Time to get your wallplanners out
New trails, new events and even a whole new trail centre – here’s our pick of where to ride in 2019.
This year marks a decade for Tweedlove, one of the UK’s best bike festivals. To celebrate there’s a wicked-looking new enduro planned. Called the Transcend Epic it’s more like the Trans Provence than a traditional race, with two days of uplifts and shuttles taking riders into the forests around Glentress and stretching down the River Tweed to Yair. Away from racing, by the summer Glentress should also have 16.5km of new trails up and running, as part of a new investment including eco-cabins nestling in the Buzzard’s Nest freeride and skills area. Couple all that with the new bike-trains and it’s a great time to head north.
Queen Elizabeth Country Park
Sheltering under the beech trees at Queen Elizabeth Country Park is a new trail called the Blue. it has been lovingly built and maintained by the QECP Trail Collective, a volunteer group who took charge of spot, determined to improve the riding experience there.
In the Blue they’ve created a singletrack loop that won the mbr Trail of the Year in the volunteer built category, and it’s easy to see why: big berms on the descent create a trail that experienced riders will flow down without touching the brakes, and new riders will enjoy too. More than this though, the trail has an all-weather surface, probably the only one in the South Downs National Park, and that makes it rarer than hen’s teeth in this area of the country. It’s not just the Blue the Trail Collective has looked after either, there’s the Red trail that’s steeper and faster.
Leeds Urban Bike Park
Leeds Urban Bike park opened just over a year ago, turning an old golf course on the south side of the city into 3km of trails, a pump track and a BMX track. Work is also under way to expand the venue, putting in a bridge to ride across (or jump), tables and berms, designed to knit the park together. All this should be ready by the end of February. There are also a further 6km of trails coming soon.
“That’s the Red and the Blue trails complete.” explains Jeremy Hayes of Cycle Pathway CIC. “After that we really want to build a 4X track that comes off the BMX track.” There are plans for a skills area, multiple drop-offs, techie features and more aggressive jump lines that boost you higher.
This is definitely a park on the up and up. We have been to Leeds Bike Park a handful of times now and the pace of change and improvement is great, with every visit yielding more fun stuff to ride.
Revolution Bike Park
The mbr Trail of the Year award also featured commercially built trails, and the winner was Revolution Bike Park‘s Freeride Trail. The famous 50to01 trail gets the headlines here but we weren’t surprised to find the Freeride is the people’s choice because it’s more accessible for regular riders: You can ride it how you want to, whether that’s spending time in the air than on the ground, or keeping your wheels firmly planted, this trail is a riot. That’s all the more impressive when you consider it has jumps large and small, steep sections, berms, turns, and features galore. Of course there’s a lot more at Revs too, with additional reds like Freeride and Reddy McRedface, blacks like the Main Line and pro lines including the great 50to01.
Consistently wowing us with its quality and quantity of trails, BikePark Wales has incredible momentum behind it. In 2018 Merthyr’s finest added not one but seven new trails — AC DC, Watts Occurring, Blackadder, Off Grid, Fforest Bump, Roller Disco and Snakebite. Individually they’d be worth heading along to check out but together they deserve a repeat visit and make BPW one of our 2019 hotspots. Surprise surprise, there’s more coming next year too, Martin Astley from BPW says they’re working on a new trail “with a big name pro rider next year as part of our partnership with Fox Head”. They won’t say more, but could it be Tahnee Seagrave? That’s our guess.
Cathkin Braes on the Glasgow fringes hosted the mountain biking at the Commonwealth Games in 2014, and last year it built on that XC heritage adding new trails to make it more like a mini trail centre than a city riding spot. It now has a Velosolutions pump track, a new climb to the woods, and multiple jump lines with berms and gaps. It’s no mean build either, over £700,000 was still spent of trails with the main jump line the most prominent of them all. In total there are over 3km of new trails to take the total at Cathkin to over 9km, including the natural trails in the woods. This is one great place to learn to jump, with 20 new tables, doubles and gaps over the 650m Red line.
Rogate Bike Park doesn’t have big elevation to play with like the bike parks of Wales and Scotland, but new owner B1KE (of Windhill fame) has the creativity and proven experience to make the most of the hillside. It’s an old park now re-imagined, with trails that have seen a lot of work to make them flow like new. There are big tables, hips and gaps that experience riders can enjoy, as well as an entirely new blue trail and easy tables if you’re just learning to get airborne. The hill is split into two halves, with a short natural section at the top and bike-park bits lower down. There’s more building planned for the years ahead too.
Black Mountains Cycle Centre
Yet another Welsh bike park, Black Mountains Cycle Centre really is open to the public though. Trail builder Nikki Whiles says it’s like a lower-key Bike Park Wales, but with 16 trails including the amazing new Bomper trail, it’s not quite so under the radar as it once was. Expect jumps, tractor uplift, big berms and summer barbecues.
Dyfi bike park
We know you’ve probably heard this before, but Dan Atherton really is building a bike park in North Wales and we’ve been told it really is going to open in 2019. What’s there then? Social media glimpses from the Athertons have shown it could have 60ft tables, stepups and a road gap that looks pretty much the same size as its Hardline sibling. We’re really hoping there’s something there for mere mortals too, either way we’re desperate to head along and see what’s going on in 2019… but don’t hold your breath.