Although snowdrops, daffodils and crocuses traditionally herald the beginning of spring, these days they more often start flowering when it is still thoroughly winter. The Coltsfoot (Tussilago farfara) is a real spring flower - when it is out you know that for certain it is really spring. At first glance you might mistake it for a dandelion, but the bracts running attractively up the flower stem are quite distinctive. The past couple of weeks the woods have been full of the sounds of finches, woodpeckers, greats tits and blackbirds all calling out establishing their territories, but now that the Coltsfoot is flowering I know that spring has really started. And what is that to do with mountain biking? Simply that if I was not out in the woods on my bike I would not have seen the Coltsfoot flowering, nor seen the trees coming into bud, nor heard the green woodpecker 'laughing' as it swooped between the trees.