Scenes of rogue 'rope uplifts' at Tirpentwys Trails site sparks wider conversation about collective responsibility

Riding responsibly is part of the game with mountain biking. We ride off-road, to connect with nature, or to do gnarly stuff and enjoy time away from the responsibilities of life. You often hear “leave nothing but footprints” or perhaps more aptly – leave nothing but tyre treads. Last week, a particular practice came to light at Tirpentwys Trails in South Wales, involving riders using a rogue uplift method of being towed by hanging onto a rope behind a vehicle. Whilst some may think it’s an ingenious solution to no uplift at a bike park, the fact remains that unfortunately, acts like these are illegal, and reflect badly on the the mountain biking community, and could threaten the existence of riding venues such as Tirpentwys Trails.

Tirpentwys Trails C.I.C FB

Tirpentwys Trails C.I.C’s Facebook post referencing the incident

Tirpentwys Trails – a bike park built by riders, for riders

Tirpentwys is a site on Natural Resource Wales land, originally built for local trail builders to enjoy. Since 2016 it has grown to six trails and is managed by a team of 12 (13 if you count Molly the dog). The video showcasing riders hanging onto a rope behind a van has since been removed from social media, but it provoked enough of a stir that the Tirpentwys Trails C.I.C team felt the need to post on their Facebook page.


Jason Bullimore from Tirpentwys Trails

As the uplifts have been taking place on public roads, they have also caught the eye of the local authorities, with Tirpentwys Trails C.I.C stating, “NRW (Natural Resources Wales) has flagged us. Complaints about these rope uplifts have rolled in, catching Gwent Police’s eye.”

Jason Bullimore, Director of Tirpentwys Trails C.I.C raised concerns to MBR about acts of the few and how they can impact the wider experience for mountain bikers and the environment.

“We would like to clarify that, as an organisation, we do not endorse or condone any form of illegal or unsafe activities, including the use of rope uplifts that do not comply with safety regulations and authorised practices. Our stance is firm on prioritising the safety and well-being of all visitors, as well as the preservation of the environments we cherish.

Ryan is remembered with every ride

Jason’s son Ryan is remembered with every ride at Tirpentwys Trails

“The issue at hand extends beyond specific incidents to a broader discussion on visitor behaviour and its impact on natural attractions and outdoor facilities.

“At Tirpentwys and similar sites, we witness the profound effect that individual actions can have on the collective experience and the environment. It is a shared responsibility among all visitors to act with consideration and respect, ensuring that these cherished places remain accessible and enjoyable for everyone, now and in the future.”

The trails are loved by riders from far and wide. Pic: Tirpentwys Trail Crew

Collective responsibility

It’s a phrase you probably hear a lot – whether it’s about recycling, global warming, or pitching in at your kid’s school events. But if you’re a mountain biker, you’ve got a level of responsibility to uphold when on public land. It could be taking your rubbish home with you, or not taking part in rope uplifts on a national speed limit road. Either way, as riders we need to respect facilities like these that have been built by volunteers for riders to use for free, or we can lose them. Especially when they’re built on land belonging to local councils or the like.

Bullimore continued:

“We would also like to point out that while we strive to foster a culture of responsible behaviour within the premises we manage, we are not in a position to enforce regulations on public highways or areas beyond our jurisdiction. Such matters fall within the authority of local law enforcement and regulatory bodies, whom we support in their efforts to maintain safety and order.

“In encouraging a positive and proactive approach to visiting natural attractions, we appeal to all visitors to behave responsibly. It is essential to leave these places as they were found, respecting both the environment and the rights of other visitors. Our collective actions have a lasting impact, and by choosing to act responsibly, we can ensure the continued enjoyment and preservation of these valuable spaces for generations to come. We are committed to supporting initiatives that promote responsible behaviour and the sustainable use of outdoor facilities.”

If you want to mess about on the trails, and see how far you can push yourself then they’re the place to try it. But upon entering the public domain, we all have a responsibility to ride lawfully and reflect well on the community. Unfortunately, cyclists in general aren’t always in favour with the UK media or local politics – so let’s try to change that. Don’t let the behaviour of the few become the brush we’re all tarnished with. Pick up your rubbish, be courteous to other trail and road users, and enjoy yourself!

For those local to Tirpentwys, you may be pleased to know that there are plans for an uplift facility at the park already. So just pedal the climb for now, or maybe try an e-bike if the thought of hills is too much to bear. We have plenty of guides to the best electric mountain bikes for you to peruse.