Nothing beats the wind whipping in your face, the dust catching at the back of your throat, the jarring impact through braced arms as you careen down a mountainside with nothing separating you from the unforgiving ground but a t-shirt and your own skill. It is that potential for danger, the desire to find the edge between elation and disaster that drives mountain bikers seek out ever newer and more challenging terrain. Mountain bikers will traverse the globe seeking this thrill, and many find their way to the Blue Mountains of Australia.
Mountain biking in the Blue Mountains allows riders the opportunity to enjoy easy trails and natural beauty as well as a chance for the more adventurous to test their skills on increasingly rugged terrain. There are courses and tracks available that allow the true beginners to get their first taste of life away from the pavement and trails and sidetracks to test even the hardiest and most experienced of riders. A multi-day trip through the Blue Mountains will leave mountain bikers thoroughly spent and completely satisfied at the end of their journeys.
Experienced and novice riders alike know that there is something unique about experiencing new terrain from the saddle rather than behind the wheel. Free from the confines of metal and glass, you experience your surroundings on a more intimate level. You notice ever tree, every pebble, every twist and turn of the trail. You hear the birds call in the trees and the feel of the sun on your neck. The sense of elation and pride from cresting a hill using your own two feet and legs is hard to duplicate when all you need to do is press the accelerator. In a pristine setting like the Blue Mountains of Australia, mountain biking is truly the best way to experience all the area has to offer.
Places to See on a Blue Mountains Bike Tour
As mentioned, there are many trails for Mountain Bikers in the Blue Mountains and all will take you to some fantastic locations that are virtually impossible to reach by any other method.
The Megalong Valley
Most bike tours will begin and end in the Megalong Valley. The Megalong Valley is the easiest access point for most people as it is located just off the Great Western Highway. The Valley itself boasts scenic views, historic landmarks, and easy warm-up trails. This makes the Valley the ideal starting point for both beginners, experienced mountain bikers, and everyone in between.
The world’s oldest dated caves, the Jenolan Caves offer mountain bikers a welcome respite and an opportunity to catch their breath in one of the most beautiful places in the world. Since their discovery in 1838, these magnificent caves have allowed visitors to view some of the most calcite formations in the world. A tour of the Orient Cave and the Temple of Baal is a not-to-be-missed side adventure of any mountain bike tour of the Blue Mountains.
Sweeping vistas and a panoramic view of the Megalong Valley await riders at the Hargrave’s Lookout. This is often a spot for mountain bikers to take a break for a picnic, and the scenery makes it well worth the climb.
Many mountain bike trails naturally follow Cox River. The river runs the length of Megalong Valley in the Blue Mountains and provides a relatively easy ride once you reach the river. The ride down and back up can be steep in places, so it is best to go with a group. The Cox River is where many bike tours decide to stop and rest for the night. It is a terrific place to pitch a tent, build a fire, and enjoy a night outdoors.
This long plateau divides the Jamison and Megalong Valleys. It is a great ride with magnificent views on both sides. Mountain bikers will find an accommodating, well-maintained track that will provide just enough challenge to burn the legs but not leave them completely wasted at the end of the ride. The simultaneous view of each valley make this ride a standout.
These are just a few of the highlights of a mountain bike tour through the Blue Mountains of Australia. Your tour guide will know many more. While it is easy just to grab your bike and go, a guided mountain bike tour will ensure that you do not miss anything on your next trek.
What Mountain Bike Equipment Should You Take?
Mountain bikers know that equipment can mean the difference between a great trip and a miserable day. As mentioned, the Blue Mountains offer tracks for novice and experienced riders, and the type of equipment needed is largely dependent upon which track you choose and how long you plan to be out. At a minimum, you need a sturdy frame bike with at least front shocks. Your spine will thank you later. A spare tube, or several, is also recommended. Pinch flats are common on these tracks, and can ruin a wonderful day if you are not prepared to repair the problem. You should pack any tools and parts necessary to perform minor repairs on your bike.
Even for daytrips, it is advisable to carry a change of clothing. In the mountains, the weather can change quickly and go from sunny to black in minutes. A light rain jacket, fresh socks, shirt, and shorts weigh next to nothing. There is no reason not to carry them with you. For extended, multi-day trips, pack for cooler temperatures at night. It does get cold at altitude.
A trip to the Blue Mountains of Australia should be on every mountain biker’s list. Scenic views and challenging trails offer everything a mountain biker could desire. There are tracks and trails for every fitness level from novice to expert, and the region boasts some of the best lodges for mountain bikers in the world. That said, the best way to see the region is with a guide. A guided tour ensures that you do not miss those hidden gems that only locals know about. Sure, it is easy to grab a bike and go it alone, but for many, it is much better to allow others to take care of all the little details like equipment rental, food, and lodging. That way, they can focus on enjoying themselves.