Ashton Court MTB Trails – Review

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.

Whats here?

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.

Links

Here’s a great downloadable map of the trails including the ones in Leigh Woods and 50 Acre Woods  :

https://betterbybike.info/wp/wp-content/uploads/2018/10/BD10784-Mountain-Bike-Trails-leaflet-WEB.pdf

For info on bike hire and skills coaching at the trails contact Pedal Progression  :

https://www.pedalprogression.com/about/

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Louri Frame Strap Review

It was really nice to meet Sian and Thomas at the Cycle Show last week and to get a look at the many products that Cyclorise distribute in the UK.  Getting a close up look at the Louri frame strap and getting my own in a bike colour matching orange was a bonus.

The strap allows you to attach some essentials to your bike for races or when you want to travel a little lighter. Its really useful and easy to use – watch my video for the full low down.

The Louri strap costs £18.99 for the frame version and £17.99 for the saddle mount version.

Finally – the pronunciation – its looo-reee  as in

not lahow-rey ?  as in

For more information visit the Cyclorise and/or the Louri websites.

Sparks will fly

If you are a follower of my blog, facebook or instagram you will know I like to take photos, and my Gopro usually accompanies me on my trips too. Well it was only a matter of time before I got a flying camera wasn’t it!

I’m not made of money so the entry level Spark from DJI has been on my watch list for a while and I finally saw a great deal and went for it.

I was also on my way to Snowdonia and the Elan Valley with my mate and his van for the weekend so it was an opportunity to good to miss.

Day 1 I spent most of the batteries figuring out what to do and didn’t get much footage. Day 2 I felt I got a lot more efficient and managed the day with juice to spare.

I wasn’t quite brave enough to fly it out over the reservoirs in the Elan Valley or let it get too far from me in the mountains as I hadn’t quite worked out the “homing” settings.

What do you think of the results of my first drone edit?

I want to mix it up with GoPro footage in the future and think I’m going to have to invest in some decent video editing software sooner or later…

A Sort of Newsletter

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I thought I’d put a kind of update blog post out ahead of the weekend, covering a few different subjects of what I’m upto…

Bikes

It certainly has been a long wet Winter and I have to admit I’ve done far less riding than I should have.  I have wimped out on a few bike park visits (they aren’t as much fun in the driving rain or mud) and my local trails have become unrideable at times. So I’ve done more miles on my cyclocross bikes than I thought I would. Keeping the legs spinning but away from the  mud as much as possible.

My DJ has not seen the light of day for about 6 months!  I had so many plans to visit so many pump tracks but it just didn’t happen. This weekend I must – especially if I am to justify buying new forks for it!

My full suspension bike has been kept safe and clean (see the wimping out above) and my trusty hardtail has bore the brunt of the winter mud and elements.

Come on spring / summer I need you now more than ever!

Travel

I am a little bit ashamed of my lack of adventure the last few months. Putting the bike in the car to drive for a few hours only to get just as muddy and cold and wet as I can from home hasn’t been very appealing. The lack of a roof rack on my company car has probably been a slight barrier to this too as it is certainly better to stick a muddy bike on the roof rather than in the car that I do not technically own. New car coming next week and I will be getting a rack for it (and the Summer is coming!) so things should change in that department.

I have a trip planned next week (before I get a rack unfortunately) but I am so looking forward to it. Expect photos and videos on my return of a weekend riding with Tom Hutton MTB Guiding and the Dales Bike Centre.

Talking of Guiding

Talking of guiding, I finally put my British Cycling Leadership Award into action and set up a “business venture” doing some local rides. MTB Guide Wiltshire has so far run 3 rides (Jan, Feb and March) and I’ve brought a few riders out from hibernation, had a couple travel more than an hour to ride with me from Hampshire, and helped a few new comers to the sport get an introduction.

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Including a booking on my 4th ride this coming weekend, I have now had 4 return customers.  The photo for this blog post was taken last Sunday when a hardy group of 6 came out for a tough mudder of a ride, 2 were returning customers, and 3 traveled by car for more than an hour to ride with me!

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Showing some locals that there’s plenty of good riding in our little corner of Wiltshire and earning a bit of cash to keep the bikes maintained is very fulfilling. I’m making new contacts and friends, while networking and being “paid” to ride my bike – that’s the dream, the Holy Grail isn’t it?

My first ride outside of Wiltshire comes up in May and so far around 20 people are taking an interest in being guided around the amazing landscape near Blaenavon and Big Pit.

Tickets are on sale for the Ponds, The Pit and The Punchbowl now, and until 1st May they are reduced from £20 to £15 per person.

You can follow my guiding activities on Facebook or Instagram.

And finally…

No, that’s just about it..  Oh and if you’ve a story to share or subject to rant about please get in touch, I am very happy and eager to let some other voices be heard on my little blog…

Tim(FromWales)

 

The Next Best Thing

Adidas TERREX Trail Cross MTB Shoes
Adidas TERREX Trail Cross MTB Shoes

If you have just starting out in mountain biking its likely you’ve gone out and bought yourself a hardtail from your LBS (local bike shop) along with some basics such as a helmet, multitool, tyre levers and a pump.

I know I thought I had everything I needed at home as I had bikes of sorts, so must have all that I needed. I didn’t really but I had enough to get me started. Before long you will find excuses to buy new tools, fancy mini pumps, specific clothing and backpacks with more pockets than you think you will ever need.  Continue reading “The Next Best Thing”