BikePark Wales Opens Saturday 24th August 2013
August 23rd, 2013
After 5 years of research, preparation and construction BikePark Wales will opens its doors to the public this Saturday 24th August. For the very first time the UK will have a full scale mountain bike park with all the facilities required to guarantee an amazing day shredding World class trails.
BikePark Wales is part of the Cognation project that has heavily invested in mountain biking throughout the South Wales region over the past two and half years. Cognation mtb trails South Wales is a partnership project between Neath Port Talbot CBC, Merthyr Tydfil CBC, Caerphilly CBC, Natural Resources Wales and BikePark Wales. The project is part-funded by the EU’s Convergence European Regional Development Fund through the Welsh Government with match funding coming from the Welsh Governments Heads of the Valleys Strategic Regeneration, BikePark Wales and partner organisations.
Today see’s the release of part 3 of the building of BikePark Wales documentary just 3 days before the park opens. In this episode the project nears completion and the trails get a thorough testing to make sure they are riding just right for the public.
Over the last 10 years the popularity of mountain biking in the UK has soared and riders have enjoyed the growth of the trail centre model spear headed by the now Natural Resources Wales (Previously Forestry Commission Wales). Those looking to broaden their horizons have had to look to Europe or Canada for their first taste of the bike park experience. Now riders will be able to enjoy uplift and pedal accessed trails of a quality and quantity never seen before in the UK, year round at BikePark Wales.
BikePark Wales will open with 23 sections of trail to be enjoyed by riders of all abilities. In the same manner as European ski resorts BikePark Wales will use a colour graded system to indicate the technicality of each trail. A full explanation of the trail gradings can be found on the BikePark Wales website. Importantly BikePark Wales has been designed so that anybody who enjoys mountain biking can come and enjoy the trails.
Anna Walters of BikePark Wales explains;
“There is a stigma attached to uplift accessed riding that it is for downhillers only. We’ve learned through our experiences travelling the World that it doesn’t have to be that way. Take Finale Ligure in Italy for example, amazing uplift accessed riding on mid travel trail bikes. Our aim was to bring this to the UK. Most of our trails are perfectly rideable on a good quality trail bike with only the most severe black runs and pro lines requiring a full on DH bike. If you think BikePark Wales isn’t for you as it has an uplift service I challenge you to come and give it a go. Of course if you enjoy pedalling we have a Singletrack climb to take you to the summit at 491 metres from where you can choose your own route down linking all your favourite sections of trail.”
Over the last 10 days a series of video edits have been released documenting the construction phase of the project over the last 6 months. For trail building company Back On Track and BikePark Wales’ own trail crew it has been the most challenging build they have ever undertaken. Rowan Sorrell, owner of Back On Track and also a director at BikePark Wales was the man tasked with managing this aspect of the build;
“A build like this would normally take two years, we’ve had to do it in 6 months! That simply meant that we had to throw more resource at the project and had multiple teams working on the project in different locations simultaneously. You can see from the video documentary that it was a pretty stressful time but I’m proud of what we have created, there are some incredible sections of trail on the hill, a real variety. Each and every trail has many different feels to it as you descend from the top of the mountain to the bottom.”
The uplift facility has proven very popular with the first week already sold out. Don’t forget that you can still come and ride at the park via the Singletrack climb on opening weekend. A day pass available to purchase from the visitor centre on the day is just £5 and parking is free.
There will be plenty to do and see aside from riding during the opening weekend. Trek will be present with a special Project One display as well as their demo fleet, Vito Sport will be present with “Project X”, Cognation will be giving away a free weekend riding in Wales and Mojo will be on hand with 2014 Fox product and suspension setup tips, Shimano will even be giving away a free XT groupset. The gates will open at 9Am on Saturday.
The on-site Woodland Cafe will be serving amazing locally sourced food whilst the BikePark Wales shop is a great place to browse the latest goods from the likes of Trek, Orange, Fox, Troy Lee, iXS, Answer, Hope and many more.
BikePark Wales is Just 2.5 hrs from central London and less than an hour from Bristol, Cardiff and Swansea, BikePark Wales is easily accessible for a day trip or longer for the majority of Wales and central and Southern England.Lisa Jenkins, Cognation Project Manager added ‘BikePark Wales is going to be a fantastic addition to the mountain bike offering in South Wales. With all the other investment in mountain biking across the region we hope that people will realise the full potential of the area and it will be firmly on their radar for their number 1 choice of destinations. This project shows how partnership working and a lot of dedication from BikePark Wales has ensured the delivery of a World class product. We wish them all the luck in the future.’