Ride the blues away
Experienced mountain bikers often look down on blue trails but we think this is a massive shame. Not only do they offer a great stepping-stone for beginner riders but they also provide thrills for those of us who are more used to reds and blacks.
The trails are relatively risk-free and their progressive obstacles can be hit as fast as you like, which should guarantee a grin factor. Whether you use them as a quick warm up for your ride or a fun blast to finish it off, blue trails are always worth the extra effort. Here are Britain’s best blue trails:
Minortaur, Coed Y Brenin, North Wales
The Minortaur is made up of three separate blue loops that link together to become progressively longer and more challenging. The longest of these is the Buwch Bren (Wooden Cow), a 9km golden thread that challenges riders with ski-jumps, hips and climbing turns.
While you’re there: Coed Y Brenin is packed full of trails which will probably take you multiple visits to complete. Our favourite? The MBR trail of course!
Glentress blue, Glentress, Scottish Borders
Glentress used to be the place to go for mountain biking in the UK and, although bike parks are more fashionable than trail centres at the moment, the quality of its routes remains untarnished.
Just hearing names like Berm Baby Berm, Electric Blue, Blue Velvet and Good Game can bring a smile to the face of anyone who’s tackled this rollercoaster hidden in the Scottish Borders.
While you’re there: Any visit to Glentress that doesn’t take in the red run’s Spooky Wood is wasted as far as we’re concerned.
Watch us ride Glentress in the EWS
Bodmin Beast, Cardinham Woods, Cornwall
Cornwall may not be the first place you think of when considering a ride in the UK but 1SW, a cycling project based in the South West, is hoping to change all that. Cardinham Woods is one of its most ambitious projects and the Bodmin Beast is its main trail.
There are red options on this route that are highly recommended but you won’t feel short changed by the12-kilometer blue (although Dialled in Dave is probably generously graded anyway). Plus we hear the café is an absolute stonker.
While you’re there: Check out Llanhydrock which is under 5 miles away and also has a blue trail.
Verderers Trail, Forest of Dean, Gloucestershire
The Forest of Dean may be more famous as a downhill venue but it also has a selection of cross-country trails to keep you amused as well. The longest trail is the Verderers blue that wiggles round 11km of forest singletrack.
The highlight has to be the final descent and with an alternative option coming soon this trail will continue to be fresh for years to come.
While you’re there: The Freeminers red route is good for a quick blast but we reckon if you can hack the Verderers then you should try out the Launchpad all-ability trail.
Terry’s Belly, Bike Park Wales, South Wales
Terry’s Belly is a phenomenal piece of trail engineering. When you’re at the top it’s a continuous 4.2km descent back to the Bike Park Wales car park – that’s more than half the length of some trails here of just pure descending.
As it’s in a bike park expect Terry’s Belly to be a bit more difficult than the other blue trails listed here but for a slightly more experienced rider it will be packed full of smile miles.
While you’re there: You really are spoiled for choice butthe other blue runs such as Willy Waver and Sixtapod should be top of your list.
Blue Scar, Afan, South Wales
Blue Scar is one of Afan’s newest trails and it’s named for the miners who used to work these hills until the 80s, for whom a nick or cut would heal with a blue tint as the coal found its way in as an accidental tattoo.
It’s a decent length for beginners, but new riders will need to take care on it as it will flow very fast indeed. The berms are huge too, and while there is a slow and low line through them they can look intimidating at first approach. It goes without saying, then, that practised riders will be able to absolutely rip.
While you’re there: Afan has a whole host of trails to keep you amused. W2 is a stone cold classic mountain biking challenge.
Quercus trail, Whinlatter Forest, The Lake District
The Quercus may be the shortest trail loop on our list but that just means the fun is packed in more tightly. There is an option to cut the trail down to 3.5km but we’d recommend seeing it through the whole way as there are some humongous berms to hit on the second half of the trail.
Compared to Whinlatter’s mountain top reds, the Quercus trail is relatively low level but think of it as an extended pumptrack with plenty of opportunity to get airbourne especially on its starting descent.
While you’re there: Whinlatter has a red run split into two medium sized red routes or you could try seeing what the rest of the Lake District has to offer.