Well, it was my Dad’s 70th this January 2020 and so I decided to head back and spend his birthday with him , returning to my birthplace and home of 26 years; England.
I haven’t mountain biked in England since I was in my teens. I used to race XC mountain bike as a young teenager, but gave up once I reached a certain age. I guess other past times stole my attention.
So there was no way that I was going to head back to the UK without checking out the development of the mountain bike scene that has occurred over the last 25 years.
Bike Parks in the UK
Bike parks didn’t really exist in the UK when I lived there. The sport was nowhere near as popular as it is now. We used to ride across farms and fields and go on long adventure rides down bridlepaths, shared with horses, along the muddiest of ankle deep goopiness.
But now the mountain bikers of the British Isles are spoiled for choice. There’s at least 3 or 4 bike parks in Wales and more in England and Scotland. But I only really had time to visit one.
As luck would have it my best pal, who I’ve known since I was 7 years old, just moved to Wales. A trip back to the home lands is never complete without a trip to see Chaz. So I googled his place and low and behold Bike Park Wales was 40 minutes from his new house.
Unfortunately, the plan of bringing Chaz along with me, was foiled, due to life commitments, but I decided to go on my own anyway.
I took the Go Pro cameras for company, so I had someone to talk to and made the video below. Hope you enjoy.
5 Awesome things about Bike Park Wales
- Uplifts – I have now discovered that uplifts are not actually cheating. coming down is a whole different ball game. Riding up and down is great, but whilst you’re riding up, you’re not improving your down hill skills. Going downhill is also very physically demanding, especially in a place like Bike Park Wales.
- Terrain – Having been spoiled with the magnificent riding in BC Canada, I was, to be honest, not expecting to be wowed by the train at Bike Park Wales, however, the contrast from the riding in BC was fantastic. The HUGE rocks strewn across the trails to compensate for the intense mud was a different, yet welcome challenge. There’s a bit of everything here and something for everyone.
- Maps – the maps they provide are really well put together. They are graded, not only by trail colours, that most people are accustomed to, but each trail has been individually graded in order of difficulty. So you can slowly work through each trail starting from the easiest and progressing to through towards the hardest, until you reach your edge. Amazing!
- Staff – The staff were super helpful and very friendly. Everyone I encountered appeared to love their jobs, right from the check in desk to the rental tech and the uplift drivers. It made for a great experience. Also the Welsh accent is incredible heart warming (if you can understand them).
- Showers & good Coffee – Having to travel back to the midlands afterwards, a 2.5 hour drive, I was stoked to find that they had a shower available at a small fee of £1 (around $1.70 CAD). Nothing better than a quick warm freshen up. The UK is not known for good coffee, yet it seems that these guys got it right with their choice of beans. One of the best coffees I’d had whilst in the UK.
So if you’re in the vicinity of Bike Park Wales, make sure you go check it out. Pay for the uplift and make the most of your day. You’ll still be thoroughly exhausted after about 6 runs! I’m told that if you’re there the full day, that you should be able to fit in about 10 runs!
Thanks again to Bike Park Wales for an awesome afternoon of Mountain Biking.