What makes a perfect mountain biking weekend? If you ask riders (and friends) Niklas, Tobbe, and Eleonor, there are several factors at play. First, it should be easy to find the mountain biking area. Then the trails should be well-marked. A good flow to the ride is also advisable. And there also needs to be a nice place for afterbike, coffee and socialising.
In Västmanland, the conditions are good for a perfect weekend of mountain biking. And Trails of Västmanland has gathered everything you need to know about the best MTB trails. For the group of riders in this article, the Knektleden trail at Sala Silvergruva mine was the most attractive. Its paths have been trodden for centuries: first in the 1400s by miners, then in the 1900s by tourists coming to the area, and now mountain bikers who discovered the unique setting with its historic mining atmosphere.
Once all was said and done, the bikes were loaded onto the car’s roof and trailer hitch racks and the GPS was set to Sala Silver mine. On the trip were: Tobbe, who is not up for any challenges; Niklas, who just recently started riding; and Eleonor, a map-reader-extraordinaire who knows almost everything, like (for example) that the MTB Red Knektleden trail starts at — listen and be amazed — Knektschaktet, the area’s oldest and best preserved mine shaft. The trail is just under 7 km long and runs in the middle of the historical mining area. The biggest challenge with riding through it can be to keep one’s focus on the path. Unique nature, ancient buildings, and stunning mining pits easily attract the eye.
Two turns around the Knektleden trail
The Knektleden trail offers a few small technically-challenging parts, but you only need a little riding experience to get around. There are no long, steep slopes here, instead, it’s winding singletrack on firm ground with a lot of stone and gravel. Several of the sections of the trail feature leftover material from the years of mining, and riding through the natural rock garden formed from discarded piles of stones is a really cool experience. In the sections of the trail through the forest, the ride is more fluid. There are not so many rocks and roots to slow you down and you can really pick up speed.
“The Knektleden trail was definitely one of the roughest trails I've biked on! The environment was so cool and very unique. Riding on the sharp, jagged rocks was a challenge, especially mentally. It looked like it would really hurt if you fell there,” says Tobbe.
The first lap around Knektleden took a lot of energy and the gang had slowed down by the end. There was a break for coffee and to get hydrated, and then it was time for a second lap.
“On the second lap, we stopped a little more,” says Niklas. “Checked out the view and the awesome remnants from the mining industry. We met quite a lot of people who were out and about, but it didn't cause any problems. And then we biked past an open quarry filled with water that looked really nice. I would have loved to have taken a dip.”
Afterbike and staying overnight
After two laps on the Knektleden trail, it was time to round off the day. What better way to round off the day than with a little more biking!? The Måns Ol's Inn is just a short ride from the mining area, through the quaint old town area of Sala. Here, Niklas was able to get that dip he was craving in a cosy swimming area before settling down with the others on a large outdoor terrace by the beach. The gang talked about their day of riding over cold beers and juicy hamburgers and then hopped in the car to check into the Norrängens Alpacka, a boutique hotel just north of Sala.
"We try to get away on this mountain biking trip every year, so we can try riding in new, exciting environments. But you don't bike the whole time; we like to experience other things as well. This time it was a nice sauna session in the evening and a walk with alpacas in the morning. That was really something completely new,” Eleonor says with a laugh.
Nice MTB trails in Lindmuren
Well-rested and with a good dose of alpaca fur in their luggage, the group headed off for a new biking experience. On the second day of the trip, Niklas, Tobbe, and Eleonor headed for the Surahammar golf club. Next to the golf course is the Lindmuren mountain biking area, which features several trails and tracks of different lengths and degrees of difficulty. Here, the MTB red trail offers a really great ride — messy paths mixed with a good flow, there are some drops, as well as terrain that includes long sweeping rock slabs and coarse gravel paths through pine forests. The group enjoyed a few hours of fun and pulse-pounding mountain biking before it was time to drive home, made richer from their experiences. This year's MTB weekend was as close to perfect as it gets.