Mountain Biking in the Small Isles
Mountain biking is a great way to explore the Small Isles and it is free to take them on the ferries. (You can also hire bikes on Eigg and Rum, if you don't bring your own.) Roads and tracks in the Small Isles are not all sealed and some are rougher than others, but all are suitable for mountain bikes. Rum and Eigg have the longest amount of roads to cycle on, but Canna and Muck also offer great cycling for families with younger children. Note that it is recommended to stick to the roads indicated as farming on Muck, Eigg and Canna means fields with livestock must be avoided unless indicated as part of a route.
As with other sports, mountain biking has its own set of rules, many of which were created by the International Mountain Biking Association. Here are few key rules to remember:
Ride only on open trails.
- Always follow the signs and route markers, and get to know the trails well.
- Stay in control. Watch your speed, slow down around tight corners, and don't try any tricks beyond your skill level.
- Yield the trail. When you get near another person, slow down. Let them know you're approaching and signal that you want to pass.
- Be prepared. Bring along a repair kit and extra supplies, so you don't get stuck out on the trail.
- Clean up. Any rubbish you bring with you should go back home with you or be disposed of properly.
- Watch out for animals. Never approach wild animals or startle them.
- Mountain Biking
MOUNTAIN BIKING TIPS – THE BIG THREE FOR TECHNIQUE
by Pat Fitzpatrick
Counter steer into corners.
Be controlled, smooth and precise in your action and use the counter steer to bring your bike to the outside of the trail as you enter into a turn. This action widens your cornering arc and allows you to carry more speed. It’s generally a smoother trail on the outside as well.
Ride around the top or bottom of bumps into and through corners. It’s smoother faster and more energy efficient.
Once you’ve entered the corner, position your body weight toward the front of the bike. This position keeps your center of gravity low on the bike. This stylised position is achieved by bending your elbows to act as suspension and bringing your chest toward the handle bars and stem. This assists the bike to turn sharply and brings extra traction to the front wheel.
As with your road bike when you stop pedaling in a corner your outside foot should go to the bottom of the pedal stroke.Your inside knee swings into the corner.
Inside shoulder drops.
Outside elbow rises.
Bring your head and chest toward the handle bars.
Bum off the seat allows you to turn your hips in the direction you want to go.
Lean into the corner.
Lower your center of gravity. Think snow skiing. Mountain biking is same same. It’s like carving a good turn on the snow.
Steep uphill riding position is similar to the cornering position. Bring your head and chest toward the handle bars by bending your elbows. Combined with sliding your butt forward on the seat keeps the bike tracking in a straight line and stops the bike from wandering across the trail. This keeps the front wheel down on the ground as you power into the pedals.
Remaining seated going uphill keeps maximum traction to the back wheel and keeps your pedaling technique smooth and efficient. As soon as you stand up and stomp on the pedals your heart rate jumps 10-15 beats per/min. It also offsets your balance and reduces your traction.
Keep your knees pointing down the track to where you want to go. Let-go of the seat with your inner thighs it allows the bike to pivot underneath you.
Stand up on your pedals as soon as you are rolling downhill. Dominant foot forward and slightly up from a horizontal position. This makes the front of the bike light and lets the front wheel aquaplane over the bumps.
Roll down through your heels when standing up. This evenly distributes your weight onto both legs and into the pedals. It allows you to have your weight further back on the bike and apply more back and front brake when your travelling in a straight line.
Choose the smoothest part of the trail when going downhill. Its more energy efficient and allows you to look ahead on the trail or through the corners
2 miles of roads around the village and about 11 miles of roads outside the village into the National Nature Reserve. Steep climbs on some tracks. Loch Scresort to Harris Bay - 16 miles / 26km return Harris Bay is on the south west of Rum and there is a 4WD road all the way there, fairly smooth with some rough patches. You take the road out of the village up 2 miles to the crossroads, then take the left branch. It's a gradual climb up, up, up! to the highest point in the road, then it's a brisk freewheel down into Harris Bay. There are great views over the bay and you are likely to see the Rum ponies, red deer, feral goats and the Highland cows. At Harris Bay, there are the Bullough mausoleums to see and old farming remains of 'lazy beds'. Loch Scresort to Kilmory - 10 miles / 16km return Kilmory is located on the north coast of Rum and there is a 4WD road that you can take to get there. Although shorter than the road to Harris Bay, the surface is a lot rougher. You take the road out of the village up 2 miles to the crossroads. Here you take that right branch and go slowly down into Kilmory Glen where you will have lovely views of the Skye Cuillins and as you will enter the Kilmory Red Deer Project study area, you are likely to see many red deer. There is also a lovely sandy beach as well as the ruins and graveyard of the Kilmory settlement to explore.
6.5 km of roads, all on flat ground. Pier to Tarbert: 10 miles /16 km return Follow the 4WD road from the pier to Tarbert, enjoying the magnificent views of Rum with the island of Sanday in the foreground. From Tarbert, it is then possible to explore Canna's archeology sites, souterrains, fort and nunnery. Pier to the Camus Arts Centre (formerly St Edwards) 3.6 miles/ 6 km return This easy ride will take you to Sanday, the smaller island joined to Canna by a small bridge. From the Camus Art Centre, formerly a chapel built in the 19th century by the Marquis of Bute, it is easy to walk to the cliffs where seabirds breed in great number. Great views of Rum!
Only 2 miles of road, all on flat ground: a very easy cycle for the whole family! Port Mor to Gallanach: 4 miles/ 6.7 km return Follow the only road on Muck from the pier to Gallanach, which offers a fine sandy beach with great views of Rum and Eigg, with the entire length of the Sgurr ridge on the right.
- Bike Hire
Hire a bike for the day and come and explore the extraordinary Isle of Rum.
With deserted villages, a breathtaking beach and outstanding wildlife all just a bike ride away.....
Call in at the craftshop if you would like to hire a bike.
Charges are £15 for a day,
We have new, high quality mountain bikes in a variety of sizes and we provide helmets, water bottles and a small laminated map of the island.
We can also tell you points of interest and unusual things to look out for
Tel: 01687 462744
Bikes available from Eigg Adventures
Cost for Bike Hire is as follows:
Adult £14 per day
Child £9 per day
If hiring for multiple days or you are part of a group then discounts will be offered..... Just ask us for more details.
Contact Jamie Ardagh. www.eiggadventures.co.uk