Bike Park Wales
This was to be my first trip to BPW and I was excited. Everyone was talking about how great it was and I couldn’t wait. So, given it’s a 3 hr journey, an early start was required. By 6am (ish!) Jim and I were driving directionless around Tadworth looking for anyone with a bike that resembled Stuart.
With him finally on board, Jim talked us all the way down the M4to Merthyr without any issues and we were there and ready for the first up lift just after 9:30. 7 of us for this trip – Nick and Jason had gone up Friday, had a horrendous journey and had hangovers to ride off, and Aled and Gwyn had also gone up the day before.
Despite it being fully booked and busy, we didn’t wait more than a few minutes for the van. Once loaded and aboard the van for the 15 min drive to the top the excitement really built. Out we all piled, grabbed our bikes and rode to the trail head. A multitude of trails awaited and a long discussion about what to do first. We picked a blue trail (I have no idea what it was called, we rode so many!) and headed down. Fast, swoopy, big berms, tabletops, rocks, it was all there, and it was awesome!
The trails spit you our right at the bus stop, so it was back up again, and the pattern was set for the day. We didn’t particularly stay together as a group, trying out different trails at different speeds, but, flying down and getting your breath back on the van was the order of the day, mainly on fast blue and technical red trails.
Are we allowed to discuss crashes? Very few to be fair, and Jim tells me to tell you that he was riding awesomely (there is video footage, so when it’s done you’ll be able to make up your own mind…) although I had an ‘emergency dismount’ and Jim hit the dirt whilst overshooting a berm, that was pretty much it.
6 runs complete before lunch, which was a very acceptable burger and chips, sitting in the warm sunshine, before we were off again for more. We chucked in a few black runs this time, which were really rocky and technical – I loved them, others less so!
After 5 more runs my day ended a little prematurely following a decision from me to try and follow Aled down. I lasted about 30 seconds with him in sight before he was gone! I was knackered and struggling to hold on anymore, far too close to a big crash and wishing I’d tried ‘Aled chasing’ earlier in the day! He gracefully waited for the old boy, and we hit the lowest red trail, appropriately named ‘snakebite’, which is exactly what happened to my rear tyre, just as we finished it. Rather than fix the bike, I decided to heed the warning signs (I must be getting old) and call it a day, leaving the others to get 2 more runs in before the uplift service stopped at 4:30.
As someone that loves the climbs (!) I had been full of talk all day that I would ride up the hill at least once – uplifts still feel like cheating to me, but the reality was that there wasn’t a chance; the pull to get as many downhill runs in as possible, and the lack of any real wait for the uplift and the trails being SO good meant that it didn’t happen!
An unhindered journey home finshed off one of the best days riding I’ve had in a long time. I will most definitely be back, what a cracking place BPW is!