The mountains around Chiang Mai form an increasingly popular playground for free-riders and downhillers. The myriad of single-track trails that take you from the summit of Doi Pui back down to city level can be ridden all year round, are strewn with roots, rocks & ruts, and will have you grinning ear to ear. X-Biking Chiang Mai has expert knowledge of all the trails, and can provide well-maintained bikes and safety equipment.
What sets these trails apart from the average downhill run is that they are natural, and therefore they change throughout the year and can get very gnarly, and that they are long: the trails from the top vary between 8 and 13 kilometers. There is also a much shorter trail that is occasionally used for competitions, but that starts halfway up the mountain. If you’re no stranger to kneepads and full-face helmets, these trails will not disappoint.
Chiang Mai-born elite downhill racer King wanted to share his local trails with other riders, and started X-Biking Chiang Mai in 2005 to that end. If X-Biking had come up with a mission statement at the time, it would probably have been something like this: “take small to medium-sized groups of keen and experienced riders down the mountain, maximize the time spent on the bike, and make sure absolutely everyone has a great time, so they can go home and tell their friends”. Therefore a tour with X-Biking is very simple: you get picked up at your hotel or guest house, get driven straight to the top, get ready while the bikes are being unloaded, and start riding. With the trails being so long, there are stops along the way to regroup and let everyone take a breather; the group dictates the riding pace and how frequent the stops are. Unless you’ve beaten the truck to trail end, it will be there waiting for you with refreshments, and will either take you back to the city or, if you’re booked in for the day, straight back up the mountain for your next run (or after a lunch break). X-Biking now has a number of returning groups from near and far, an indication that this no-frills approach is working. Since the early days, King has added another guide (“A”) to his team and partners with CM Bike Rental for free-ride and downhill bike and safety gear rental. And while X-Biking specializes in single-track downhill riding, they are happy to take anyone riding cross-country in the mountains as well.
X-Biking provides a number of different tours, from a half day dip-your-toe-in-the-water to a full day of downhill, where you get as many runs in a day as your stamina allows, then go back the next day and do it all over again, down different trails. The X-Biking Chiang Mai website lists all the trails with a short description, and also provides information about itineraries, rental gear, and what (not) to bring on a trip. You can make your booking there too, or contact them directly for more information.