Welcome to Northern Ireland's Outdoor Adventure Blog. This blog will keep readers up to speed with all things ‘adventure’ in Northern Ireland this year. The OutdoorNI team will be posting up new and exciting information on the best ways to get out and enjoy the Northern Irish countryside whilst industry professionals will be letting us into their tips of the trade in order to get the best from Northern Ireland’s ultimate activity playground!

This blog is packed full of useful information for everybody looking to take part in outdoor activities from the hardcore adrenaline junkie to those simply looking for some fun ideas for all the family.

This outdoor adventure blog will cover a range of land, water and air based activities such as caving, coasteering, hover crafting, zorbing, surfing, sky diving and many more. You can also find more activity specific information by visiting the other three blog sections on cycling, canoeing and walking.

Glyn O'BrienMickey ReganChris Armstrong
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Trying an E-Bike from Bike Mourne at Castlewellan MTB Trails

Posted on November 3, 2022 @ 4:06 PM in Mountainbiking

Last Friday I was lucky enough to be given the opportunity to spend the afternoon riding around Castlewellan mountain bike trails on a full suspension rental e-bike provided by Bike Mourne.

 

Who are Bike Mourne? 

Bike Mourne provide bike and e-bike hire in three different locations: Castlewellan trail centre, Rostrevor Trail Centre and from their new Newcastle hub. Hire can be for 3, 4 or 6 hours with both e-bike and mechanical options for hardtails and full suspension. Their rental hubs are open year-round, with opening hours transitioning to 09.30– 16.30 over the winter months.

 

Bike Mourne also offer uplift services and downhill bikes at their hub in Rostrevor for the weekend downhill warriors.  

 

Bike Mourne’s Castlewellan HQ is known as Life Adventure Centre, here in the Grange Courtyard 

 

My Day on the Bike 

The session began with a coffee and chat with Thom at the Castlewellan rental hub who talked me through the bikes they offered and benefits of each choice. For me it was a no brainer – I wanted a full suspension e-bike. Although the most expensive option, I knew that the additional battery power on the climbs and rear suspension through the technical rock gardens at Castlewellan would offer me value for money.  

 

The start of the MTB journey at Castlewellan

 

It was to be my first experience on an E-bike, and boy was I excited! I picked out one of the many full sus e-bikes that make up the Cube fleet at Bike Mourne, hoping they were as impressive to handle as they were to look at. I wasn’t disappointed.   

 

After a pedal around the car park and Castlewellan’s pump track I quickly became familiar with the added push the e-bike provides. Soon enough I felt comfortable enough with the bike to hit the trails! Castlewellan’s trails all start with a Blue trail that then leads on to red or black options, so it’s a good opportunity to warm up as you take in the area’s beauty.

 

The bike felt natural from the word go, with the flowy first section of singletrack at Castlewellan offering a perfect opportunity to break in the new steed. The sharp climbs that usually fill your legs with lactic acid on the next section beyond the castle proved no match for the e-bike as I reached maximum elevation in record time, as fresh as a daisy!   

 

 

A quick break to take in the views of the Mournes 

 

Then the real test – my first electric powered black trail. The Great Escarpe was the trail of choice and the E-bike was the perfect companion on this technical challenge, with the high-end components being more than a match for the tricky rock gardens and fast sections Castlewellan’s toughest test presents.  

 

After wiping the sweat from my brow, I followed the red trail back towards the trail head, making the most of each second of the ride home, knowing I may not get the chance to ride a bike like this again for a while.  

 

As I pedalled back into the Grange Courtyard, I was smiling from ear to ear; the guys described it as the classic “e-bike first timer” face. A quick coffee and a chat with the guys rounded my day off – no better way to kick off the weekend.   

 

To anyone eager to take an e-bike for a spin around two of Northern Ireland’s premium trail centres, stopping in at Bike Mourne is a must-do. Be sure to check out their website to stay in the loop with upcoming events, such as night rides, e-bike tours and much more!  

 

For more information on Bike Mourne, be sure to visit their website https://www.bikemourne.com/ and follow their socials @bikemourne.    

Harry Reid
Harry Reid  Junior Executive

Harry will typically be found playing rugby. However, when not chasing the egg shaped ball, Harry enjoys hiking with his dad in the Mournes or attending music gigs with friends.

What to Love About Riding In the Wet Seasons

Posted on September 8, 2022 @ 12:44 PM in Mountainbiking

As the long summer nights start to ebb away, it's easy to become disheartened as autumn (and even winter) make their presence known. MountainBikeNI.com looks at the positives of riding out of the warm seasons.

 

1) Nature is nature all year round

Yew and Holm Oak Trees are distinctive around Blessingbourne Estate

 

In survey after survey, mountain bikers repeatedly highlight getting into nature as one of the biggest reasons for why they mountain bike. It's easy to see why - problems seem to be smaller, if not forgotten altogether when you're pushing down your favourite trails.

The good news is that the absence of long days or hotter weather doesn't change that. It's a different costume on the same old friend. If you're at at Blessingbourne Estate MTB Trails, you'll still be surrounded with it's ruggedly epic forest - it just may not be as sunny (although we're told the sun is always shining in Fivemiletown...)  All the benefits humans derive from being outdoors are still there - we might just be a little wetter than before. Speaking of which...

 

2) Splashing in puddles is fun

'Yeo'ing is not compulsary but is advised

This probably sounds a little simplistic but almost every rider has that inner child who loves the thrill of flying through a mucky puddle and feeling it skite up around the bike as we take the next corner. The autumn and winter months provide this in abundance and it makes the hot shower at the end of your ride all the more rewarding. Davagh Forest is a personal favourite of ours for going in dry and coming out like a swamp monster. We love it.

 

3) Step up the challenge


The burning legs can keep you warm when the weather is against you

Mountain biking in poor conditions is a real game changer. Strong winds and rain coming in sideways all create a different challenge for riders who are inclined to give it a try. Berm dismounts can feel that bit slicker, rock drops become a bit more gnarly and even just the mental push to get through some of Northern Ireland's longer trails (that 27km in Rostrevor can burn the legs out quicker when the weather is against you) mean you feel better than ever when you've finished.

For those who enjoy playing around with their set up, the darker months also allow you to tryout more aggressive tire thread patterns, finding the perfect level of grip etc. It also gives you an excuse to visit Chain Reaction and treat yourself to some new bike tools.

 

4) Night riding is back on the menu


Davagh Forest and Barnett Demesne trail centres have both become popular night riding spots

As we've mentioned in previous blogs, night riding is a great opportunity to see a trail centre from a totally different perpective. Corners that were before unnoticable can now jump out at you at the last minute. Barnett Demesne MTB Trails has a huge subculture of night riders during these months, many of whom have their most enjoyable shredding sessions at night time (feel free to check out any of the MTB clubs around Northern Ireland) and with the passing of summer, you no longer need to wait until 11pm to get started. 

 

5) You'll be healthier

Proof that mountain biking keeps you healthy!

Humans tend to get sick more in winter - that's an unfortunate fact and part of the reason our parents hated it when we were kids. Keeping yourself active during this time is incredibly important and there's no better way to do it than mountain biking. If you have kids, somewhere like Castlewellan is ideal as you can all stick to the blue trail, or if they're a bit older, hit the red.

The cold means you'll actually burn more calories than you would if riding during spring or summer; you'll be increasing your Vitamin D if you head out during the daylight and it gives you a reason to get out when a walk in the rain may not seem as appealing.

 

We hope you enjoyed reading our latest blog. We'd love to hear what you enjoy about riding in autumn and winter - let us know on our Facebook post here.

Ethan Loughrey
Ethan Loughrey  Mountain Bike Officer

Hardest thing about Mountain Biking? Definitely the trees.

On Yer Bike - Why Northern Ireland is the Perfect Mountain Bike Destination for People in the Republic of Ireland

Posted on April 11, 2022 @ 2:11 PM in Mountainbiking

There are a lot of factors that go into deciding where your next mountain bike destination will be. Today MountainBikeNI explores the myriad of reasons why RoI riders should get #OnYerBike and head north