QECP MTB – Queen Elizabeth Country Park – First Ride Review

Much has been said of late about the new sections of trail at the QECP so we thought we’d pay it a visit.

So 6 of us made the 80 mile journey to QECP yesterday frankly not expecting too much.

Blue trails are the unsung heroes of mountain biking. They are the gateways into the sport, acting as a hook for new riders and giving younger riders their first taste of riding off-road in a safe environment. The mistake a lot of riders make is believing blue trails are just for beginners, bypassing them for harder red or black trails. There’s plenty of fun to be had on a well built blue trail even for experienced riders. It’s good to see there are plenty of other people who think the same and that the blue trail at Queen Elizabeth Country Park (QECP) has been voted TOTY.
Read more at https://www.mbr.co.uk/news/trail-of-the-year-377618#Vrdu31PMUjAoowcE.99

We’d heard of the MBR Award for the Blue trail which sounded fun, but we had also heard that the Red trail was very very sketchy in the wet. Well as you’ll see from the video, we are obviously pretty hardcore here in Wiltshire – or just used to the sticky mud!

In my opinion you can ride both trails in all conditions, but the Blue will definitely hold up better in the wet.

Brechfa Forest MTB Trails

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.

Seek and ye shall find

Ask, and it shall be given you;
seek, and ye shall find;
knock, and it shall be opened unto you

Why not quote The Bible every now and again!

Or by contrast maybe Iggy Pop?

And I’m the world’s forgotten boy
The one who’s searchin’, searchin’ to destroy

The point is get out and look for it… Find a trail. Build a trail. Shred a trail.  Ok I’m not really a shredder!

Let us finish this, once and for all. I came to this dimension to destroy turtles. The more… the merrier! Now come! Come and face your doom!

Yes another quote, this time from Shredder off of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles!

I’m no shredder like I said, but like many of us normal folk I like to think I can tear up a trail from time to time!  LOL Who am I kidding!

Anyway, the whole point of this post was to show you a new POV edit of some local stuff, most of which we only found recently. Some built by others, some by us, some made by wildlife, some cheeky little off piste bits but mostly all dusty, dead leaf crunchy stuff within a short pedal of my house.

Go and have a look for yourself, its out there.

I feel I should have ended with another quote…. hmm

Trail Centre Quick Review – Llandegla

This weekend was my first visit to Llandegla. What did I think?

Its tough!

Not tough like scary, just tough like exhausting. To get the best out of the trail and to ride it all you have to go around twice or find some fire road link like I did to go back to do do a loop we missed.

You will find yourself going up and down a lot! South Wales centres like Cwmcarn or Afan basically send you up and then down. This is a lot more lumpy and jumpy – I really need to push myself more as this is the ideal trail centre to spread your wings!

I am not sure if it claims it or not but these are some of the longest boardwalks I have ridden. Be careful in the wet! There is wire to give you grip but it can be torn / worn in the corners where you need the grip the most.

Its a very flowy trail centre and if you haven’t been don’t be scared of the Black Grades just keep an eye out for low flying bikes!

 

What can Ryan Leech Teach?

Ryan Leech is a bit of a trials bike legend who I first saw on the Extreme Sports channel popping up in episodes of Ride Guides. I did a little bit of BMX as kid but nothing that comes close to trials riding, but I have always loved to watch skills vids and edits from the likes of Danny Macaskill and Chris Akrigg.

In particular I like Chris Akrigg as he takes the trials skills to the trails.

Anyway, I’ve always tried to push myself on technical sections and roots. I don’t shy away from logs in the path and I like a track stand challenge. So when the opportunity to subscribe to Ryan Leech’s online skills course came along I thought I’d have a look!

http://ryanleech.com

At first it seems a little odd to be taught riding skills on the internet in this way but Ryan’s mixture of text and video explains things in a simple way and provide you with progressive lessons to hone your skills.

I have only just started to give his online course a try and have so far been impressed with the way he breaks down things like track stands and slow turns into their component parts.

As with my session at UK Bike Skills this is going to be a slow process of making sure I’m using the right techniques and then applying them on the trail. The difference between learning to jump or drop and learning some slower speed skills, is that I can drill them in the garden or in my lunch break.

Stay tuned and I’ll keep you posted on how I get on. In the mean time check me out turning around on my bike in the garden!  Sounds silly but these little exercises hone your trail skills and bike handling.