March 1st is the day where sales of leeks and daffodils in Wales go through the roof. Saint David’s Day celebrates Wales’ patron saint, and we’re celebrating the best Wales has to offer.
The second smallest country in the union more than makes up for its size with variety of riding on offer. Wales has more bike parks per person than any other, with places like Bike Park Wales, Revolution and Black Mountains drawing plenty of people across the Border.
Pete is celebrating the best of his home country with his pick of the finest riding spots and exports that Wales has to offer.
Manon moves to Radon Factory Racing for 2017 but her legacy is already firmly established. Junior World Champion in 2011 at a very wet Champery with a winning margin in double figures was merely the tip of the iceberg. Arguably the only rider to consistently push Rachel Atherton in recent years, she bagged both the World Championship and World Cup titles in 2014.
We’re very much looking forward to seeing Manon back on form this year and charging hard!
You can check out our 12 Pros of Christmas interview with Manon here.
Revolution Bike Park first came into our collective conscience back when the Athertons were riding for Giant. A few massive jumps in an old slate quarry showed promise, and a few years later there’s been several British Downhill Series races there, and now, with the help of the 50t01 lads, there’s an all-new jump line available too.
There isn’t an awful lot, it would seem, that Mr. Rowan Sorrell can’t turn his hand to. While currently a director at Bike Park Wales, Rowan’s CV includes being a constant podium threat at any UK downhill race, winner of the AM category at the Trans Provence, World Cup racer, trail/pumptrack builder on top of being a Dirt Magazine regular.
There are few that can destroy a corner like Mr. Sorrell too. All about squaring off the tightest of turns, you have to feel for the rear wheel bearings on this man’s cycle.
Another jewel in the crown of South Wales’ official trail offering beyond the Forestry Commission trail centres, the Black Mountains Cycle Centre sports 5 Blue, 4 Red and 5 Black runs to suit every rider and riding style. Earning your runs will see you able to run from 10am to dark daily, while the quick and efficient uplift means you can save your legs for runs with your mates.
Recent planning permission issues hasn’t slowed the number of people heading to the Black Mountains and the park is running at full tilt as the days get longer and warmer. Definitely one to add to the list!
What would a celebration of Welsh mountain biking be without mentioning the success story that is Bike Park Wales? With everything you could possibly need for a weekend of hammering out runs, maybe bar the sleeping quarters, there is a trail at Bike Park Wales for everyone. 2 Green, 7 Blue, 8 Red, 9 Black and 2 Pro runs, there really isn’t any real need to go anywhere else once you’re inside the gate.
These are our 5 key picks, but there is a whole lot more to Welsh mountain biking than what appears above. You could easily spend the rest of your days riding all the fantastic FC trail centre miles and not be disappointed. There’s numerous people and organisations working behind the scenes to champion cycling for everyone, not just for dirt merchants. Beyond that, spend your time with a map to link the bridleways of Wales together for some outstanding natural riding, and that doesn’t even include the countless unofficial trails that must litter the countryside.
What did we miss? Do you agree with our picks of the best of Welsh?
For anyone looking to go further afield in Wales, cross the border, catch a ferry or come over for a holiday, your first port of call shout be MTB Wales’ website.