If you follow my Youtube Channel you will have seen this video last weekend and know that I paid a visit (with a few mates) to Ashton Court in Bristol for a revisit – been about 5 years since I was there last!
Now before we get stuck in, the trails are in a city, so there is a distinct lack of elevation and serious gravity fed fun.
Its not a hot destination for mountain bikers wishing to “shred the gnar” or if you are in search of real technical challenges (though the Super Nova Red section was particularly scary in the wet!). However, if you live in the South West and have a few hours to spare its well worth a visit.
Firstly parking is only £1.20 for the whole day – I know this is probably not high on the your check list when visiting a trail centre but if you live in south Wales for instance, now that the Severn Bridge Tolls have been removed its a very cheap trip – and I think you should consider it.
Only about 7 miles in total of way marked trails. Mostly “flat” and cross country by nature but the constant undulation will give you a proper work out. The Bristol Bikefest is a much missed event and tested riders endurance on multiple laps up until a few years ago.
These are made up of 2 main trails at Ashton Court and in the neighbouring Leigh Woods. Leigh Woods was less fun, but there are some off piste trails there that are worth exploring in the drier weather.
Mostly you have twisty single track, with a mix of rocky and natural (muddy) surfaces.
And don’t forget the undulation – which basically translates as you will be pedalling most of the way around.
Red Sections here bear absolutely no resemblance to “Reds” at Bike Park Wales or even the Forest of Dean. In a nutshell, its a pretty easy and non challenging environment on the whole. However…..
Don’t dismiss it
Recently there have been some developments and new trail sections have had some work done to provide flow and jumpable features that the trail had previously lacked.
There are a few sections (as you will see in my video) that are worth lapping and sessions in these short spots can help novice riders learn some skills and provide a fun playground for even the most advanced riders.
So go and give it a visit, put a few hours aside and session the new bits (you’ll know them when you find them) and if you don’t enjoy yourself you haven’t tried hard enough.
Here’s a great downloadable map of the trails including the ones in Leigh Woods and 50 Acre Woods :
Its actually quite difficult to think about out beloved sport of mountain biking (and other action sports) in all its forms without coming across Red Bull at some point or another. Sponsored athletes, events, Red Bull Media House and Red Bull TV for instance.
Athletes from the UK include the Athertons, Tahnee Seagrave and Matt Jones
So I did a bit of an experiment yesterday and asked my twitter followers what they thought of these energy drinks, I posted some photos to my instagram feed and made a youtube video.
The results were not surprising, and this was by no means an extensive survey, however I didn’t see one positive response.
I am no social media whizz or can I claim to have 1000s of followers but generally my photos get likes from the usual crew and new viewers alike. You can see from the above that the energy drink pictures got very little engagement yesterday.
I thought that deliberately putting them in dirty surrounds might have at least brought out some comments – but there was practically nothing!
Twitter was a flood of “awful” “stay near the toilet” “better off drinking battery acid” etc.
You can see the tweet below and follow the link to the comments – not many fans!
Finally, I put a video together. I didn’t really go fact hunting or comparing the “benefits” or ingredients in each drink – I just gave my blunt opinion.
You can research the various effects good or bad for yourself, I just thought it was interesting (though I already knew this) that none of my friends virtual or real actually drink any of this stuff, yet the brands are a big part of our sport.
None of this was surprise to me, it just got me thinking about how these drinks are deemed so bad for you by so many people, yet they are major sponsor in our sport.
Kind of reminds me of the old motor sport days.
What are your thoughts on energy drinks, the brands and the impact on our sports?