Four years in the making, four black-grade trails, and 400m of vertical drop: At long last the Dyfi Bike Park is finished, and open to ride… if you dare.
Where is it?
Dyfi Bike Park
Dyfi Bike Park is based in the Esgair Forest three miles north of Machynlleth, just off the A487 towards Dolgellau. It’s clearly sign-posted from the main road at Pantperthog.
Dyfi Bike park opening times
Currently Saturday and Sunday, 10am to 4pm.
Dyfi Bike Park: the trail guide
- 50 Hits, single Black Diamond grade
- Original DH, double Black Diamond grade
- Slab Track, triple Black Diamond grade
- Race Track, double Black Diamond grade
And no, the Red Bull Hardline track is not open to the public.
The uplift is via Land Rover, something that’s essential not because of the quality of the uplift but because it gets snowy at the top in winter, Dan says. “We wanted to be open all year round.”
The uplift takes 12 minutes, while the jump line takes around 10minutes to get back down on. The downhill trails take the Athertons four and a half minutes… so expect to get down them in double that.
Book onto the uplift at dyfibikepark.co.uk, it costs £36 and Dan says it’ll run on similar hours to Revs and BPW — we figure that’s 10-4.
What bike to ride
A capable modern trail bike will be okay. An enduro bike will be great. A downhill bike may be overkill for a lot of the tracks.
It’s been built by Dan Atherton so as you can imagine it’s a venue dedicated to gravity, with three downhill tracks to ride, and a jump line featuring a host of tabletops from large to preposterous.
“Don’t be too put off by the fact it’s black though,” Dan told us cheerily. “It’s more like Revs [Revolution Bike Park] than Red Bull Hardline.” Revs, or Revolution Bike Park, to give the place its proper name, is a gravity venue too with black and red grade trails, roots, tech and where it’s mandatory to wear a full face. Dyfi has been built in the same style, meaning it’s for experienced riders but you don’t have to have won a World Cup to have fun.
“My dad rides the Dyfi Bike Park and he’s certainly not experienced,” Dan says. “And I tell everyone to bring a trail bike as well as a downhill bike because the jump line is more fun on a trail bike.”
Everything is rollable at Jump Line track, but the message from Dan and his crew of builders is that it’s not a place for beginner riders. “We graded it black as there are a lot of fast guys coming here, there are blind crests on the trails and the guys are cracking on,” he says. “We didn’t want people pushing up the track, we wanted people here who wanted to know what they’re doing, the higher end riders.”
It’s a big venue too, 650 acres in size or about half that of BikePark Wales. It’s the vertical drop that’s really impressive, 340m from the drop off to the bottom making it the most vertiginous venue in the UK, by our reckoning. It won’t stop their either, the very top of the hill is at 666m leaving potential for a Whistler-style Top of the Wales trail, we reckon.
The vision for the trails is all from Dan himself but his local trail crew has been hard at work building the park and adding their input too. You can expect the downhill trails to be steep, rocky, rooty and treacherous in places.
We’ve all been nervously waiting for the Dyfi Park Park for years, with social media posts teasing and scaring in equal measure. It’s taken so long because the initial plan was to lease the land rather than buy it out right. “We changed because we wanted the freedom to develop the venue,” Dan says. “And we weren’t sure about how it would really work as a bike park, we were feeling our way — but then it became clear it would work.”
Dyfi Bike Park has just completed the purchase of the land, which also includes a working sawmill — handy if they want to build north shore. More importantly, it means DBP controls when and how the crop is felled and the park can minimise disruption to the trails.
“Running a sawmill, it’s kind of good, most bike parks are governed by Natural Resources Wales and whoever owns the land, but with us we process the oversized timber and it gives us the opportunaitly to run a more considered felling programme,” Dan says.
Dan’s prowess with a shovel and a digger are renowned, and riding’s in his blood, but about the nuts of running a bike park?
“The building side was easy cos it’s just something we’ve always done,” Dan says. “It was just an expansion of digging tracks for ourselves, or for Red Bull. But running the bike park has been trial and error, something we’ve been testing over the last two years.
“But just from being a rider and going to other bike parks you get a feeling for what works and doesn’t. And no matter who you are, building something from the ground up is always hard, but we’ve had some help from Revs too.”