A Trail Is Born – Making the most of your local terrain

I’m a great believer in making the most of what you’ve got when it comes to mountain biking.  Whether that be in terms of your bike and budget (any bike will do honestly it will), or where you live.

We can’t all live in the Surrey Hills, Scotland, Snowdonia or … Bristish Columbia, but everywhere you go is something you can find to ride.

You can rip up the streets urban style like Sam Pilgrim or you can find a small patch of woodland and just ride it!

Doesn’t have to be steep, gnarly, and long – with just a little bit of imagination you can turn anything into some fun.

This “trail” is only 15-20 seconds long but it has a steep roll in, some loamy turns and a small drop off.

Y Slab at Coed Y Brenin

Y Slab at Coed Y Brenin
I had a brief visit to Coed Y Brenin while in North Wales recently and Tom Hutton of MTB Guiding accompanied me to the top of the Tarw Du trail to show me the new Y Slab section.

It was a really cold day; my Strava record says it was a -2 Celsius average temperature and my toes were numb for about an hour after riding.

 

in-the-car-on-the-gopro
Does my thumb look big in this?
While I have been to Coed Y Brenin a few times I had never ridden the Tarw Du, so this and a newly opened trail section was a double treat.
The Tarw Du is a Black / Severe grade trail and certainly has some obstacles that require commitment but ultimately I think its more a “Red +” as I didn’t find this any where near as daunting as say Dai Hard or 5o Shades of Black at BikePark Wales.
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One of the “slabs” on the Y Slab section
Its well worth a trip and Tom was great company as he knows the centre and the trails really well. His business runs guided days and full weekends in Snowdonia as well as the Lake District, Scotland and other parts of the UK.
DCIM100GOPRO
Tom Hutton (LEFT) drinking another coffee!
Tom is probably best-known as a guidebook writer and the man behind MBR magazine’s pull-out route guides.  I have been on a few trips with MTB Guiding and highly recommend Tom and Steph as excellent guides and superb hosts check them out on Facebook and the web in the links below:

Planning Ahead

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Sunday morning rides have been great over the last few months but its time to start going further afield. So I’m feeling pretty excited cos I have some proper biking plans on the calendar now.

1st March – This coming Saturday a few of us are off to Cwmcarn. A ride of the Twrch and the Cafall are in order I think. Should be fun and hard work all at the same time. Might even try the new DH run – PedalHounds I think its called.

21st March – This is going to be a proper bit of mountain biking. 4 of us have opted for a guided ride around some of the excellent singletrack at the Forest Of Dean. Singletrack descents, drops and maybe some adrenalin fueled nonsense!  GoPro will have to be charged with spare batteries for 3 hours of frolics in the forest.

16th April – North Wales Weekender with MB Swindon – This is my bike holiday for the year, unless I can squeeze in another weekend or two at some point.  We stay in Dolgellau and will be riding Coed-y-Brenin, maybe Llandegla, will be doing some classic local routes around Cadair Idris and the famous Pont Scethin trail as well as maybe hitting Cannock Chase on the way home.

1st May – May Day! May Day! Finally after a year of it being open I have myself an uplift booked for Bike Park Wales.  Nuff Said!

Stay tuned!

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Trail Review – FOD Freeminer

Trail Review – FOD Freeminer

Trail Review - Freeminers FOD

I set off for an early start to meet some friends and ride at the Forest of Dean. The newly extended Freeminer trail was our main reason for visiting as well as riding the extremely popular Verderers.

I got to the trail center and parked up at 7.56am – first car in the car park which costs £3.50 at this time of the year. We had arranged to meet at 9.30 but I had decided to get there early and do some riding on my own and to specifically familiarise myself with the extension to the Freeminer loop. I hadn’t been to the FOD (Forest of Dean) for a while and I was keen to refresh my memories.

Trail Review - Freeminers FOD

It was real treat to be at the car park on my own and be the only rider on the trail. The FOD trails are really popular and can get quite busy at the weekend – a full car park by 10am is not unusual so this was great! The loop is only about 4 miles (6km) but there are some steep climbs and loads of technical features. Roots and switchbacks challenge you on the way up and drops and fast berms entertain you on the way down. And in between there are some great little jumps and table tops! The Table Tops is a new highlight section of this trail. It allows riders of all abilities to ride a technical trail full of easily rollable features, but for the adventurous you can make some more of it and get some air beneath your tyres which I tried to do with mixed success. This isn’t a fault of the trail just limits in my abilities and confidence.  However, this section of the trail has since been closed for some urgent repair work such as been its interest from the more adventurous trail riders.
Trail Review - Freeminers FOD

The Freeminer Trail really has a bit of everything combining the table tops, berms and a few wooden boardwalk sections with some great natural features including the brilliant final twisty rooty gully and a few stretches of singletrack – you have a short but feature packed trail that takes about 40 mins to get around. During that 40 mins you get a great work out on the bike – swapping between climbing and descending (a dropper post is certainly handy here) and with plenty of opportunities to jump and drop for all abilities.

I loved it and it looked awesome in the low morning sunshine.

For more info on the trail and how to get there check the link below:

http://www.pedalabikeaway.co.uk/advancedriding.htmlTrail Review - Freeminers FOD

This review was first written with slightly less words on Tim’s personal blog on the 5th October.

The Freeminer Trail – Forest of Dean

 

The Freeminer Trail

I set off for an early start today to meet some friends and ride at the Forest of Dean. The newly extend Freeminer trail was our main reason for visiting as well as riding the extremely popular Verderers.

The Freeminer Trail

I got to the trail center and parked up at 7.56am – first car in the car park! We had arranged to meet at 9.30 but I had decided to get there early and do some riding on my own. So I decided to familiarise myself with the Freeminers loop.

http://www.strava.com/segments/5647668

The Freeminer Trail

It was real treat to be at the park on my own and be the only rider on the trail. The FOD (Forest of Dean) trails are really popular and can get quite busy so this was great! The loop is only about 4 miles (6km) but there are some steep climbs and loads of technical features. Roots and switchbacks challenge you on the way up and drops and fast berms entertain you on the way down. And in between there are some great little jumps and table tops!

It really has a bit of everything and it takes about 40 mins to get around. During that 40 mins you get a great work out on the bike – forever swapping between climbing and descending. Just enough to keep you on your toes.

I loved it and it looked awesome in the low morning sunshine.

The Freeminer Trail

For more info on the trail and how to get there check the link below:

http://www.pedalabikeaway.co.uk/advancedriding.html