by John Brown, HaveFunBiking.com
Springtime will soon be here and some great rides and races are coming with it. We all know about the standard rides and races. These rides start when you put your feet on the pedals, follow a leader and finish a few miles later. What you may not know is that there are heaps of other ride and race types out there and they all are really fun.
Food and drink are great rides
Riding to dinner or the bar is a great way to integrate a bicycle ride into your weekly habits. If you want to take that concept to the next level there are guided rides that will help. I recently wrote about a doughnut ride I went on which fits this category and it was a blast. Other such rides include the Sojourn, Sonoma wine tour or the H+I Taste and Trails mountain bike tour of the Scottish Highlands.
Unlike the food and drink rides, a poker ride isn’t a tour of underground high stakes poker games. Sadly, you won’t be rubbing elbows with mafia kingpins while donning Lycra. Instead a poker ride is a mountain bike ride, with checkpoints. The checkpoints (5 or 7 depending on the type of poker) gives out a playing card to each rider as they pass each station. At the very end of the ride, hands are compared and a “winner” is declared. Because of gambling laws these rides often generally offer products as prizes and are fun for all, because the “winner” doesn’t have to be the fastest rider.
The fox hunt rides
The most popular version of this ride is the Redbull Fox Hunt (check out the video). Basically, all the riders start down a course at once (the foxes). After a few minutes, the “hound” (a really fast rider!) is let loose down the same course. The “foxes” job is to not get passed and the “hounds” job is to try and pass everyone. While still small in numbers, because they end up being so fun, the amount of these rides are growing.
Bike and barge are another type of great rides
Popular in Europe, bike and barge rides are just what they sound like. Sleep and stay in a barge on a canal and ride different portions along the canal during the day.
Many of these rides (including one in our Amsterdam review) are similar to food and drink rides in that they dock the barges near great locations.
An Enduro is probably the most popular new race type in mountain biking. The basic idea here is to ride and race at the same time. How it works is you ride up the hills within a pre-set time then race through timed, downhill sections. At the end, all the timed sections are combined, with the lowest time being the winner. Overall, these races have a fun and cordial environment, with lots of conversation and community during the un-timed sections.
Grinduro and Gravel Grinders are another option for great rides
Like an Enduro, the Grinduro events have ride and race sections. Unlike an Enduro, Grinduros are ridden on gravel bikes rather than mountain bikes. Gravel bikes also find a home in gravel grinder events. A gravel grinder is either a bike tour or race that covers dirt and gravel roads. Events can be as short as 20 miles and as long as a few hundreds.
Mountain biking stage races
Mountain bike stage races are events that take place over a series of days. Each day is a different course and each course often starts and ends at approximately the same place. For most, the Idea of winning one of these races is not the reason they come out. With so much downtime each evening and because most of the lodging or camping is close together, these races take on a sort of festival atmosphere. Additionally, these events are often run in family friendly locations so the whole family can come along.
Hopefully this is the year you will find yourself at a new ride or race. With so many options the fun you and your family can have is nearly limitless.