Sometimes things don’t go quite how you planned them – but that’s OK. This is what happened on Sunday when I “planned” a route all from the comfort of my computer chair, and took more than a dozen riders from MB Swindon and one from Mudtrek with me along for an adventure in South Wales. Continue reading “A South Wales Adventure”
Last weekend a group of us headed off to Carmarthenshire West Wales and spent a very long day riding around the Brechfa Forest trails – Gorlech (Red) and Raven (Black).
Trails designed by Rowan Sorrel, a forest of beautiful fir trees and plenty of mud – what more do you want?
Well there wasn’t too much mud, though I am sure parts of these trails are never dry!
The weather gods were on our side even though we were deep in to Wales in October!
We had a wicked day and here are a couple POV GoPro edits to give you a feel for whats in store if you decide to pay Brechfa a visit.
First up the Red graded Gorlech. fast and flowy in places, a few climbs and last weekend, a few wet leaves!
The Raven is Black graded trail but shouldn’t scare you. There are some great features on the trail and a few techy switch backs, but its not a Black trail in my opinion and equivalent to a Red at Bike Park Wales.
More info on the trails and links to find out about any forestry work below:
If you fancy a guided tour around the trails and the rest of the area you should definitely contact Jay and Nikki at Mudtrek.
Its great riding with your mates.
Banter, racing, taking photos, stopping at the cafe, motivating each other up the hill, egging each other over the drops, laughing and joking. But its also great to go out and do stuff on your own.
Your pace might be faster or slower than the group you ride with; your ideal choice of ride might be different also; or you might just like the solitude from time to time. If you are like me, with a busy family life and commitments, there are also times when your diary just doesn’t line up.
I use this time to explore and often find stuff even on my door step that’s fun, either for riding or for photos. I love that I can do this at my pace without everyone waiting for me. It means I can change plans or direction when I want, cut the ride short or extend it without the gang having to vote on it. I can also do silly things like talk to the camera and take endless selfies !
So the next time you miss the group ride or can go out Saturday and not Sunday, don’t sit at home being sad that they will be having fun without you – go out and have fun on your own…
Here’s two videos 6 months apart of me doing a little solo spin on my local trails. Note the bridge in the first video…. This the same spot where I got some water and made a brew 6 months earlier in the second video.
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Why a sort of review? Cos I only “sort of” rode there.
Being a little pushed for time but also being in the neighbourhood of one of the first “trail centres” I heard of when I started mountain biking a few years ago, meant that I had to give it some sort of a visit. And the sun was shining so it would have been rude not to, even if I was only able to stay for an hour or so. So here goes: Continue reading “Lee Quarry – A Sort of Review”
I’ve been a bit negative about Cannock on Instagram and on Facebook, calling parts of it a little boring and dull. In my video above I even said I hated it for starters. But lets have a think about it for a moment.
I would definitely visit it again if in the area
Its been almost 3 years since my first visit to Cannock Chase and true to my word I came back as I was in the area.
The sun was out and my meeting was literally a 10 min drive away so I couldn’t wait to get on the bike. Within minutes I was, well, underwhelmed.
In 3 years I have come to want more from a trail centre. Don’t get me wrong the facilities and centre are great with a bike shop and cafe and a Forestry Commission office (where you will pay with a card to park if you don’t have the £6 (yes £6) to pay for parking.
£3 for 2 hours or £6 all day. I’d have liked to have seen a 4 hour option as 2 is not enough to enjoy the trail and have a coffee – actually 2 is probably not enough to even get around the trail unless you just race it.
The setting is nice and the forest is very picturesque but the trail surface is in most places a sort of sandy cobbled finish which is a bit sketchy and I would have done well to have lowered my tyre pressure I think.
Parts of the trail just don’t flow, and they could do if a single tree here or there were removed or the trails were routed around them. There are a number of spots where bars wider than 750mm will not fit so you have to slow and weave your way past them.
There is a section called the Devil’s Staircase which features some steps (duh), but the steps are unnecessary in my opinion and spoil a perfectly good steep switchback.
Anyway – enough of that. I did manage to find some flowy bits – Look out for Pot of Gold and Lower Cliff – these are probably the best sections for flow.
The other highlights for me were the technical Black sections and woodwork.
I’ll let the video tell the rest of the story. Hope you enjoy it!
Would I go back? Have I changed my mind?
Well yes, sort of. Its not my fave place to ride by a long way, but it has some rewards for your visit. I also want to return and visit the Stile Cop down hill trails and I’ve had the offer of an off piste guide for some additional fun.
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