Friday, 20 February 2015

10 reasons to visit Bike Park Wales

Holy. Cow. If you're in anyway into riding fun down hills (not specifically downhill runs), then I would heartily recommend that you pay a trip to Bike Park Wales.

For me, the day passed in a bit of a blur, and quite unusually I wasn't inclined to stop and take photos as I was having so much fun. Although I did manage to come away with 10 clear reasons as to why I would recommend you to visit and why I will be visiting again in the near future.

View from the top just a short way along Sixtapod (blue)
  1. The staff are little gems
    I chatted with 4 different members of staff and they all came across as passionate bikers, but what I really liked was that they seemed genuinely excited for me riding BPW for the first time
  2. The trails are plentiful and well marked
    Once you're at the top, you just pick a trail and off you go. And trails easily lead into other trails, but at big intersections, and along the trail sometimes, you can branch off onto other trails easily enough. Signs are big and are bordered with the colour grading of the trail. Simples
  3. It's easy to get to
    M4 Junction 32 > A470 for 14 miles or so > loads of car parking
  4. The bike shop guys know their stuff
    I asked for their advice on knee pads and they recommended a heavier duty set. Boy were they right. I came off on Rim Dinger on one of the berms at the top, and I was so glad to have had the bigger pads
  5. The shuttle runs are regular, often and don't take that long
    Didn't miss Wi-Fi one bit!...
    ...cos I had 3G just fine.

    I laughed in delight when I finished my first run because lo and behold there was a shuttle waiting to take me back up. And it was the same the whole morning. Not once did I need to wait longer than 5 minutes and I never grew cold waiting or whilst in the van being transported up
  6. You can combo different trails all the way down the hill
    I think it may take a while to know where the trails are, but I loved that I could mix the blues and the reds together as I travelled down the hill. It would also be great for groups of different skilled riders as the trails would generally split and come back together quickly enough
  7. The blues are, in my opinion, the most fun
    I liked the reds, but I couldn't stop sessioning the blues. They are so fast and simply so much fun. Sixtapod, into Locomotion (red) and then into Willy Waver was easily my fav combo
  8. You don't need a DH or 'enduro' bike
    I rode a 130mm travel Trigger 29er and whilst I wanted more travel, the bike behaved very well and took all the drops and hits just fine (on the reds and the blues. I didn't try the blacks)
  9. You will scare yourself and love it, but you can also roll it
    I always get tingles when I ride new trail. You have no idea what's coming up and when you launch a jump, you simply have to pray or hope that there's a landing a suitable distance away. And BPW has a lot of jumps, berms and pumps to spring off and enjoy. However, every jump I saw had an option to roll it too
  10. Trails are well maintained
    Natural, man-made, jumps, berms, open sections, rocks, up-hills even, BPW has a wide selection of differing trail conditions and even in the midst of Winter, with snow on top no less, I didn't once think that the trail wasn't maintained or rougher than I'd have liked. Bravo the maintenance team!
If you decide to go, then I'd recommend you book early (especially for weekends, 2+ months notice), make sure your bike is in good nick and bring pads along too. Hopefully you'll have a blast and as much fun as I did.