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Hit the Downs MTB Information Hub

Sunday 3 May will see the return of Hit the Downs MTB, whether you are taking on the 30km, 60km or 80km route, here is everything you will need to get ready for the big day!


Riding in wet weather

Though wet rides aren’t usually something we look forward to, we can certainly take steps to make them more enjoyable – and lessen any negative impact they might have.

Here’s a few tips to keep you comfy in the wet…

1. Invest in a good waterproof jacket

The most important item of clothing for battling the rain is a jacket. Not only will a good waterproof jacket keep your torso dry it will help you regulate your body temperature. A breathable material is essential so you don’t overheat.

2. Keep splash off with mudguards

They may not look great, and they may rattle, but they are essential. Mudguards will keep all that filthy water on the road off of your feet, lower legs and back (where un-guarded wheels will spray the water with carefree abandon).

Even if you miss the rain, the roads will remain wet. That (dirty) water then gets flicked up by the wheels and makes you wet and cold. A flap added to the front guard will give you even greater protection.

3. Wear overshoes and gloves

Water resistant overshoes are worth their weight in gold while gloves are a little harder to get right.

Your cycling gloves need to protect you without being so thick as to hamper your bike control as you still need to be able to feel the brakes and gears through all that material. However, many brands produce neoprene gloves which keep rain out and allow you to maintain dexterity.

4. Wear a cycling cap

Air vents in helmets are great in the heat, not so much in the rain. A cheap cycling cap worn under your helmet is a good barrier for your head, with the peak giving extra protection for your eyes against the spray.

5. Avoid standing water

Steer clear of it. Standing water not only gets you wet, it can be incredibly dangerous as you never know what’s lurking beneath. It might just be a puddle, but then it could be a wheel smashing pothole.

6. Check your tyres and reduce the pressure

Rain water washes all sorts of muck on to the roads, and when your tyres are wet they pick up more of it than usual.

Running your rubber at a slightly lower pressure – by 5 to 10 psi – increases your surface area, and thus grip on the road as well as comfort.

7. Utilise plastic bags

If you’re riding in very heavy or constant rain there is almost nothing that will keep your feet dry as water runs down your legs or gets in from underneath.
A cheap option to prolong that nice dry feeling in your feet is to slip a plastic bag over your socks, then your tights (if wearing them) pulled down over the bags, then finally your shoes and overshoes.

8. Use lights

Whether it’s the droplets of water on wing mirrors or a steamed-up windscreen, driving standards drop drastically in the rain. It is well worth making yourself more visible when it’s raining, even in the middle of the day.

Find out more on the Cycling Weekly website.

Read our previous articles:

Pre-training advice

How do I do it? Why should I?

If you don’t have much experience of fundraising, now is the best time to start.

You don’t need any previous experience to do it, and do it well.

You set your own target – give yourself a goal to work towards – make sure it is one that will challenge you, but not give you sleepless nights. How far can you go?

You can do it on your phone – there are lots of ways to ask without even asking, from sharing a link to your JustGiving page in your email signature, to doing a birthday fundraiser on Facebook or why not send a text to every person in your address book?

Top tip: Sweepstakes are a quick and easy way to get people donating with minimum effort, and gives you an excuse to start talking about your challenge. Whether it’s the six Nations, FA cup or Grand National, you’ll find something for everyone.

OK, I’m ready. Now what?

Who do you know? – Your friends, family and colleagues is a great place to start asking for donations. This could be via a group chat, email, and social media or in person. Why not always carry your sponsor form with you to collect that loose change.

Make it easy to donate – the simpler you can make it for people, the more likely they are to donate. JustGiving is a very simple place to donate, and one your friends might already be familiar with. Put the link to your page everywhere you can think of – your email signature, at the bottom of a text, on Facebook or Twitter.

Make the most of your just Giving Page

This is your chance to tell the world why you are taking part, the more you share about your experience, the more those visiting your page will connect with your challenge and will go on to support you.

  • Add your picture, use that selfie you took on your last ride
  • Tell your story, why did you sign up? How are you feeling?
  • Aim high! Set yourself a goal and you will soon get there
  • Share your page – everywhere
  • Update your page, let your supporters know how well you are doing

If you would like any extra help and support with your fundraising please just get in touch – we are happy to help!

Read our previous articles:

Get the most from JustGiving

Littering and the law

Litter is anything from a crisp packet or cigarette butt to a bag of rubbish. All litter is unsightly and makes our local areas look untidy and uncared for. Common litter items include fast-food packaging, sweet wrappers, drinks cans, bottles and cigarette butts.

Litter does not clean itself away. It can take years to degrade, causing harm to wildlife and habitats. Food people drop – whether it is half-eaten burgers, chips or apple cores – can attract pigeons and vermin such as rats.

Please do not litter. Use a bin for your rubbish and if you cannot find a bin, take your litter home with you.

Dropping litter is illegal. People who drop litter can be fined or face prosecution in court. Authorised officers have the power to issue a fixed penalty charge of up to £80 for a litter offence, as an alternative to prosecution. If the offender is prosecuted and convicted in court, the fine could rise to £2,500.

If you see accumulations of litter in a public place, report it to your local authority. Be specific about location, type and the amount of litter. Some local authorities have litter ‘hotlines’. If your council does not have a special number to call, litter reports are usually dealt with by cleansing, environmental health or technical services departments.

Learn more on the Keep Britain Tidy website.

Read our previous articles:

Information on bridleways