In Chile there is a downhill bike race built through the middle of the city of Valparaiso. If you have never seen the footage, get your phone out and watch the YouTube video. If you have no signal, stop what you are doing and go to the nearest computer. If you’re in the supermarket, abandon your basket; if you’re on the underground, get off at the next stop.
The four and a half minute clip shows a rider hurtling through insanely steep cobbled streets, flying down rows of stairs and jumping through buildings. At one point a stray dog almost meets its maker under his tyres. At the finishing line, he looks down and you realise he rode the course wearing a business suit.
For adrenaline-seeking City workers, this is an impossible dream; only a handful of riders in the world could finish the race. Those wanting to recreate the experience in a less terrifying environment – and without flying half way around the world – can head to the new Lordship Loop mountain bike track in Tottenham.
The 391m course, which opened last week, boasts rollers, berms, roller doubles and step-up jumps to test your cycling acumen to the max.
The International Mountain Biking Association-affiliated track is open all year and is free for the public to use, although some of the more difficult routes will be beyond beginners. Those with a competitive edge will also have the chance to enter British Cycling supported races at the course from next year, with all levels catered for. If you’re not quite up to racing standard, local club The Trax runs classes for 8-15 year-olds and are considering adult courses in the new year.
After a few laps through the Tottenham dirt, you may well start to dream of rattling through the mean streets of Chile. Just leave the suit at home.
UNDER ONE HOUR AWAY
DORKING (50 MINS FROM VICTORIA)
Dorking is host to a number of great mountain-biking trails, including Pitch Hill, Holbury Hill and Leith Hill to the south and Ranmore Common and Box Hill to the north. Navigate the stunning scenery and you’ll find enough routes and jumps to keep you going for months.
AYLESBURY (53 MINS FROM MARYLEBONE)
A veritable warren of routes lie in the hilly Chilterns around Aylesbury and Reading. Good spots include Aston Hill, Wendover and Ashridge, where local cycling groups are usually happy to let new-comers tag along. Further afield towards Swindon is Ridgeway, which is famous for its network of mountain bike trails. The well-worn paths are ideal for relative novices as well as hardcore adrenaline junkies.