What is mountain biking?

Mountain biking is the sport of riding bicycles off-road, often over rough terrain, using specially designed mountain bikes. Mountain bikes share similarities with other bikes, but incorporate features designed to enhance durability and performance in rough terrain.

How can RAW Epics help mountain bikers?

Mountain biking is a high risk sport that takes place in a dynamic outdoor environment, much like SCUBA diving, rock climbing, or sky-diving. Participants in these sports learn to apply their abilities progressively, gain confidence, and increase their levels of exposure – and remain safe doing so – by taking part in training or trips with professional instructors or guides. MTB riders stay safe in the same way when led by an instructor or guide.

Mountain biking is also a very skills-intensive sport, much like skiing, tennis, or golf. Participants in these sports build their skills, improve efficiency, hone strategy & tactics, and increase their performance with instructor-led practices and sessions. MTB riders benefit in the same way when taught by an instructor.

[See below for TRIPS- or SKILLS-specific questions.]

TRIPS – What are the advantages of having a guide for mountain biking?

A guide combines their research of the area – and the trails within it – with their actual riding experience and assessment of said trails. A guide liaises closely with local contacts, ‘fixers’, and safety coverage providers; and obtains the most up-to-date information on trail conditions, weather, amenities, and cultural nuances in a particular area.

Thereafter, the guide plans a trip itinerary with these aspects in mind and factoring in the expectations and abilities of the participants. Participants do not have to stress regarding these arrangements – and are assured of a high-quality trip experience, tailored to their needs and goals.

With a guide, participants can discover ‘bonus’ trails, visit charming ‘locals-only’ venues, and enjoy other hidden gems that they would never have found on their own; and also avoid wasted time from getting lost.

A guide will assess participants’ ability, pass on relevant information to them, seek their feedback, and ride with them – on a choice of trails designed to optimize their enjoyment. As participants progress through a trip and face changes in weather, terrain, or fatigue levels, the itinerary can be adapted to ensure continued enjoyment and wise usage of the time/energy available.

Finally, if a mechanical problem or first aid issue arises, a guide will be able to render swift and effective assistance to the affected participant.

TRIPS – How long are guided trips?

Guided trips within Singapore and to neighboring countries (Malaysia and Indonesia) entail a riding time between 3 and 7 hours per day, with a total trip duration 1-3 days – either a half-day/1-day trip to a long weekend excursion when factoring in transport (land transfers and/or flights).

Longer trips in areas where there are significant trail networks would take a minimum of 5 days (inclusive of travel) up to 10 days.Riding time on such trips varies between 3 to 7 hours per day, depending on itinerary. Such trips can also include riding times in excess of 10 hours in a single day – although such instances are an exception and apply only to customized/on-request long-distance or back-county trail rides.

Additional days on top of the standard itinerary can be catered for with early notification and planning.

Extra-long trip itineraries – up to 14 days, and beyond – can be catered for, and require collaboration on customized planning between guides and participants.

TRIPS – Travel arrangements?

RAW Epics will arrange all ground/water transportation & transfers. Air tickets and travel-related documentation – including visas & travel insurance – will be at participant’s own expense. Please note that personal travel insurance is compulsory.

TRIPS – Food & accommodation?

RAW Epics will arrange all accommodation. Purchasing and preparation of food and nutrition will be arranged in full; or planned on a shared or semi-catered basis – depending on the type and duration of trip.

SKILLS – What are the objectives of mountain bike skills training?

It equips participants with positive riding techniques – encompassing consistent fundamentals and good habits – to develop their skills with.

It imparts participants with the knowledge of how to apply techniques in both familiar and unfamiliar trail environments, and a variety of riding conditions.

It allows participants to practice and build their skills progressively and in a controlled manner, and improve their riding ability from where they are currently towards where they would like to be eventually.

It educates participants on the safety awareness, environmental stewardship, and trail etiquette involved in responsible MTB riding.

SKILLS – How long for a mountain bike skills training course/class?

A course can be conducted in a ‘camp’ format and encompass a trip weekend – 2 days minimum. Skills courses and progressions specific to a ride destination can be customized and/or incorporated into existing longer trip itineraries – depending on the request of the participant(s) and their ensuing ability progression. Usually a ‘training trip’ itinerary will aim for an fair balance between training (including practicing/’sessioning’ of features) and regular riding.

A typical class runs for 3 hours – and can cater to all ability levels. Advanced skills progressions (drops or jumps) are a 1-2 hour add-on to an existing class.

SKILLS – Where is mountain bike skills training conducted in Singapore?

Our usual training grounds in Singapore include the mountain bike trails at Bukit Timah, Chestnut Nature Park, Pulau Ubin, and Kent Ridge Park.

Training locations are not limited to the above areas, and can be in an area of your choice if there are established trails and trail features present.

For higher-level skills development and progression, we can cater for training trips close to Singapore. These include Kuala Lumpur – Malaysia (Bukit Kiara, Putrajaya Challenge Park, and Kota Damansara Community Forest); and Batam – Indonesia (Drak Bike Park, Dangas DH Track).

TRIPS & SKILLS – Preferred group size?

For both trips and training courses: 2-5 participants. Larger groups can be catered for with early notification and planning.

What are the fitness and ability levels required?

Participants should be able to correctly identify which skill level group they currently belong to:

Level 1: Beginner – no off-road experience, have only ridden on roads and pavements

Level 2: Novice – ridden dirt roads, able to ride trails that are non-technical and with gentle gradients

Level 3: Intermediate – some MTB experience, able to ride ‘green’ trails and ride over some rocks and roots, has room for improvement regarding consistent application of MTB fundamentals

Level 4: Intermediate-Advanced – more MTB experience, able to ride some ‘blue’ and ‘black’ trails, has room for improvement regarding timing, stance, & absorption

Level 5: Advanced – high level of MTB experience, able to ride most ‘black’ trails, able to do most jumps, drops, and technical lines

Level 6: Expert – very high level of MTB experience, confident with jumping and dropping, extremely consistent and able to adapt to different-sized technical features and trail conditions

Participants must declare any medical or health problems before undertaking a trip or course. It is the participant’s personal responsibility to assess their own health condition and/or provide proof from a certified medical practitioner. For certain trips, we recommend that participants should be medically fit, as these trips involve pedaling or walking with bikes – possibly for prolonged or steep sections.

How to manage participants with different in skill and fitness levels ?

Riders of any skill level will enjoy a RAW Epics trip or course that is tailored to their current ability. Generally, it is advisable for a group of riders making a group booking to be around the same ability level in order to maximize their riding skills progression. Trips and training can be tailored to optimize learning and enjoyment for all participants in a group, even with ‘splits’ in ability level – whether skills-wise or fitness-wise. For instance: the same feature can be ridden at different speeds and either sticking to using basic techniques (for less experienced riders) or applying more advanced techniques (for more experienced riders).

What equipment is required?

Participants will need the following:

  • Mountain bike – geometry and suspension should be appropriate for the terrain
  • Helmet – either half-lid (XC/trail-style) for most trips and courses OR full-face (DH-style) for jumps & drops progressions, and trips involving bike park riding
  • Full finger gloves
  • Sturdy footwear – either MTB-specific, cleated shoes (for clip-in pedals); or sturdy flat-soled shoes (for flat pedals – shoes may be MTB-specific or otherwise)
  • Eye protection (riding glasses or goggles)
  • Comfortable riding clothes – including padded shorts/liner (recommended) and sport-specific top and bottom
  • Body armour – including knee pads, elbow pads, shoulder and torso protection (all items highly recommended if also wearing full-face helmet)
  • Backpack with hydration
  • Spares and repair kit specific to own bike

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