A coupe of weekends ago we had the great pleasure of visiting Bike Park Wales with our good friend Cyclehoop. Bike Park Wales is an incredible network of trail for riders of all abilities. It’s built ‘by riders for riders’ and it’s the first full scale mountain bike park in the UK. With swooping bermed runs, tight gnarly rock sections, jump trails, drop offs, and even a family specific loop, it’s one of the very best places for the mountain biker, whether as a beginner or veteran.
Day passes from £10… bargain! You can also hire some great bikes onsite if you don’t fancy hauling your own there, or if you don’t have a mountain bike at all.
Arriving on the day all prepared with iPhone at the ready to provide some nice snaps of our visit, lots of action shots and video… until…
Thank you to Bike Park Wales for sending us some images to use instead! 😀
Using the uplift service we arrived at the top of the hill over-looking beautiful visa of Welsh countryside – the Beacon Beacons. From this central point you can take off in various directions on various different difficultly levels. These tracks traverse the side of the hill through varying terrain. Throughout the day we did a mix of blue, red and black trails (intermediate, advanced and expert difficulty levels) and squeezed in 8 uplifts, with ‘again, again, again’ written all over our faces.
Some of our favourite routes were Popty Ping (microwave in Welsh), a blue route, which winds smoothly through the woods with lots of berms and little jumps. It leads onto Hot Stepper, a red route, which gets a bit more technical and stoney with little drop offs, still through the woods between tall pine trees. From there out onto Terry’s Belly, which opens up with views from the side of the hill, a faster swooping route with berms. What’s particularly nice about BPW is how the environment changes depending on your route, it sometimes feels like several venues in one. You get a great sense of speed when flitting through the woods… just keep an eye out for roots! Watts Occurring, was another favourite which blasts around the very edge of the woods and can get pretty rattily over some pretty stoney sections, see for yourself in this video (we may… or may not, have gone this fast! ;)) :
We also did Coal Not Dole, which is a black route, fast and rough which was a real test for our joints and our bikes! It goes through rocky open areas of the mid mountain and then in to the Oak forest via a series of compressions, jumps and steep pitches before dropping you out above an underpass. One of the best sections of trail on the hill for those who like to go fast on a bike with lots of travel.
There are so many different routes you’ll never get bored or feel under challenged. Check out their trails page which you can see all the different routes and start to plan your visit!
Back at base camp, there is a café to keep you fuelled and a shop to replace broken bits of bike or find some upgrades. All in all, a fantastic day out, that’ll have you planning your return visit immediately.
While we were in the area we also went to Afan and rode Whyte’s Level a couple of times. This challenging singletrack has snaking climbs, tight tree sections and rocky drops. South Wales really is a hot spot for Mountain Biking, a ‘must’ visit for the avid rider.