fishing in seawater places. For fishing in rivers and lakes you can buy a fishing license for only a few crowns.

But most importantly we discovered great receipes involving chocolate covered peanut (known as M&Ms). You can have them on bread, in milk, pasta and almost every dish you can imagine. For 1 week you will need at least 2 kg for 3 bikers.

Norway

Trips

After an early start for our Friend Andi coming up from Frankfurt to Hamburg we started driving to Hirtshals in Denmark by car. During the few hours on the ferry we only got little sleep until we Larvik in Norway at 2:00 AM. The rest of the night we spent with driving towards of Gol in heavy rain. A short stopover for a powernap and we arrived at our first mountain bike destination (Gol) where we met Bjørn from trailguide.net. Let the biking in Norway begin!

Day 1: Gol

Still tired but motivated we started our first bike ride at our appartment around 11 AM. About. First we had to pedal up to about 680 m above sea level on the northwest side of Gol. An easy uphill on tarmac and dirt road an off we went into the misty forest. Beginning with roots and muddy sections the single track offered a great mixture technical passages and flow trails. The spooky setting due to the fog in the dense forest gave us a feeling how thext days are going to be. At least that is what we thought.

Norway

Day 2: Gol (again)

Our second day in the area around Gol our group got bigger. Bjørn brought two really cool fellows Adrian and Andreas along. Without any idea on how the biking would be today we got into the car and drove up to the Nystølfjellet (no clue how to pronounce it properly). A fjell is a mountain range often spreading over large area – being our biking zone for the day. Starting above the tree line we cycled up to three different peaks with flowy trails in between.  This turned out being a great area to test our DJI Mavic Pro drone we rented at droneking for our new video. After a long break due to some technical issues we got some great aerial shots and continued on the fjell.

Norway

The Norwegian landscape did just not want to stop showing us his best facets. At the last plateau we had to cross an outflow of a lake as suddenly low clouds started to veil the view. After a short break the sky started to clear up again and offered an amazing view: To our right was an old hut right at the lake shore and to our left we saw the flank of the hill dropping into a valley surrounded by more mountains. We had no other option than letting the Mavic take off again to capture this stunning scenery. The way down the hill was pretty challenging and technical but a lot of fun!

Norway

Taking advantage of the long days of summer we started a second tour later that day. Bjørn led us up to the northeast of Gol via a tarmac uphill. About about 650 m above sea level we arrived at the trailhead. Winding down the single track towards Gol we crosses enjoyed a mix of forest, open and rocky slopes with some technical passages and some very fast and flowy parts. Later in the evening we could hardly believe the diversity of tracks we biked that day. In order to get an impression check out the scenes in the first minute of our video.

Day 3:

During a full day of driving from Gol to Hafslo at the Sognefjord through beautiful landscape we quickly stopped at a massive waterfall. Somehow Dustin´s mood was incredibly well, even though it was a large waterfall dropping down 155 meters. There is the assumption that only waterfalls between 5 and 50 meters cause bad feelings for him – nobody knows, we will keep on observing!

Norway

Back to biking! After the long drive to Hafslo the next day was mountain biking day number three. It turned out more being a hike and bike. This trip was the hardest of the Norway adventure: Up the mountain called Molden.

Norway

By car we drove up to parking spot and started our trip up the mountain. Some parts were okay to cycle but after a while it got way steeper, muddy and slippery. On the last section up to the peak at 1100 meters we shouldered the bikes and literally climbed up. Every meter was hard work but interrupted and rewarded by amazing lookouts.

Norway

Having defeated the climb up the mountain we started our descend down into the valley. Going down track of the 80/20 Enduro Series we had to cross snow- and mudfields. Later on we found out that they cancelled the last sections of the Enduro race last year due to bad track conditions. Well, after a while the trail became more rideable going back to very technical on the last kilometers. It is definitely a lot of fun for more advanced riders. Only one of us three was able to bike the whole track. Technically Daniel was the only real finisher of the race 🙂

Norway

At the end of the track almost at sea level we had to pedal up all the way back to the car. For the last 300 meters we took advantage of a very nice transportation concept: hitchhiking! Thanks to the Lady and her daughter who took one of us up to the car. Only a few minutes later Daniel was back with our car and we drove to our cabin.

Day 4:

During our fourth day of biking we rode many different tracks in the fjord area. There seem to be some ongoing discussions with some landowners about the behavior of some bikers (e.g. shuttling up all day with many bikes). Therefore, we respect the wish of the locals to not drag too much attention on this special area.

All we can say is that we pedaled up every meter we descended and stayed on the beautiful tracks. Besides amazingly flowy natural trails we also enjoyed a man-made section with steep curves and jumps. Later that day we met the local Vegard who showed us the really amazing green single tracks down to the fjord.  We enjoyed the fantastic panorama and the amazing ride, hoping the area will settle it´s discussion and bikers support the locals in finding a reasonable balance between tourism and nature conservation. Until then we hope you understand we don´t upload the GPS tracks of the area here.

Norway

Back in the car we drove to Nissedal, our last destination at Gautefall. Driving over the ice and snow covered Aurlandsfjell was an amazing experience. Norway´s landscape is just beautiful. It took us a full day until we arrived our cabin in the woods (hang on isn´t this a title of a movie? Well it didn´t get that bad!).

Day 5:

Next day (bike day number five) we took the bikes to the “Himmelrike”. Bjørn gave us the advice to cycle up the hill at the Gautefall skisenter on the bedrock. After having reached the top you will understand why the granite valley formed by the glaciers of the last ice age is called Himmelrike (kingdom of heaven).

Norway

Riding down the bedrocks it started raining and got more slippery every minute. On the last 10 meters of the track Daniel slipped on his bike and crashed into the rocks. The trip to Norway ended with a broken hand for him. Luckily he is almost recovered by now and will hopefully be able to enjoy the rest of the season on the bike.

What we learned

First finding: There is no need to carry cash money. You can pay everything by credit card.

Roads in Norway have many turns, uphills or bottlenecks and often there is a speed limit of 80 km/h. The time in the car can easily exceed the time spent on the mountain bikes.

You can find more mountain bike GPS tracks on the internet than we expected during planning. Pretty often they turn out to be much harder to ride than expected 🙂

It is not only a rumor: You can easily hitchhike in Norway (as long as you don´t want to take your bike inside the car 😉

Another finding is described in the food section of this article. All food lovers should prepare for an M&Ms cookbook by trail-business…

Costs

Costs for the three of us:

Ferry: 285,- € (car limited to 5 m length and 2 m height, 3 passengers)

Diesel:  200,-€

Rental roofbox: 55,- €

Accommodation: 600,-€

Food: 350,-€

Total: 1490,- € 

(about 500,-€ per person)

Our conclusion

An great destination for every mountain biker who loves nature. The landscape seems to change every few kilometers and offers magical sceneries (e.g. Himmelriket). When you are going to Norway bring enough time. The week for our trip was a bit short, we could have stayed longer at almost every spot.

Norway is a large country and you can mountain bike almost everywhere. As long as you do not expect a touristic infrastructure like in the Alps you can experience amazing natural single tracks. Prepare for all kinds of weather and you will have a lot of fun!

Be careful, because some tracks can get very tricky and you may need advanced biking skills to master them. But even if you just get off the bike at these sections you will love every minute in this beautiful country.

Which brings us right to the final point: Take some time to enjoy the nature and the beautiful scenery. Our impression is that Norway is not the country for shredding down the hill (except for bike parks like Hafjell maybe). It is more for advanced rider who love biking in rural and natural areas. Perfect for unique mountain bike holidays.

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Dirtsuits from dirtlej https://www.trail-business.com/dirtsuits-dirtlej/ https://www.trail-business.com/dirtsuits-dirtlej/#respond Thu, 08 Jun 2017 13:46:11 +0000 https://www.trail-business.com/?p=5693

Dirtsuits in summer? Well, during final plannings to visit Norway we wanted  to prepare against changing weather conditions and…

…we heard there are quite a few waterfalls in that area. Last time Dustin saw a waterfall he got in a really bad mood – nobody knows why. But it was clear we needed a solution to protect Dustin from the nasty waterfalls!!

We decided to contact dirtlej to get their brand new dirtsuit light edition that was not on the market yet. They just introduced the new series and we were lucky to get some in advance for testing in Norway. Dirtlej insured us the bad-mood-waterfall protection is being built-in. 🙂

And today we received the package! Inside the parcel we found two incredibly lightweight dirtsuits from dirtlej in orange with blue zippers. They seem to have a good quality and we are going to test them on the trails and under waterfalls in Norway next week. Daniel was really hoping for the pink version for matching his neon yellow Orbea Rallon, but unfortunately there is a supply problem at the moment. Dirtlej you can be sure he will continously check your website for the neon pink 🙂

Besides the dirtsuits dirtlej sent us their extended bike protection set. Looks like very reliable protection for our bikes being tied on the car´s bike rack. It appears to be like a full protection suit for our bikes including:

  • 2 forkprotector
  • 2 rearprotector
  • 2 frameprotector
  • 2 pedalprotector
  • 4 rimprotector

We will keep you updated with images and our experience with both the dirtsuits and the bike protection during our trip to Norway. Please root for Daniel the bad-mood-waterfall-protection really works. Otherwise he may be never seen again….

Thanks a lot to the dirtlej team for supporting us with your products!

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Preparing to visit Norway https://www.trail-business.com/visit-norway/ https://www.trail-business.com/visit-norway/#respond Fri, 05 May 2017 17:50:47 +0000 https://www.trail-business.com/?p=5670

Yeah!! We are going to take our mountain bikes far up north!

Visit Norway, the country of…

…trolls? Maybe. But we are way more interested in the trails Norway has to offer. We are currently planning the trip after having booked the ferry 2 months ago. This appeared to be a good idea to do quite early as they are almost fully booked by now. Going in June will hopefully bring us some decent weather for mountain biking. Especially the fjords around Kaupanger usually has little rain in June. Let´s hope for the best.

Visit Norway with..

…our mountain bikes and a video drone. Well, it looks like we are bringing a drone this time to spice up our videos with some aerials. At the moment we are waiting for good weather here in Germany to test the gadget before feeling confident taking it out in the wilderness 🙂

Visit Norway, meeting…

…the guys from trailguide.net in Hallingdal. You probably realized we support them by uploading our GPS-tracks to their website. In June they are going to show us their favorite single tracks in their area personally! We are very much looking forward to biking together.

Visit Norway for…

…awesome landscapes.

…waterfalls (Dustin hates waterfalls!).

…serious mountain biking and new single tracks.

…having a great time with friends.

…making new friends.

… there are so many other options to finish this sentence. If we did not pick the right ones for you: then please https://www.visitnorway.com/

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15 % discount on guided tours on the Azores https://www.trail-business.com/discount-azores/ https://www.trail-business.com/discount-azores/#respond Mon, 01 May 2017 11:34:43 +0000 https://www.trail-business.com/?p=5654

Special offer: Get 15 % discount on guided tours on the Azores!!

Still inspired by our destination article of the Azores? Well, here is the chance for the readers of trail-business.com to save 15 % on your mountain bike holidays on the Azores.

Simply follow five steps to get your discount:

1. Go to the bikesafaritour website

2. Pick one of the three services you want to book:

  • Guided Tours
  • Bike Shuttle Service
  • Rent a Bike

Or even better choose the full package!

3. Send a message in the months of May – July 2017 to bikesafaritour (use contact form, email, whatsapp, text message) and mention “trail-business.com” in your inquiry. Carlos from bikesafaritour will get back to you asap.

4. Enjoy your mountain bike holidays on the Azores saving 15 % with this special offer!

5. Make us happy by writing about your impressions of biking the Azores on trail-business.com.

discount azores

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Disclaimer: This an an exclusive offer from bikesafaritour.com to the readers of trail-business.com valid only in the time from 1st of May 2017 until 31st of July 2017. The discount is valid for one-time use per person only and cannot be combined with any other coupons, discounts, offers, or promotions. The discount is offered directly from bikesafaritour without any contractual involvement of trail-business.com. Furthermore, trail-business.com does not receive any commission for this offer.

Please bear in mind this offer is limited to the capacities of bikesafaritour.com for all of the provided services.

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Azores https://www.trail-business.com/destinations/azores/ https://www.trail-business.com/destinations/azores/#respond Sun, 23 Apr 2017 20:22:48 +0000 https://www.trail-business.com/?post_type=portfolio&p=5596


Azores – 04/2017

1
2
3
4
1

Indiana Jones

2

Bandeirinha Downhill

3

16 seconds

4

Ridge to Coast



panorama
driving skills
endurance

Going mountain biking on the Azores was more a coincidence. Being the first time the dudes from trail-business did not go biking together. Due to the fact that Daniel had some days from his annual leave of 2016 left, he booked a one week trip to the Azores with his girlfriend Luisa. The next mountain bike destination for trail-business.com was born. This time with a new supporter: bikesafaritour.com

Read about our impressions, after scouting out single tracks on the Azores.

Planning

It all started with planning normal holidays for me and my girlfriend. We wanted to be close to the sea and a destination that is warmer than Germany in April! After finding a cheap flight to the Azores we booked for the Portuguese island of São Miguel in the Atlantic Ocean.

Funny it wasn´t me but my girlfriend who had the idea of mountain biking for one or two days during our holidays. No need to ask me twice! To include biking into our holidays without too much effort and pre-planning, we decided to look for guided tours on the Azores. This turned out to be the best decision. After a short internet search we found bikesafaritour.com. At first, we wondered how they came across that name? But after meeting Carlos from bikesafaritour, it was easy to imagine him and his friends having a crazy night at the bonfire making up funny names. And this is actually the true story 🙂

After introducing trail-business to Carlos, he offered us his support. We were invited to bike with Carlos for two days on Enduro rental bikes. Awesome! Hence no further planning for us was necessary.

Best travelling time

The Region of the Azores (Região Autónoma dos Açores) is a volcanic archipelago composed of nine islands.  Approximately 1400 km west of Portugal in the Atlantic Ocean the climate is subtropical with only moderate changes in temperature over the year. From September until March you can expect 10 or more raining days on average, this is why we would recommend mountain biking on the Azores from April to August.

Insider tip: This period is also the best if you want to go out for whale watching and see the big whales like humpback, sperm whale or even blue whale!

Getting there

The main travel hub on the Azores is Ponta Delgada on the main island São Miguel. Depending on where you are live it can be a bit tricky and even expensive to get there. Most connections are coming and going from or to Portugal or Germany. Check on websites like skyscanner or directly with the following airlines for flying to the Azores:

  • TAP Portugal
  • Air Berlin
  • Azores Airlines (SATA)
  • Ryan Air

Accommodation

Finding accommodation on São Miguel, the main island of the Azores, is fairly easy. In a way it is up to you and your budget if you prefer to stay in a hotel or a six-bed dorm. A friend from Portuguese told me that many locals own property. Therefore the offers of private guestrooms are enormous. Moreover, the government on the Azores supports the locals to set up private guestrooms. We booked via airbnb and stayed in Rabo de Peixe, a small village approximately 15 minutes drive by car from Ponta Delgada. The place itself turned out to be quite luxurious at a rather moderate price of only 33,- Euros a night.

Language

The Azores being a part of Portugal, Portuguese is the language spoken on the archipelago. Nevertheless it seems that almost everybody speaks English. As soon as people realized our Portuguese is not really good (not to say practically non-existent) they immediately switched to English. We’re still going to equip you with some basic sentences in Portuguese on our blog that can be useful for your mountain bike holidays on the Azores.

Food

As soon as you set foot on Sao Miguel you’ll realize there’s lots of cattle. A variety of local dairy products is available wherever you go. In addition the cows spend their days hanging around on lush green hillsides. Feeding on nothing but fresh grass, you won’t be surprised that both the cheese and the steak you get are outstanding in taste and quality. Steak is typically served with fries and a fried egg on top. You’ll get great quality at a reasonable price at the Restaurante O Galego in Ponta Delgada. Attention: you need a reservation, because it is very much frequented by locals!

Obviously, an island in the Atlantic Ocean is perfect for fresh seafood. So if you are more the fish kind of person you’ll just love the local “Cataplana”. An incredibly tasty hotpot of various fish, shrimp, clams and vegetables. We had an amazing Cataplana at the O Pescador in Rabo de Peixe.

Luckily we were invited by our host to try another local speciality. The “Cozido” is a dish cooked by the geothermal heat of the volcanic ground. Pots of variable meats and vegetables are buried in the ground near the hot springs, the “Caldeiras”. It is cooked for several hours, solely by the heat provided in the volcanic soil.

Furthermore the Azorean Pineapples make a great dessert. If you feel more like a less healthy option there’s also tons tasty Portuguese pastries. For instance our favorite the famous Pastéis de Nata.

Trips

The weather on the Azores is unpredictable, so we were lucky to have our local mountain bike guide. Carlos from bikesafaritour.com always had a few options to choose from, depending on the weather at a given time or location. He also told us the most reliable weather forecast for the Azores can be found on windguru. But also that there is no such thing as a reliable forecast for the Azores.

However, during our 2 days of mountain biking we enjoyed four totally different trails. Ranging from natural and very technical downhill tracks to beautiful and easy to cycle flow trails:

Day 1

Indiana Jones trail

We started our first trip, the Indiana Jones trail, at the Lagoa do Fogo in dense fog. The Indiana Jones is a natural trail without any man made obstacles (except electric cow fences). It is pretty challenging to ride and surely something for the advanced biker – especially when it rains.

Starting with a short uphill from a parking lot at one of the lookouts, we crossed fresh and green meadows through steep and muddy washed-out trails. As the fog finally lifted it revealed a breathtaking panorama across the island and the ocean. Daniel crashed already on the first 200 meters and went down the slope landing on the soft green grass. His second crash is well documented and you can see him going over the bar in our video…

azores

Only 500 meters later Daniel decided to take an unintended and refreshing bath in one of the muddy puddles (with a touch of cow crap). All good things come in threes and off we went into the forest. Followed by his smell – urghs! Anyhow, the almost surreal fauna of giant ferns and intense shades of green gives you the feeling of entering Jurassic Park. Sadly, we could not spot any dinosaurs.

azores

Following a narrow and mossy path we passed small bridges, waterfalls, steep cliffs and an ancient lava river. Compared to the first section the terrain became a easier to ride with less slippery and steep sections.

Overall the Indiana Jones trail is a very beautiful trail. It is extremely diverse on its 9 km for both landscape and difficulty, but an amazing experience you should not miss biking on the Azores.

Bandeirinha Downhill track

After the Indiana Jones trail Carlos took us to the Bandeirinha Downhill track. The entry in a curve on the road is marked only by a small sign saying “Trelho Downhill” and as you can tell by the name it is a downhill track. Due to the rain over the last days the trail was very muddy and demanding. Anyways, even Luisa, being the first time on a full suspension bike, made it down. Rich on drops, doubles, root sections and narrow switchbacks you can have a lot of fun on the 2.4 km long Bandeirinha. According to Luisa it is easily possible to go around the obstacles and enjoy the ride. No need to be a downhill pro!

Day 2

16 seconds

On our second day of mountain biking on the Azores we started with a ride through a forest close to Furnas. It is called 16 seconds. According to Carlos the name derives from a challenge of two bike buddies: The first one, a skinny and well-trained guy, the other one a bit more chubby and less trained. They made a bet who manages the trail faster after only one week of training. Long story short, the chubby guy won 16 seconds ahead of the skinny guy.

azores

Entering the 16 seconds trail we got a feeling of being part of the movie Jurassic Park again. Still no dinosaurs but dense fern, moss and full of old trees. Short but beautiful is the best description for the 16 seconds. It is probably the best trail for everybody who wants to get into mountain biking on the Azores. If you start here you will love it forever!

Ridge to Coast

Our last trail on the Azores before heading back to Germany was a smooth flow trail east of Furnas. About 4.5 km of beautiful trail winding down from 400 m high mountain ridge down to Ribeira Quente at the south coast. Not only is the trail beautiful and easy to ride, it also offers exciting sections. At about half the way we went down a couple of switchback curves with both wooden and slippery stairs, roots and washouts. In the lower part of the trail we crossed an about 1.5 m wide and 10 m long concrete bridge without any side barriers. For accessing the bridge we had to descend about 4 meters on a concrete staircase. Sounds simple but when you sit on your bike in front of the stairs to the bridge your heart will for sure beat a bit faster than your resting pulse.

What we learned

First thing we learned is more a cultural thing: You can get along with English very well on the Azores.

Secondly, you can never trust the weather forecast on the Azores. It is not only a saying that you can experience four seasons on one day – we had at least three on every day.

As this was our second mountain bike holidays with rental bikes there is another important learning: Take your time for a proper setting on the rental bike. Always check the shocker pressure and don´t forget the rebound setting, like Daniel did on his rental bike.

Costs

Our costs per person:

Flights: 245,- €

Accommodation: 130,- €

Rental bikes: Sponsored by bikesafaritour.com

Food: about 25,- € /day

Total: ~ 575,- €

Our conclusion

We have to come back! Due to the bad weather we probably biked 2 % percent of what is possible on the Azores. Yes, we got a first impression of the main island São Miguel, but the other islands offer more great mountain bike trails to explore.

Moreover, the Azores provide trails for every category of mountain biking. Nevertheless we think the most intense experience is going for All Mountain and Enduro bikes to experience a taste of the Jurassic Park-like single tracks.

Furthermore, this is the first time we highly recommend going on the trails with a local guide. Sure you can bike the obvious trails, like the 16 seconds and the Bandeirinha Downhill without a guide. But on the other trails we would have had no chance finding the hidden entrances or junctions, even with a GPS track. In our case we were lucky to get support from Carlos from bikesafaritour.com, who we can highly recommend.

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8 essential tools for mountain bike holidays https://www.trail-business.com/8-essential-tools-bike-holidays/ https://www.trail-business.com/8-essential-tools-bike-holidays/#respond Tue, 04 Apr 2017 12:46:00 +0000 https://www.trail-business.com/?p=5581

Here you find the 8 essential tools for your bike holidays in line with our full holiday packing list. – Imagine you are on mountain bike holidays on a beautiful island somewhere in the mediterranean sea. After a scenic ride on the trails you recognize the saddle got loose or a chain link is about to break. Minor technical problems are no big deal when you are at home and close to your toolboy or a bike repair shop. Sure you can find bike shops almost everywhere, but it saves you a lot of time and hassle when you bring these 8 essential tools: Moreover, you can check your bike after every day in just a few minutes having everyting at hand.

  1. MULTITOOL
  2. LEATHERMAN
  3. PUMP
  4. SUSPENSION PUMP
  5. SUSPENSION LUBE
  6. CHAIN LUBE
  7. TORQUE WRENCH
  8. RAGS

1. MULTITOOL

A proper multitool is essential for every mountain biker. Therefore, we take at least one of the tools on the daily trips. It should cover the basic tools you need and have allen keys (hex keys), a flat-head screwdriver, a Phillips screwdriver (cross-head), a chain splitter, tyre levers, spoke keys, a knife and optionalyl if needed: box spanner 8, 9 and 10 mm and Torx keys.

There are multiple tool on the market and you find many comparisons and tests online. We personally use a Topeak ALIEN multitool for less than 50,- €.

2. LEATHERMAN

The leatherman completes your multitool. The tool adds a pair of pliers and other useful things to your travel tool kit. Moreover, it is also useful for opening bottles and cans during travels. That is why we believe it is one of the 8 essential tools for mountain bike holidays. You are asking yourself whether to buy an imitation or the original? Well, Aron Ralston said in an interview after the movie “127 hours” that he will never buy an imitation again 😉

3. PUMP

We guess there is no need to highlight the pump as an essential tool. Anyhw, for travelling it is important to buy a lightweight but efficient pump. Furthermore, it is definitely worth to invest in a pump with a pressure gauge!

4. SUSPENSION PUMP

The suspension pump is for sure an essential tool for mountain bike holidays. We even take a suspension pump on every day trip with the bike. Sometimes you recognize during a downhill your suspension has to be optimized. In that case you are happy to carry one with you.

5. SUSPENSION LUBE

For all non-metal parts that need lubrification suspension lube is a good choice. Moreover, it is very useful for cleaning the stanchion tubes, shafts and sealings.

6. CHAIN LUBE

The chain lube is one of the things people tend to forget. Even though it is an essential “tool” from our point of view. No matter if you biked in a dry and dusty area or it was wet and muddy. Clean and lube the chain after the rides! Usually we do it in the evening so that the lube has time to dispense properly inside the chain links over night.

7. TORQUE WRENCH

The torque wrench is a completion of the real tools for your bike holidays. You may think it is too much to carry with you. Still we say it is an essential! If you apply the correct torque on your mountain bike parts, they will last much longer and your set up will also be much safer.

If you tighten the parts to hard, the inner stress inside the material will be too high and the chance the parts break increases. On the other hand if they are too loose it is dangerous they could change position during biking and in wear at the interface increases significantly. Furthermore, I once read a study that even experienced mechanics cannot “feel” the correct torque. Okay, maybe enough with the technical talk. Just get a torque wrench! 🙂

8. RAGS

Finally we recommend to bring one rag for cleaning the parts of the drive train (an old shirt does the job) and another for the sensitive parts of the suspension (a soft cloth). Both doesn´t weigh a lot and helps you bringing the important parts of your mountain bike in good condition for the next day.

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Finding the perfect mountain bike destination https://www.trail-business.com/perfect-mountain-bike-destination/ https://www.trail-business.com/perfect-mountain-bike-destination/#respond Sun, 12 Mar 2017 18:30:34 +0000 https://www.trail-business.com/?p=5534

Five simple steps towards the perfect mountain bike destination

We know: there are so many great places on this planet you could take your mountain bike. Hence, it feels so hard finding the perfect mountain bike destination for the next bike holidays. Maybe there isn´t even such a thing as an imperfect mountain bike destination? Okay, when you booked a trip on a cruise ship you may not have chosen the best place for mountain biking.

However, the question should be: how do you find YOUR perfect travel destination for mountain biking? In order to answer this question we sketched a simple but useful process in five steps for you.

  1. Get inspired!
  2. Find bike buddies!
  3. Set your travel time and budget.
  4. Check for biking infrastructure and GPS tracks.
  5. Choose YOUR perfect mountain bike destination.
Step 1: Get inspired!

From our experience the most important thing is that you find a destination you really want to visit (even without mountain bike). Start talking to friends about their last travels, watch YouTube videos or leaf through mountain bike magazines. You can find good sources for inspiration (besides trail-business.com) also online:

Think about what you are passionate about during biking and what you like to see during your mountain bike holidays: mountains, forests, lakes, beaches, coastlines, cities, historical sites, other bikers, …

We usually end up with something below ten ideas in this phase. Found inspiration? Great, but you will need a bit more than just inspiration to find your perfect mountain bike destination.

Step 2: Find bike buddies!

Try to find mountain bike travel buddies as early as possible. Not only because mountain biking with friends is way more fun, it is also much safer than biking alone. Sure not everybody will be on the same level of mountain biking in terms of endurance or technical skills. But whatever you experience during your mountain bike holidays – the best part is to share this time with your friends. In that case it doesn´t matter if you cycled 25 or 28 kilometers. Moreover, you can build on the joint time for your next mountain bike holidays.

Step 3: Set your travel time and budget.

With all the inspiration from step 1 in the back of your head, you are ready for the organizational stuff. Start with setting the travel time (dates and duration) and also set a maximum for your travel budget. This may sound easy, but when you have to align with your friends this can be a time consuming step.

At this point you can rule out many places from step 1 just because of the weather. Sure, the perfect mountain bike destination does not only rely on good weather, but sunshine motivates a lot! Some destinations may be too far away. Choose a good ratio of the journey to get to the destination and time left for mountain biking. You don´t want to spend most of the time in a car or a train. The reason for this holidays is something else 😉

Limiting your budget in this step will again reduce the places you can go. But do not discard interesting places too fast. Sometimes you can get really cheap offers online (holidaypirates.com) or via a travel agency. It is always worth checking.

Always remember it is not just normal holidays: you need a bike! Prices for rental bikes vary from place to place and can be higher than you expect. For bringing your own bike, depending on the kind of transportation, you may need an expensive bike travel bag. Moreover you have to allow for spare parts, tools, clothes for different weather and much more. Check out our holiday packing list to save you from forgetting important things.

You can keep your time and budget under control by creating a planning list for the whole group of friends, who travel with you. Very soon we will provide you a planning sheet on our blog to download!

Step 4: Check biking infrastructure and GPS tracks.

After having set travel time and budget you are ready to check for GPS tracks on the internet. You can find GPS tracks in our destination articles and on trailguide.net, as well as on many other websites like GPSies, outdooractive or Strava. Looking for tracks gives you a good impression about mountain biking at a certain destination. Frequently, you will find touristic infrastructure for mountain bikers and online resources from local groups or tourism offices.

If you don´t find much, it doesn´t mean it is not your perfect mountain bike destination. Try to search for Facebook groups or local mountain bike clubs in that area. Via websites like trailguide.net you can get in touch with bikers from different countries and ask them for advice and local experience.

Step 5: Choose YOUR perfect mountain bike destination.

You probably ended up with one or two very nice options. During the process, YOUR perfect mountain bike destination probably changed a couple of times. Finally it is up to you and your buddies to decide where you want to go. The best thing about the five steps is: You still have at least one more perfect mountain bike destination left for next year!

Our relaxation advice: Allow at least one full day per week to relax and for sightseeing.

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Mountain bike cleaning – getting the bike ready for the next trip https://www.trail-business.com/mountain-bike-cleaning/ https://www.trail-business.com/mountain-bike-cleaning/#respond Sun, 05 Mar 2017 16:40:10 +0000 https://www.trail-business.com/?p=5194

The time eventually comes when I look at my mountain bike and say to myself: „I have to take it all apart to get the dirt out of the system.”. Over the next days, I find myself looking at new bikes on the internet, which I definitely cannot effort – but they look so shiny and clean! I once heard a friend saying that mud conserves a bike. Well, I never learned that during my engineering studies. But rethinking his argument somehow takes me over another day.  The final stage is reached when I think it is no longer necessary to lube the chain, because it will be replaced anyhow. Time for a proper mountain bike cleaning!

Bring it to a bike shop?

Sure, you can bring your bike to a bike shop and get it serviced. But there are multiple reasons to do the simple things by yourself. First, it can be much cheaper to do the basic service by yourself, unless you damage expensive parts during work 😉 Secondly, it is really good to know how your bike works, if something has to be repaired during a trip on your mountain bike holidays. Thirdly, you get a good feeling of your bike´s condition, which parts are fine, and which will need replacement soon. No offence meant, but I think I will even clean my bike more thoroughly during repair than a bike mechanic would. (I am sure there are also mechanics, who are very thorough in mountain bike cleaning doing a bike service.)

For larger services, e.g. servicing the shockers or the refill of brake liquid, I guess it totally makes sense to bring the bike to a shop. In the end, it is up to you, what you do by yourself. I am happy to read about that in the comments.

Preparation

Our next mountain bike holidays are getting closer and I have to get my bike in shape. This time my bike should get a full cleaning, proper lubrication and some replacement parts I bought in advance:

  • cassette
  • chain
  • crank set (due to faulty Race Face product)
  • pins for the flat pedals
  • wire for front derailleur

Over the years I built up a remarkable collection of tools, but I guess the following basic tools (buy good quality!) will bring you pretty far already:

  • Allen keys
  • Screwdrivers
  • Ratchet set
  • Cassette tool
  • Chain whip
  • Chain tool
  • Rags (most important tool)

In case you want do services on your hydraulic brakes and you know how to do it, you need a bit more. Online you can find multiple helpful tutorials on special services for your bike.

Day of the disassembly for mountain bike cleaning

I prefer to start with a basic mountain bike cleaning using a bike cleaner (like Muc-off) and a pressure sprayer for gardening. With the sprayer, the water pressure is strong enough to remove the dirt without damaging the bearings of your bike. Some people even use the high-pressure cleaners at the gas stations, but the risk of washing the grease out of your bearings is high.

After cleaning and drying the bike with a towel I start to take the bike apart. If you do this the first time: take pictures of details to ensure the correct assembly in the end.

picture of center pivot

picture of adjustment for rear suspension

Check every part for cracks and visible defects and try to turn the pivot bearings with your fingers. They should run smoothly without significant lateral play.

The last times for me everything went well, but this time the cassette dug deep into the aluminium hub and it was very hard to remove it. I am rolling on Hope Tech Pro 4 where you can easily (like on many other wheels, too) pull off the freehub. After 15 minutes the solution was the vice and a hammer. Hence I cleaned an lubricated all parts of the freehub, but I am afraid this is the last service before replacement. I consider changing it against a sell freehub next time.

picture of disassembled mountain bike

Final assembly

Doing this the first time it might take a bit longer. Look at the photos you took during disassembly in case you are not sure how to put certain things together. Follow two simple rules for the assembly of your mountain bike:

  1. Use the correct torque on every part (sometimes printed on the parts or find it online)
  2. Use Grease on moving parts (maybe not on plastic parts) – bearings, axles, shafts, pivots

If everything is properly put together you are ready for a test ride and ready for your next mountain bike holidays.

I hope this motivated you to prepare your mountain bike for the next bike holidays. Let us know in the comments what services you do by yourself or when you bring it to a shop. You have technical questions or other questions regarding mountain bike cleaning, feel free to ask.

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Preparing for the next island: the Azores https://www.trail-business.com/preparing-next-island-the-azores/ https://www.trail-business.com/preparing-next-island-the-azores/#respond Sat, 04 Mar 2017 16:09:38 +0000 https://www.trail-business.com/?p=5384

The first week went really fast and now we have a great announcement to make:

The Azores, a new destination and a new sponsor:

In April, Daniel will visit the Azores, portuguese islands in the Atlantic Ocean, for holidays with his girlfriend. During preparation for the trip we found out the Azores seem to be a great place for mountain biking. Just last week was the Enduro-Fest 2017 on the largest of the islands, São Miguel. Therefore, it is a great chance for a new destination report on trail-business.

Consequently we got in touch with the organizer of the Enduro-Fest with a great result. Bike Safari Tour will support us with a guided enduro tour for two days. We are going to ride the most beautiful trails on the island on brand new Merida One Sixty bikes. Thank you, Carlos!!! We are really excited! :).

Getting hectic:

As already mentioned this was a very short-term decision. Now we have to get the shared video equipment from Hamburg (home of Dustin) to Frankfurt (home of Daniel). Moreover, we have to get Daniel´s girlfriend, normally riding cross country, ready for a two day enduro trip in rough terrain: New shoes, jersey and protective gear for a perfectly fashionable appearance is a must! There goes the budget 🙁

In the mean-time we keep you busy with a very inspiring video of the devinci team riding the Azores:

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