Sometimes I like to make rather high-speed descents (during which I also make jumps) in the forest near to my house. I want to know how this kind of activity is correctly called. Is it downhill, freeride, etc.?

  • 2
    I call it crazy. Aug 14, 2011 at 20:20
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    @Danies R Hicks, at least it is not boring Aug 14, 2011 at 20:25
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    @Idsa - you should also use some of the summer to take your friends, bikes and skills up a big mountain, e.g. with boulders at the top, some scree, a tree-line, some forest tracks, some peat-land, some farmer's roads and some asphalt. Yes there will be some pushing to get to the top, you might go mad, you might get injured, you will get tired and you might take all day, but you will overcome challenges that you will remember for years to come, see a view few see, find yourself in the zone and satisfy that itch in ways your pre-built trail never can. It is good to put some distance on the map! Aug 14, 2011 at 21:23
  • @Idsa -- Not that I'm intending to discourage anyone here from doing this, but I do have a good friend and former co-worker who broke his back mountain biking. He's now in a wheelchair, with no sensation/muscle control below about mid-chest. Aug 15, 2011 at 1:00
  • @Diniel R Hicks, people get injured and dead by a lot of reasons. You may be the most careful man in the world but die because of some stupid unpredictable thing. But nevertheless I understand you, and may be you are right Aug 15, 2011 at 7:12

3 Answers 3


From your description it's hard to say exactly what kind of riding you are doing, all forms of mountain biking can involve going down hills quickly and jumping. If you want to be specific it sounds like it fits into one of these categories -

Trail Riding This is a good catchall term for recreational mountain biking where the trail is the most important thing - It includes climbing and descending, typically on singletrack. It's possible your wheels will get off the ground, but not mandatory.

All Mountain Again this includes climbing, but all mountain riding focuses more on going down than getting up. A all mountain bike will generally be heavier and more robust than a trail bike - it needs to handle higher speeds and bigger impacts.

Downhill Are you just interested in getting down that hill as quickly as possible? Are you pushing/getting carried to the top? Then you're riding downhill. You'll probably be jumping, and you'll probably be going very fast.

Freestyle Like downhill freestyle is all about the descent, but in this case style is more important than speed. If you're riding freestyle you'll be doing tricks and stunts on the jumps and drops.

Bear in mind that these aren't strictly defined terms, and are prone to change.


"Freeride" generally refers to the type of riding described above, using Summertime ski-trails to ride essentially downhill. You usually truck up to the top. "Downhill" normally refers to a particular type of MTB racing on a downhill course.
This would be pretty close to what you describe... Minus the competitive aspect. Some of these races are conducted head-to-head on the same course, some are one-at-a-time "time trials".


North Shore!!!

Yep, there is a name for it and in the UK (and presumably Canada) it is known as 'North Shore'. This is a shorthand for British Columbia riding style on trails exactly as you describe. Even the bike manufacturers have cottoned onto the trend, plus the editors of Wikipedia:

North Shore bikes are much like freeride bikes in their geometry and downhill bikes in their component makeup. Because north shore stunts have evolved to not only include simple and complex bridges but also large drops and high-speed descents through a series of stunts north shore bikes commonly have as much travel as downhill and freeride bikes, however with much more nimble and maneuverable frame designs, and often lighter weight.


Now you know the magic YouTube search term, find some good videos to post here for the enjoyment of the stackexchange masses. Good luck with the trail building and, at the risk of sounding like your mother, don't forget your helmet and body armour!

  • North Shore isn't the right term here - North Shore is a subset of freeriding that includes riding on man made wooden bridges, skinnies and logs.
    – Martynnw
    Aug 16, 2011 at 12:08
  • ...exactly. He is in the forest making jumps and the most up to date, trendy phrase is 'North Shore'. Words are our servants and not our masters. Aug 16, 2011 at 13:44
  • It's interesting the Red Bull Rampage is billed as a freeride event, not North Shore - maybe they aren't trendy enough? It's also worth comparing how many manufacturers sell freeride bikes to how many sell North Shore bikes.
    – Martynnw
    Aug 16, 2011 at 16:16
  • ...the joke of it is that I am only quoting parlance from the Thames Valley 'street' for one particular trail built in a wood. Aug 16, 2011 at 17:03

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