No it wasn’t my birthday, but somehow I managed to ride all 4 of my bikes at the weekend all with in the space of 24 hours! Here’s how it happened.
Bike 1 – DMR Wrath
Location – Devizes Skate Park
My daughter was going to play with a friend for the day in Devizes, so when I dropped her off at her home I took my DMR Wrath the skatepark. The DMR Wrath is a kindof half BMX cruiser and half jump bike, I’m not sure I can go down to a 20″ BMX so I think this bike has to move on sometime soon so I can make room for a proper jump bike (or maybe I’ll just fit some forks to this one??).
The skatepark is great fun, with some 4 and 5 foot quarter pipes which are great fun to pop out of and to drop in. It makes you think about your back wheel and chainring positions you have to “jump” in.
My goal for the mini session was to “air out” of one 4 foot and clear the coping to land on an adjacent 4 footer – sort of like a kicker jump. I just about managed to do this and left before the skateboarders I was chatting to could convince to have a go on 4 wheels!
Bike 2 – Genesis CDF
Location – “Around town”
Under the pretense of going to the bank to get my kids their overdue pocket money out, I decided to help the environment and make the short trip on my cyclocross bike instead of taking the car. What should have taken 30-40 mins took almost 2 hours as I had some fun on the dry and dusty trails taking the long way home.
Bike 3 – NS Bikes Surge EVO
Location – Local trails, Calstone
A friend of mine has decided to get a mountain bike to get some exercise and lose a bit of weight. Saturday evening I had offered to introduce him to a short local loop to get him off road. He and his wife are also a friends of my wife and she actively encouraged me to go out with him (this couldn’t get any better)…
So we had a little pedal as I got him introduced to some locations on his doorstep he had never even been to. Once he’d had his intro, he went home for a curry and I had another blast around.
Bike 4 – Vitus Escarpe VRX
Location – Cotswolds
This was my only planned ride for the weekend and the weather was perfect for an explore around some semi-familiar trails near Uley and Dursley in Gloucestershire.
Some great fun was only dampened slightly by one of the gang having a potentially really nasty over the bars moment on the most tame part of the trail.
We still managed a couple of hours riding and enjoyed the sun.
Short video below of Sunday’s ride. Next stop Ladybower Reservoir!
My mate Gary has a drone. A DJI Mavic drone. And now I want one!
I’ve found my wings again this last few weeks at a local spot and we had a great time on Saturday hitting the singletrack and the jumps in the woods. When the woods opened out a little we thought the drone would be a great way to capture some of the action.
Its so cool to see yourself in action like this. Regular readers of my blog will know I like to try and take the GoPro off me and the bike from time to time, but you can’t get footage like this unless you actually get the camera in the air.
Gary has previously flown RC helicopters, but his newest toy is a DJI Mavic and he’s working towards obtaining his CAA Permit to take drone flying a little further. Also if you didn’t know, you actually need a permit in order to legally fly a drone further than 120 metres and out of line of sight (or something like that).
Anyway, enough of me droning on (I crack myself up sometimes), its time to let the riding and the aerial photography do the talking. So here’s the awesome results of Gary’s filming on Saturday afternoon, and go follow him on YouTube or Vimeo here.
All stills and the video thanks top Gary Lee / Ridgeway Drones
I am sure there are better sections of trail – I know there are. Steeper, faster, more technical etc but The Italian Job is something special I think.
This was my second visit to Nant Yr Arian and I had forgotten how much I enjoyed this trail centre. We rode the Summit trail which perfectly suited our needs to top off the weekend of riding in Snowdonia. Approx 2 hours of trail with some of the best purpose built singletrack you can ride.
Everyone talks about the Mark of Zorro (a seemingly never ending 2km descent zig zagging through the pines to the bottom of the hill), and High as a Kite (the final tree stump ridden exposed descent to the centre). Don’t get me wrong, these are both excellent trail sections – the entire trail is a great one actually – but the Italian Job is a real treat and here’s why.
Nant Yr Arian’s cafe and trail head is at 300m which makes it different to many that we are used to in South Wales for instance, where they are typically situated 200m lower. As you can see from the pic above (the view from the car park), this means you already have some height gained and Nant Yr Arian delivers you a cracking piece of singletrack and a great descent within 5 mins of the car park!
The Summit Trail as a whole is superb and yes Mark of Zorro is a real thrill but the Italian Job delivers smiles and grins straight away.
I need to go back for another go ASAP.
Here’s Mark of Zorro just for good measure!
For trail information call the Nant yr Arian visitor centre: 01970 890453
2 years have passed since I went up and down Snowdon with my bike. Notice I didn’t use the word “ride” or “rode” – there are large portions of the ascent that you simply cannot ride. I was not surprised to find that the climb hadn’t got any easier. Despite all the tourists, they haven’t quite put in an all weather all purpose track. Thank God!
Going up is exhausting as you are pushing, pedaling or carrying your bike for nearly 2 hours and it was hot last weekend! I wont complain about the weather but it was warm…
Coming down – by the time you have regained your energy at the summit its time to descend and what a descent it is!
Fast, loose and hugely rocky…
Starting at the top of the highest peak out side of the Scottish Highlands with almost 1000m of descending ahead of you feels quite special. By making your way up the mountain under your own steam, you have just earned one of the best and gnarliest descents in the UK.
No trees grow here so you are exposed to the elements (in this case sunshine) all the way down. The surface is hard, rocky and in most places loose under the wheels!
Its a challenge of nerve and skill from top to bottom and I love it.
Mountain biking doesn’t have to be just a dream you have of far off places.
You don’t have to live in Utah, New Zealand, Canada or even Wales.
Right on your doorstep is something worth riding and you must learn to embrace it and enjoy it.
We are bombarded with clips of dusty far off lands, Surrey Hills shredding, never ending descents to deep blue oceans and Scottish highland rocky trails, but no matter where you live, you will have something right under your nose, I guarantee it!
With work and family commitments its tricky for me to get away, even short drives up to Wales are hard to squeeze in and so most of my weekends are spent riding the Wiltshire Downs.
You don’t have to ride the best trails in the world, you just have to ride!
Excuse the Youtube friendly music – I have lost my original footage so had to overlay some copyright free tunes onto my entire soundtrack to keep YT happy.
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