Where to ride with kids?

Choosing where to take your kids mountain biking can be a challenge. You want them to enjoy the experience, but depending on age you don’t want to get too far away from snacks and the safety of the car. Is the route too hilly or too technical? Is there a way to bail halfway through?

Photo Credit: Vinnalt Photo

Skedala

There are a number of child-friendly routes in Skedala, and some you should avoid with younger kids. The easiest loop is uncoloured, but runs around Torvsjön (the larger lake with Ön on it). This loop is flat, but has a few smaller loops that run around peninsula that stick into the lake.

Yellow Loop – It’s about 5 km long, mostly single track and requires a certain amount of climbing ability. The nice thing is that the climbs are gradual and the trail is not very technical. There is also a gravel road that bisects the route in case you need to head back to the car. https://mountainbikinginhalmstad.com/2019/08/06/skedala-yellow-loop-clockwise-k2-variant/

White Loop – Shorter than Yellow, but more technical. There are a couple of short, steep descents. Another loop with the gravel road bisecting it. https://mountainbikinginhalmstad.com/2019/08/17/skedala-vita-slingan-medurs/

Simlångsdalen –

Banvallsleden

A lot of backcountry riding, infinite gravel roads and a lot of great unmarked. The Banvallsleden runs through the village and up the side of Simlången. It’s a lovely flat trail that doesn’t offer much challenge.

Yellow trail at Simlångsgården – At the far end of the valley there is Simlångsgården, there are a few trails here, none of which are very tough, but the yellow trail makes a nice, short 3km loop that ends at a great picnic spot. There are a number of short side trails to explore, or a bigger adventure on one of the longer loops there.

Blue – Simlångsrunt – Simlångsdalen is the home of the blue trail, to my knowledge there are at least 5 different trails marked with blue paint. However, this is THE blue trail, that runs 8km around Simlången. This trail begins very easily (if you go from Badplatsen clockwise), offers some longer climbs on gravel roads, and some steep, fast downhill. This is a trail for more advanced kids, or very relaxed parents. https://mountainbikinginhalmstad.com/2019/08/29/simlangsdalen-badplats-blue-clockwise/

Halmstad

Skedala Forest

Halmstad MTB Klubb Slinga in Grötvik – A three km trail that weaves through the rocks and forest on the edge of the city by the Wakepark. It’s a lovely spot, and would be a magnificent trail if it were longer. However, it’s a great spot for kids as it’s pretty flat and doesn’t have much technical riding besides a few roots and rocks on the trail. https://www.trailforks.com/trails/halmstad-mtb-klubbslinga/

Galgberget – Another great spot to ride with kids, Galberget is crisscrossed with numerous short paths that loop around the hilltop, and on the backside there is a massive sandpit that the kids can ride in. Limited riding for adults, but long enough for most children to enjoy their day out.

Gullbranna Gården

They have built a short, 1.2 km mtb route for kids. I haven’t been there yet, but from photos it looks like a perfect afternoon family activity. https://gullbrannagarden.se/lagergard

Haverdal

Haverdal Nature Reserve is a great sandy loop in the off-season, but during the summer it can be quite busy. Lots of options within the small reserve, pretty flat and hard to get lost as you come out to a road if you go in any direction for too long (except west).

If you have any other suggestions, please comment below!

White Trail – Simlångsdalen

Beginning at Simlångsgården, at the far end of the valley, the white trail is a wilderness experience. You get to ride through some amazing forests on at least 60% single track over a 13km distance. This trail seems remote from Halmstad, but during the explosion of ever-growing crowds of people discovering the wilderness for their first time riding out here is fantastic. Forget worrying about endless dog-walkers and horse-back riders, you are unlikely to run into anyone on the trails out here.

Total distance: 13484 m
Total climbing: 272 m
Download file: White Trail - Simlångsdalen.gpx

This trail is marked with white dots on trees, so you’ve gotta keep your eyes open for the markers. It can be easy to miss a turn, especially when you are in birch forests!

There isn’t much in the way of technical descents, though it is a hilly route, climbing almost 300m over the 13km. Your legs will feel this route, not matter what kind of cyclist you are. This is a route that is rideable on a gravel bike, if you are confident.

Keep an eye out for the old mill 1/2 way through the route, it is one of the most magical places in the valley, hidden away but a perfect lunch spot. Enjoy.

Den okände mannens stig

One of the new trails developed by Halmstad MTB Klubb, Mudfuckers and other incredibly hardworking, passionate cyclists, this trail is a short, well developed ride that gives beginners a chance to try riding berms for their first time. It’s a trail that involves some small drops, roll-overs, wooden berm and jumps. Find the route here on Strava.

This 330 meter long section of trail will have you doing laps, or simply pushing back up through the beech forest to have another run. None of the jumps are too big, nor are the berms too fast. It’s a lovely bit of trail and gives all levels of riders a chance to enjoy the run. Beginners have the option at each obstacle to ride around it, and the steepest section is easy to see and walk down if you are unsure of your line. For the more aggressive rider, the sharp, fast S bends mixed in with a number of quick obstacles will give you the thrill you were looking for.

A huge thanks to all the people who spent nights and weekends out building this trail. If you are looking to help support trail development, join Halmstad MTB Klubb.

This trai is found on the left hand loop of this gpx map.

Total distance: 8302 m
Total climbing: 314 m
Download file: Little_riktigt_mtb.gpx

Simlångsdalen 25

In the heart of all mountain bikers is that of an explorer. The days of climbing over the next hill into the unknown and unexplored are well behind us in the age of jet travel and smart phones. Mountain biking allows us to rekindle that flame, to feel like an explorer again.

This loop around Simlången, our largest lake in the valley, allows you to feel like a true explorer, as you climb and ride through some tough terrain, and following trails that few have traveled before. And, like most great adventures, this one is designed to begin and end at a pub. A nice whiskey after a chilly ride, or a cool beer on the patio can be a great way to debrief and discuss the ride with friends, or buy beers and try and make friends if you forgot to bring any.

This trail has some sections that are technical, but they are all short, and easily walked. You must have a GPS to follow this trail, or local knowledge, or a guide. It will take you to Klövaberget cliffs, 35 m high in stunning beech forests overlooking the whole valley. You will ride along the Banvallsleden, along the side of gorgeous Simlången lake. You will climb to Svalit and find the hidden mill. You also get to explore the little known Veka nature reserve before heading back to Simlången and the infamous ‘murder hill’, which is in another beautiful beech forest, and only murders runners going the wrong way on the trail.

This loop will take 2-4 hours, depending on your fitness level. There is a lot of climbing, so bring snacks!

Total distance: 25560 m
Total climbing: 612 m
Download file: Siml_ngsdalen_25.gpx

What is a Dropper Seatpost?

Dropper seatposts are a relatively new piece of mountain biking equipment that have come from the Downhill scene and are becoming standard on most new bikes. What is it? It is a pressurized seatpost that with the touch of a trigger and a push from your bum drops out of the way so that you can move your weight around on your bike and descent more safely and with little risk of going over the handlebars.

What’s the purpose? The dropper has revolutionized hard-tail (front suspension) bikes. For the longest time, hard-tails were the most common bikes on the trails, but recently the price of full suspension bikes has come down, leaving many a beautiful hard-tail to hang sadly in the garage. The full suspension boom has changed trails and riding styles, opening up new, tougher terrain. The dropper seatpost brings life back to the hardtails, as well as increasing the joy of a full suspension. All of a sudden, your old hardtail becomes a capable trail grinding machine where even the steepest sections come alive again.

Like all things in cycling, dropper seatposts can get pretty complicated, but I’ll try and keep it simple. There are two types, internally routed cables and externally routed cables. This means that the handlebar remote is either connected by a wire (or hydraulic line) to the seatpost where the dropping mechanism is. Internally routed are neater, less likely to get damaged in a crash but have to be built into the bike from the get-go. Externally mounted can be fitted to most mountain bikes (your dad’s 78 Rockhopper might be a challenge) but the cable will have to run on the outside of the frame. It doesn’t look quite as clean, and can get damaged if you take a big crash. Bikes more than a couple of years old generally have to have externally mounted droppers, as well as less expensive bikes (less than 20000kr).

Dropper seatposts can cost anywhere from about 1200kr to well, 6 or 7000. What is important in a dropper is the speed that the seat pops back, and how reliable the seatpost is. Oh, and probably price, too.

Do I actually need one? Yes. Dropper seatposts are a brilliant investment, they will give your bike a new life, you new energy, and a winter with Covid closing in around us with death rates and all that? Yah, getting out on your bike is probably the best thing you could possibly do besides lots and lots of canning. Watch any zombie movie, canning is an important survival skill. Having rented bikes with dropper seatposts for a year, watching people look at them with surprise and suspicion at the beginning of the ride, and asking about upgrades at the end of the ride has been educational. If I had the time and money, I’d have a dropper on every bike I own, including my treasured carbon road bike.

Good news, not only do we here at Mountain Biking in Halmstad sell dropper seatposts, we also install them. I use ‘we’ because it makes it sound like I’m a big fancy company, not a guy running a rental and repair business out of his garage.

What to know when buying? The width of your seatpost is important, most mountain bikes have a 31.6mm seat post. Next is the “travel” of the seatpost, that is, how far the seat goes from the minimum to maximum height (you want the maximum height to be the normal height you cycle at). This usually comes in increments of 20 mm, common amounts of travel are 80mm, 100mm, 120mm, 150mm, 180mm, and 210mm*. This is measured on your current bike from the seat post clamp to the seat rail clamp (that thingie that holds your seat on). If you get a seatpost that has too much travel, when the seat returns to it’s maximum height, you won’t fit on your bike.

We are currently offering two dropper seatposts, the externally mounted XLC that has road bike & mountain bike droppers https://mountainbikinginhalmstad.com/product/external-routed-dropper-seatpost-xlc-brand/

And the well reviewed Crankbrothers Highline 3 internally mounted dropper. https://mountainbikinginhalmstad.com/product/crankbrothers-highline-3-dropper-seatpost/

How to Ride in the Winter

I’ve a long experience in winter commuting and mountain biking. From my days growing up in the snow belt of Ontario with a meter by Christmas, and our ever-so-fun ice storms to the frozen north of Ontario (roughly the same latitude as Holland) and the weeks of -30 weather to my years of riding in the rain in Halmstad, just following the light beam ahead of me, dreaming of Spain.

Cycling in the winter is one of the few cures to the winter blues, one of the few ways to stay sane while the Covid-19 numbers shoot up higher each day. But without the right gear, cycling in the winter sucks.

Windproof, breathable, waterproof rain cover, neoprene cuff, reinforced thumb, biogel padding, silicone grip, touch-finger, washable at 30°
  1. Waterproofs – As is said by a Swede looking out a window, “There’s no such thing as bad weather…” A good set of properly waterproof jacket and rain pants are simply the most important thing for commuting. Something loose enough that you can layer, but not so loose that you get blown away in a heavy gale. Be careful here, as it’s easy to want Gore-tex and blow your entire budget at one shop. Gore-tex isn’t always the answer, it works best in the cold of the north. A cheaper coated nylon jacket and pants will do well enough and costs 1/4 the price.
  2. Gloves – If your hands are wet and cold, nothing else really matters. On wet days it’s smart to have a spare pair of dry gloves in your bag, so you can change for the ride home. In my experience, there is no such thing as ‘waterproof’, just different levels of water resistant.
  3. Footwear – For commuting, a good pair of hiking boots will do the job. Just make sure that your rain pants fit over the boot so that the boots don’t become a pool of water. For longer rides this is tougher, there is no perfect answer, but a layered winter cycling boot with an additional overshoe might be the right answer. Feet, like gloves, are most likely going to end up wet on a long winter ride. Your feet are sweaty, but one solution is a VBL or vapour barrier liner, which is a very fancy word for a plastic bag. If you wear a liner sock, a plastic bag and an outer sock you will at least have warm, wet feet for a day out. Pay careful attention to your feet on cold rides, frostbite can be serious.
  4. Lights – Lots of lights. Light your bike like a god-damned Christmas tree. Powerful, randomly flashing lights front and rear are proven to help drivers see you. Remember that even the most remote gravel or mountain bike ride can meet with mushroom pickers or hunters. I’m a big believer in having a large set of lights for rides, as a wrong turn can end up with you riding in darkness, and a smaller, emergency set of lights in case the large lights fail. If the lights aren’t USB rechargeable I wouldn’t even bother.
  5. Mudguards/fenders – They aren’t sexy, but neither is the ‘raccoon’s tail’ of mud and water splattering your pants. Mudguards that reach the road are even more important, they don’t splash and spray the people you are riding with. Wet pants you can change, but riding partners are a lot harder to replace.
  6. Hat and neckwarmer – In the times of Covid you are probably tired being told to cover your face, well, one last time. Use a neckwarmer & under-helmet hat to keep you warm. These are two pieces of gear that pack small, are easily taken on and off, and are super important. A second, dry toque (winter hat) in a baggie in your back pocket can make the difference between life and death if you get a flat. Plan ahead.
  7. Base-layer – It’s important to be well dressed with a breathable base-layer. However, the classic mistake is to be too warm. “Cold in the parking lot, warm on the trail” is what I always say. A top tip for long rides is to keep a second undershirt in a plastic bag somewhere on your person. If you hit a cafe or fikapaus on a cold day, you can change your shirt and keep dry for a while, and more important, warm.
  8. Chain oil – I’ll avoid using the word, ‘lube’, as it sends the more immature into chuckles. Oil your damn bike after every ride. Give your bike a quick spray with the hose, grab and old rag, oil your chain briefly, and wipe it down with the rag. If you are commuting, it’s not realistic to wash your bike after every ride, but it is your duty to keep and eye on it.
  9. Winter tires – Most people don’t give much thought to tires on a bike, but they make a huge difference. There are two types of winter tires, studded or plain. Studded tires are amazing on snow and ice, they’ll keep you upright and safe while others are painfully crashing around you. They are incredibly slow on regular roads, and tough to change. Another option is a softer rubber tire with winter grip, slower than your regular tires, but much quicker than the studs. For the rich? Have two sets of rims, one with your studs, one with regular winter tires!
  10. Food – Your body burns something like 20% more calories in the winter, add to this the greater possibility to get a flat tire with all the extra crap on the roads and you’ve got a recipe for disaster. It doesn’t really matter what the snack is, but always carry something in your back pockets, touring or commuting!
  11. Emergency Kit – You can carry this in your back pocket, your saddlebag or one of those handy bottle-tool-box dealies. You want to carry 2 spare inner tubes, a large multitool, some metal tire levers (rubber gets harder in the cold, plastic becomes brittle), micropump or C02 cannister & device, quicklink that matches your chainspeed.
With a light range of about 500m, the brake light function and the day mode, Blaze considerably enhances rider’s safety in road traffic.

What to buy a cyclist?!

Christmas is coming, and everyone has that tough-to-shop-for cyclist in their lives. What do you buy them? Well, Mountain Biking in Halmstad has recently become a dealer for Cycle Service Nordic, the premier cycling supplier in the Nordic region, and we can help!.

Mountain Biking in Halmstad is offering a range of Christmas presents for the impossible friend, the amateur cyclist. These items for sale have been carefully selected to fit as wide a range of budgets and riders as possible.

At the top end, there is the complete winter commuting bundle. This package offers water-resistant winter gloves, a neck warmer, under-helmet hat, powerful front and rear lights (the rear light has a brake light feature activated by a motion sensor!) as well as mudguards and studded tires. The total retail value of this package is over 2700kr, but we’re offering it for 1899 kr!

Commuting can be tough. Even for a cyclist who has been riding for years needs to replace gear. Lost hats, worn out gloves, stolen lights. With this in mind we’ve put together the Essential Commuting Bundle. This bundle includes gloves, neck warmer, under-helmet hat and lights for a total value of 1445 kr but on sale for 1099kr.

We are also offering a tires & mudguards bundle for 849kr and lights bundle 499kr.

Too much?

How about a mini-floor pump or a 15 tool multi-tool for 349kr?

No? What about a saddle bag for 149kr?

Or the perfect gift for that cousin-in-law’s dog walker? A bell with a compass for 69kr!

Free pick-up from Simlångsdalen or shipping to your local Postnord agent at competitive prices.

Simlångsdalen Epic

Simlångsdalen provides some of the largest hills in the region, similar in height to Hallandsåsen, but without all the crowds. Please note that Svartaklippan Nature Reserve does not allow bikes. I haven’t had a chance to update the route yet, but please don’t ride there!

Total distance: 46501 m
Total climbing: 989 m
Download file: My Collection.gpx

Here it’s rough old farm roads, single track or logging track; basically, it’s an adventure. This ride has been a goal of mine since I moved to the valley, connecting as much single track as possible touring the valley.

The route begins behind Tallhöjden hotel, which is also a great place to end, because by the time you’re finished this route you are going to need food, and possibly unlimited access to the largest whiskey collection in Halland. The route takes you up and around to Klövaberget, 35 m high cliffs in the heart of Simlångsdalen.

From Klövaberget you head up towards Mjöalt and eventually to Mahult on backroads, a mix of proper gravel and farm tracks. From Mahult you follow the rather unexciting Banvalsleden trail until you hit the split in the Hallandsleden, here you take the right branch and head towards the Fylleån river. You cross the river and take a mix of single track and farm trails to Svartaklippan, where there is a 1.5km single track loop that requires some biking ability. There is a steep downhill.

From here you loop back to Simlångsgården and onto the white/blue loop. From here it is a long climb on trails up to Svalilt, where you will continue on a mix of roads and trails to follow the blue loop. At the end of a seeminly endless gravel climb you will see some flagging tape in the trees on a lightly used trail, this trail will connect you to the Simlången part of the valley.

Pay close attention to you GPS, as the long gravel downhill will quickly become a long gravel climb, and some backwoods biking to bring you around to Veka nature reserve. From here you join the blue loop around Simlången, another mix of gravel climbs and single track descents through some incredible beech forests.

Crossing Hwy 25 on a savage climb with gradients up to 25% you will find yourself on the red trail, follow this past Paulsson Paleo until you cross the mighty Assman river. Please trust me, it is the Assman. Crossing the river you will leave the red trail and begin to follow the blue/white loop of Gårdshult nature reserve, which will require closing some gates and electric fences behind you. There is one climb that is pretty much impossible on a bike, but it gives you a lovely view of Halmstad on a good day.

From here you are heading towards Danskafallen, where biking is permitted, make sure that you take the left turn just before the trail begins the big descent in to the park. This will drop you out onto a gravel road and finally a paved road, which you ride for about 2km back past Danskfalls and with the GPS you can follow the yellow trail around Brearedsjön back to the hotel.

Go in to the hotel, and demand a large cold beer from Lotta while browsing the menu.