Tag Archives: Mountain Bike

Jataí Mountain Biking Marathon, Brazil

On the 9th of July I attended the Mounting Biking Marathon in the town of Jataí, in the state of Goias, Brazil.

It was my first riding experience in Brazil in 15 years (or more) and to me it was very challenging due to the terrain.

I am somewhat used to riding MTB tracks as the Swinley Forest in Bracknell have several, but this type of mountain biking is completely new to me.

Although there were some climbs to conquer, there wasn’t much in term of “mountains” to overcome, but the terrain presented some completely new challenges to me… Fine fine, powder like, sand banks, some of them so deep that a 3rd of the wheel would sink in them, providing virtually no traction and at times completely locking the wheel in place.

The video is rather long (30 minutes), but I hope you can enjoy portions of it, if not all. Was recorded with my GoPRO 4 Silver on a Feiyu Tech Wearable Gimbal.

The event’s Facebook page can be accessed here: https://www.facebook.com/jatairace/

In there you’ll find more details and pictures. Below are the pictures I took during the event.


EyeCycled the Swinley Forest RED Mountain Bike Trail

Start of the RED Mountain Bike Trail, Swinley Forest, Bracknell
Start of the RED Mountain Bike Trail, Swinley Forest, Bracknell

Hello EyeCycled friends!

Life has been busy and somewhat complicated especially now that I am so close to leave on my 2,000 Km pilgrimage to Rome on the 30th of June.

Yet, as part of my training I’ve been trying to ride my bike as much as my free time allows and this week I rode all the way from Bracknell to Camberley through the Swinley Forest. On my way back, the weather was so nice I decided to ride the entire length of the RED trail as this was the one I did not record when I posted my first Swinley Forest MTB Trails post back in August 2015. I’ve been wanting to record this trail since then, which is much more technically challenging than the BLUE one.

First time with a GoPRO Chest Strap... Feeling a bit like a fool.
First time with a GoPRO Chest Strap… Feeling a bit like a fool.

I have also tried something new… a GoPRO chest strap mount. I’ve seen quite a few riders using it and always wanted to give it a try. I don’t think it is something I will be using often as I found it to be a bit uncomfortable, but it is always an option. I found that is does help reducing the shakiness of the picture, however, the RED trail was not a good place to test it properly as the trail is really bumpy.

Anyway, I’ve got 2 options for you:

  1. A 59 min long full length video of the entire trail with my voice commentary only i.e. no music, no video acceleration where you can, hopefully, see the entire trail in detail.
  2. A 10min 51sec, accelerated video (6x normal speed) with some nice music, but quite difficult to watch at places because there is only so much shaking that video stabilization can deal with. If you don’t have time (or patience) to watch the full length video, this may be an option. You may also want to watch the shorter, accelerated version first and then focus only on the parts you find more interesting on the full length video (tip: if you are watching the accelerated video at 3 min and want to see that part in greater detail, just multiple by 6 and jump to the full length video at around 18 min).

Always good to have options, isn’t it?

But before I give you the videos, here goes the stats of the RED trail as recorded by my Garmin Edge 810 and according to a 51 years old amateur rider 🙂

  • Length / Distance: 11 Km or 6.83 miles (In the information totem pole, the length given is 13 Km / 8 miles, but there were several diversions in place).
  • Time: According to my Garmin, 59 min in total or 53 min of moving time.
  • Average Speed: 11.1 Kph (Km/h)
  • Max Speed: 33.8 Kph (Km/h)
  • Elevation Gain / Loss: 202m / 206m
  • Max / Min Elevation: 3m / -43m
  • Average Heart Rate: 169 bpm
  • Max. Heart Rate: 192 bpm
  • Calories: 746 CAL

RED MTB Trail: Full length Video (59 min)

RED MTB Trail compressed / accelerated video (10 min 51s)

Thank you for your time.

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EyeCycled the Swinley Forest Mountain Bike Trails

(Scroll down for the videos)

For a while I wanted to record and post about one of Bracknell´s greatest attractions for cycling, the Mountain Biking trails in the Swinley Forest. I took a young friend to the trails yesterday, but I made too many stops and I wanted to get a continuous footage of the ride / trails.

The Green and the Blue Trail begins and ends here.
The Green and the Blue Trail begins and ends here.

Just as my luck would be as I arrived in the Swinley Forest it started to rain. If you read / watched the post and video about my Bath Two Tunnels ride under rain you must think, this guy loves to ride bicycles when is raining… No, I don´t! But I live in the UK and you can´t escape it here. It´s a beautiful country, but rains a lot. I don´t think I need to write what already exists available in the web, so I did some copy and paste from some of these resources. All credit goes to the authors and the links are available. From the Bracknell Forest Council Page: “Swinley Forest is an area of the Windsor Estate between Bracknell and Bagshot to the west of the A322. Owned and managed by The Crown Estate, it comprises 1000 hectares of mainly Scots Pine woodland. Three cycle trails in line with the International Mountain Bike Association industry standards are available for you to enjoy in Swinley Forest. The green, blue and (*) red cycle routes all begin from The Look Out Discovery Centre and provide a range of challenges for families cycling for fun to highly skilled riders. Further information about the cycle trails is provided by The Crown Estate on the Royal Landscape website. Please visit The Look Out Discovery Centre’s outdoor activities page for information about how to get there, about car parking charges and bike hire available from Swinley Bike Hub. (*) A small part of the red trail is currently diverted owing to the presence of ground nesting birds.

  • I found out through Google that there is a Mountain Biking group called Swinley Riders. They are a lot of information available in their WEB site: http://www.swinleyriders.co.uk/. Will try to get in touch with them.
  • Swinley Bike Hub. Bicycle rental.
    Swinley Bike Hub. Bicycle rental.

    If you are visiting and don´t have a bike, you can rent an excellent one at the Swinley Bike Hut. Rental Prices, according to their web site is £15 for 2 hours (includes helmets) and £5 for additional hours. 2 Hours is sufficient if you only want to do the green and blue trail. Please check their web site for any pricing changes.

  • If you want a map of the trails, there is one in PDF format here.

OK, enough info, right? I did the green and the Blue trails today. When I have time, and hopefully the weather improves, I will try to update this post to include the Red trail too. The data below is from my Garmin Edge 810 and does not coincide with the data given in some of the resources above.

Green Trail:

Very Easy – For total beginners, families and small children.

  • Distance: 0.93 Km or 0.56 miles
  • Time: 3 min 57 sec.
  • Average Speed: 11.7 kph
  • Max. Speed: 23.7 kph
  • Elevation Gain: 8m
  • Average Heart Beat: 176 bpm
  • Max. Heart beat: 186 bpm
  • Calories: 65 C

Blue Trail:

Intermediate – Not for complete beginners. Quite a few climbs and some will actually get your heart pumping and leave you breathless (see the charts).

  • Distance: 8.65 Km or 5.37 miles
  • Time: 44 min 32 sec. (I am somewhat out of shape. I managed to do it around 30 min in the past)
  • Average Speed: 11.7 kph
  • Max. Speed: 31.3 kph
  • Elevation Gain: 105m
  • Average Heart Beat: 178 bpm
  • Max. Heart beat: 195 bpm
  • Calories: 617 C

Red Trail:

Separate post here:


Specialized Hard Rock Disc

Specialized Hardrock Sport Disc 2012
Specialized Hard Rock Sport Disc 2012 (Stock Photo)

Don´t expect this to be a technical article about the bike. You can search Google for that and will find plenty of information (or you can click here), much more than my very limited technical knowledge can cover on it or any other bike, as a matter of fact.

I don´t know about the newest cassette, gear, breaks or groupset technologies and about the quality of the various brands in the market (e.g. . I ride bikes, but don´t know much about them other than the known brands in the market with which we often associate quality. Specialized is one of such brands.

So allow me to go back to “B4” and to digress a little… I´ve lived for 2 periods of my life in the UK. Back in the 90s I lived for 7 years here, then I left in 1999 and came back in 2006. When I came back the first thing I bought to myself was a £60 bicycle in a Sports Direct shop in Reading (I think). Rode it a few times and then didn´t use for years (or only very occasionally). Prior that that bike I had many more and I often rode a bicycle to the Uni / work back in the 80s.

The Specialized Hard Rock Disc, however, was my first “quality” bike.

Specialized Hard Rock Disc Bicycle
At the Great Hollands Recreation Ground

I know quality is something relative and when it comes to bicycles you can easily find premium bikes at the price of a small family car. In comparison to the £60 bike from Sports Direct it was the best bike I ever had up to that point in life. Even better, it came as a Father´s day gift from the mother of my children.

I must confess, I ride bikes, but don´t know much about them. There are known brands in the market with which we often associate quality. Specialized is one of such brands.

I still can remember the excitement after completing my first 10 Km on my old bike many years ago when I took up cycling again and then comparing the same route on the new bike the day after I got it. What a difference…

Specialized Hard Rock Disc Bicycle
At the Savernake Park

The rapid fire triggers was something I hadn´t experience in a bicycle before and the precision to which the gears changed was impressive. I don´t think I would have progressed in cycling as I did if it wasn´t for this gift from my family.

The pictures I used in this post with of my first ride on June 2012. A route of just under 20 Km (12 miles), I think.

It was with this Bike that I did my first long distance ride from London to Brighton for the British Heart Foundation on June 2013, exactly 1 year after I got it.

Me and my bike at the London to Brighton bike ride organized by the British Heart Foundation.
Me and my bike at the London to Brighton bike ride organized by the British Heart Foundation.

I kept my old £60 bike for many years after receiving the Hard Rock and it was on that bike I mounted the kangaroo seat I used to ride with my younger son, then a Toddler. After he outgrew the seat it was time to also part from the bike and I sold both (bike and seat) to a nice lady that came to collect it at the Bracknell train station with her baby attached to her back.

Wee Ride Kagaroo Seat
My old £60 bike with me and my little boy on the Wee Ride Kangaroo Seat.
Specialized Hard Rock Disc Bicycle
At the South Hill Park

If you are thinking of getting a new bike in the price range of £400 to £500 and want a mountain bike? Totally recommend this one. It hasn´t given me any trouble in years and the day I decide to part from it will be a sad day for me for many reasons.