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Awesome sports to try!

If you have been putting off (and putting off) trying a new sport or any type of physical exercise for that matter, until after the New Year, take time to consider exactly what Britain is like in January. Icy winds, frost, blizzards and below zero temperatures are sure to derail all of your best intentions and, before you know it, it’ll be spring and that will be that for another year.

So, with October’s glorious scenery in mind, why not start right now and try something new? Here is the Mayhem! guide to action sports this Autumn.

Mountain Biking
If you already have a bike then great! If not, you can usually get a half-decent one for around £300, both in store and online. A more common problem is finding a good spot to ride it. Luckily, there are lots of bike sites available online to help solve that problem, with details of routes through local beauty spots such as Queen Elizabeth Country Park, Eartham Wood, Duncton Down, and Bignor Hill (north of Chichester).

Mountain Boarding
This sport was developed by those perpetual adrenaline junkies, snowboarders, who were looking for some sommer fun. It’s best described as a hybrid between skateboarding and snowboarding. Your feet are strapped to the board, much like snowboarding, but if you fall there is no soft landing, like skateboarding…exhilarating! Basic boards start from around £80, but to have a go, just head down to Haredown (just outside Chichester) to take part in some beginners classes.

Sand Yachting
If you like the seaside, but prefer not to get cold and wet – try sand yachting (aka land yachting or land sailing). There are a lot fewer things for you to have to fiddle with than in a real boat and a second-hand craft can be yours for as little as £200. But, beware, if you get a taste for it, a top-of-the-range model can easily cost 20 times that.

Kiting
One for adults and children alike – or just the child in you. This is a popular sport on most Portsmouth beaches and parks as soon as the autumnal breezes pick up. Portsmouth also has its own International Kite Festival on Southsea Common. Is this a sport? Well, the amount of kite kit available suggests so, and trying to wrestle with large pieces of wind-battered sail for hours will certainly give you a workout! There are some rules however – for example, did you know that you can’t fly a kite higher than 200ft at night unless it has lights?

Canoeing
Most have us have been canoeing at some stage in our lives, probably at some forced-fun school trip a hundred years ago. But it’s fantastic exercise and a great way to get back to nature and relax. You will need a licence to drop a boat in one of Britain’s many waterways, but this comes free when you become a member of Canoe England (membership £32.75 a year). They can also hook you up with a club in your area so you can get started. You can also get a used canoe for about £100 – a small price to pay for paddling down a willow-lined canal and taking in the autumn paradise.

Fell Running
If you’re a keen jogger, then why not take it to the next level this autumn? Fell running is basically off-road running, but hardcore fell runners take part in competitions where their navigational skills are also tested – a bit like high-speed orienteering! It’s also a great way to keep super-fit and take in the Hampshire countryside and make new mates.

By Mia Habens