I’ve recently been to the Elan Valley for a weekend with a few friends. It was only 2 weeks ago but looking at the weather outside today it feels like it was months ago. As you’ll see from the video above we had the last of the summer weather and we all agreed it was one of the best weekends we’ve had away.
I’d ridden some of the routes before so wanted to show the guys who hadnt been a good time and also wanted to ride me some new stuff. So Day 1 was pretty familiar, Day 2 a hybrid of some routes I’d been studying on the MBWales website.
Most of the riding in the area can be found on the MB Wales website link below. My advice is to look at the routes and pick and chose the bits you want to do and creat a hybrid in a route planner like OS Maps.
The riding is mostly pretty good going and suitable for all with a reasonable fitness level. Techinically there’s a few areas that will test your handling skills should you decide to ride at speed, but its generally a friendly area to ride. Some steep hills will likely have you pushing or puking! There is a climb that is called “puke hill” that will have your front wheel wandering and lifting and takes some effort top stay positioned for the duration.
Be prepared with food, water and layers as the riding is remote and if you find yourself caught in bad weather or with a mechanical or accident, as you will find yourself in a remote spot.
To provide some variety to the natural beauty, recently some flow trails have been built close to the Caban Coch Reservoir. These provide some groomed smooth trail fun and as they are only a short pedal from the Elan Valley Visitor Centre, they make for a nice finish to a ride.
We camped at Elan Oaks campsite just down from the visitor centre and it was perfect for all our needs, ie it had a shower and a toilet block.
Hope you enjoy the videos, if you want to know anything about the routes please let me know. I’m tempted to put a little pack together with routes and advice.
When I sat down to write this post originally, I was going to debate the different types of Blues, Reds, Blacks etc at UK bike parks and trail centres (there’s a difference), but then I thought I’d just show you a video.
However, very quickly:
A black run at Bikepark Wales will have large gaps and drops that require speed, technique and commitment.
A black trail at Coed y Brenin, while possibly a bit rocky and gnarly in places, is, IMHO more a measure of fitness.
And finally a black run at Windhill Bike Park, is mostly a hand cut trail that requires a certain level of skill, but doesn’t require masses of speed or large testicles to ride and clear large gaps.
Don’t get me wrong there are some jumps on the black trails at Windhill, but honestly you can roll through most of it. (I do!)
Just stay clear of the Pro-Line – – – But that hopefully speaks for itself!
So here’s a short video of a bunch of us average riders riding blue, red and black runs at Windhill this weekend – nothing required clearing a gap, and the largest drop is about 2 feet high on all these trails.
This doesn’t mean you can’t get some air or jump some distance (hopefully you can see from my average efforts), it doesn’t mean that top riders can’t enjoy it (cos they do!), it just means that you can ride most of the park at your pace and enjoy it.