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Tuesday, 20 January 2015

I Bike Wales
Wales really does have it all when it comes to mountain biking. We have somewhere between 500km - 600km of purpose built spectacular singletrack, all weather trail centres, downhill tracks, freeride hotspots, skills parks and wild natural trails. Everything a mountain biker could want whatever their ability.

I Bike Wales - #ibikewales from Maia Media on Vimeo.

The 'I Bike Wales' video highlights some of the reasons people like to ride their mountain bikes and it encourages people of all ages, sizes and abilities to get out, ride and enjoy the spectacular Welsh trails. Using a selection of still photography from everyday riders on Flickr we’ve managed to manipulate these images into 3D showcasing some of the best reasons to get on your bike.

Redbull recently named Wales as one of the ‘Five places to ride before you die: The spots on Planet Earth you cannot afford to miss on your mountain bike.’ Quoting our spoilt for choice, swathe of modern trail centres and our potential scope for endless back-country escapes as two of the reasons.

Mountain biking isn’t just for adrenaline freaks either – there really is something for everyone. We have over eleven green and blue trail centre routes scattered across the country suitable for beginners and families.

It is time to spread the message that mountain biking in Wales is amazing and suitable for everyone. Get involved by posting your ride pictures, your muddy smiling faces and photos of your group rides on Facebook and Twitter, and don't forget to use the hashtag #iridewales

To find out more about mountain biking in Wales visit

Follow us on Facebook and twitter @mbwales

Or add your images to our mbwales Flickr group if you’d like to be included in the next #ibikewales video .

Posted by hannaht at 14:01:18

Monday, 05 January 2015

Three of the Top Five UK Trail Centres are in Wales
It's official! We knew it already but Wales has been recognised as a world class mountain biking destination with three of the top five UK venues on our very own soil.   

Mountain Bike Trail community website iBikeRide aggregate all the reviews and ratings from the UK riding public that are made throughout the year into a Trail Index.  It's this rider generated info that has positioned Wales at the top of the UK rankings.  

BikePark Wales celebrated it's first anniversary in August 2014 and it's already hit the UK second spot.  Much closer in concept to that of a ski hill than your average trail centre it's been built in the heart of the South Wales Valleys. The park offers an uplift service which transports you and your bike to the top in between rides, providing your legs with a little rest before your next run down. Or if you like pedalling it's OK to cycle up too.  You pay £6 for entry or £30 (£32.50 weekends) for the uplift for the day (which then includes the entry fee) and that money goes to retain a full time trail crew to keep the trails in tip top condition. 

Afan Forest Park, managed by Natural Resources Wales is the fastest growing mountain bike area in Britain and hit the iBikeRide 2014 third spot.  With 6 superb flowing trails ranging from 7km to over 40km's and a Bike Park there is plenty of all weather singletrack worth riding.  The new red graded Blade trail launched on February 14th 2014 and is fast becoming one of the most popular trails.    

Mountain bike Mecca, Coed-y-Brenin was the first forest to be developed for the sport of mountain biking in the UK and to this day retains its reputation as the sports premier location. In the most recent poll it proudly boasts the fourth position of the iBikeRide rankings.  The MinorTaur is the most recent blue graded development which complements the established red and black rides. It's specially adapted features make Coed-y-Brenin Forest Park the first truly inclusive mountain bike destination.  

Here's the run down of the top 15 mountain bike trail centres with Antur Stiniog and Coed Llandegla making it into the list too.  

The UK’s top 15 mountain bike trails as voted by the iBikeRide UK riding public
1. Glentress Mountain Bike Trail Centre
2. BikePark Wales
3. Afan Forest Mountain Bike Trail Centre
4. Coed y Brenin Mountain Bike Trail Centre
5. Gisburn Forest Bike Trails
6. Antur Stiniog Mountain Bike Trail Centre
7. Hamsterley Forest and Descend Hamsterley Mountain Bike Trails
8. Chicksands Bike Park
9. Innerleithen Mountain Bike Trails
10. Kirroughtree Mountain Bike Trail Centre
11. Coed Llandegla Mountain Bike Centre
12. Cannock Chase Mountain Bike Centre
13. Glenlivet Mountain Bike Trail Centre
14. Forest of Dean
15. Whinlatter Forest Park Mountain Bike Trail Centre

Posted by hannaht at 11:17:47

Wednesday, 31 December 2014

Mince Pie Challenge
I’ve eaten too many mince pies. You’ve eaten too many mince pies. We’ve all eaten too many mince pies. So why not start 2015 as you mean to keep going by accepting our January Mince Pie Challenge. Sadly, it doesn’t involve eating yet more sweet filled pastry morsels. In fact it’s quite the opposite. It requires some serious mince pie calorie burning, a little dedication and some serious pedal strokes.

One of the most ambitious mountain bike routes is across Wales and is known as the Welsh Coast to Coast (#WC2C). The off road version is approx 200 miles or 320km. So over the month of January the challenge is to ride the same distance. Log your distances and see if you can make it.

Given the route is approx 200 miles or 320k that is 15 loops of the Black at Llandegla, 13.5 loops of the Blade Trail at Afan Forest Park, 23 loops of the Cafall trail at Cwmcarn, 17 loops of the Gorlech trail at Brechfa or 8.5 loops of the The Beast of Brenin at Coed y Brenin. Now that’s something to aim for...and a way to work off those mince pies.

If you can make it you’ll be in perfect condition to ride the actual WC2C route by spring.

Posted by hannaht at 16:37:05

Monday, 15 December 2014

Epic Cymru: A multi-day stage race
Have you heard about Epic Cymru? It will be the first ever MTB stage race to be held in South Wales launching this summer.

Held on August 15th-19th the event features some of the very best riding Wales has to offer. From the classic XC venue at Margam Park, visiting trails in Afan Valley, Bike Park Wales, Rheola & Brecon Beacons National Park. Timed XC and downhill sections will form around 40-50% of the riding, with the remainder being un-timed linking sections. Solo or optional team of 3 category and families welcome to give their support.

Entry opens on the 11th January.

For more information visit

Posted by hannaht at 11:20:18

Thursday, 11 December 2014

Winter Riding Goals

Winter is here so set yourself a goal. We all know that once you're out on the bike you never regret going but it's fair to say longer colder nights can make getting your bum up off the sofa and onto your bike a little more difficult. So set yourself a training goal to keep up your motivation. I’ve put pen to paper to give you a few ideas;

  • Are you going to ride 100, 200, 300, 400 miles over the next 3 months. Record your distances every time you hop on your mountain bike and start toting up the miles. Maybe you could promise yourself a small treat at the end of it all if you reach your goal. A mince pie...or a new bike. 

  • Enter an event in winter or spring. The Dyfi Winter Warm Up is a popular classic with the next one held on the 25th January 2015. Or if you need a little more time why not sign up to The Antifreeze. An all new multi lap challenge for 2015 held on the 1st March at Coed y Brenin

  • Visit a trail centre you've never been to before. New is always good for enthusiasm and a trail centre can be a friendly option when you can follow the way-marked trails and finish in a cafe with a bacon butty. Obviously, it’s winter so you still need to be prepared with spare warm clothes and emergency repair kit.

  • Learn a new trick. Plenty of trail centres such as Coed Llandegla, Coed y Brenin  and Afan Forest have a freeride or skills area close to the car park. If you can hone your skills in winter you can amaze your mates in spring.

  • Demo a bike you've never ridden before. Another way to spark your enthusiasm. You may find yourself so inspired you end up dipping your hand in your pocket to make a new purchase. Alternatively, just swap or borrow a mates. Full sus, 29er, short travel, long travel, fat bike...surely there one you've not tried.

  • Set up a regular night ride with a group of friends. There’s nothing like a positive dose of peer pressure to get you riding.

  • Watch inspiring films. Ok, ok...when it really is grim outside (I'm talking horizontal ice rain and -40C) throw an extra log on the fire. Indulge in a suitably gnarly mountain bike film session. The skilful riders always make it look easy and you'll be imagining yourself gliding and bouncing around on two wheels.

So what is your goal going to be?  Follow mbwales on facebook and let us know. 

Welsh winter riding

Photo by the talented @mtbcymru - follow him on twitter

Posted by hannaht at 11:04:01

Monday, 01 December 2014

Antur Stiniog - Aerial Teaser
A dramatic peek at Antur Stiniog from the skies. A seriously epic dose of riding.

Antur Stiniog - Aerial Teaser from SKYQUAD on Vimeo.

Posted by hannaht at 19:21:34

Monday, 01 December 2014

Epic Afan an MTB challenge
Mountain Bikers to attempt first 10 hour 'Epic Afan' challenge this Tuesday at Afan Forest Park.


Endurance Mountain bikers Ant White, Matt Jones and Scott Cornish will be the first to attempt to ride every mountain bike trail in the Afan Forest Park, back to back, in just 10 hours on the 2nd December.

The trio will be the first ever to complete the two-wheeled 'Epic Afan' challenge which will see them pedal 85 miles over 8 challenging trails in just 10 hours. It will be a battle of fitness, riding ability and endurance with the final hours of the challenge taking place in darkness.

The riders are all experienced, long distance mountain bike racers and look forward to both completing the grueling ride and establishing the event as a new challenge that other riders can aspire to.

Matt Jones said, "I'm excited about the challenge, not just for the actual riding but because it has the potential to become an annual event that others can attempt. I'd like it to become a bit of a winter challenge for nutters like us to keep fit in the off-season and see who can set the fastest time."

The Afan Epic challenge will start at 8am on Tuesday 2nd December with all three riders aiming to complete the ride by 6PM. They will start riding on the new and technically demanding Blade Trail, before moving on to Skyline and making their way around the remaining 6 trails.

Support for the ride is being provided by Exposure Lights, Mulebar and Weldtite.

Messages of encouragement can be sent by Twitter using #epicafan

Posted by hannaht at 17:11:51

Monday, 17 November 2014

Penmachno Trail Video
Over the past few years Conwy County have been working closely with Menter Bro Machno to create two new exhilarating sections of trail at Penmachno. The construction of the trails is now complete and it's ready to ride!  What are you waiting for...

Posted by hannaht at 20:47:20

Tuesday, 11 November 2014

7 Things I Like About Winter Riding
Yeah, it's a little bit colder but that's no reason to put your bike in the garage for the next 4 months. Winter riding is a heap of fun...especially in Wales. Here are my top reasons for getting out on your bike between now and the first sprouting daffodils.

1) You get to go night riding.
Night riding is some of the most fun you will ever have on a bike. Bikes lights crammed full of lumens are pretty cheap now. Bung one on your helmet and one on your handlebars and you are good to go. I find your senses become heightened and you assume the concentration of a beginner again. Fortunately you should also have more skill to overcome obstacles instead of running into them. Obviously be sensible, take extra clothing and ideally ride a trail you're familiar with.

2) It's Quieter.
Lots of people are summer bikers so by making that extra effort to get on your bike in the colder months you'll be rewarded with considerably quieter trails.

3) Maintain your fitness.
By remaining active you can still keep up with the best of 'em when it comes to spring again. Or if you've been trying particularly hard you may find you overtake a few more people on the trail. All this additional fitness without the need to sully yourself with any indoor bike/sufferfest malarkey.

4) Eat more cake!
Sticky toffee pudding and mince pies are all great winter food and if you hit the trails you'll feel all the better for having earned them too.

5) Getting muddy.
Who doesn't like getting muddy. More rain, means more puddles which means considerably more fun. 

6) Warming up by a log burner at the end of a great day.
It's that combination of ice cold wind on your face followed by the extra warm cosy heat of an open fire. It doesn't matter whether you are at home, in a pub, or making the most of a long weekend in a Welsh holiday cottage. Although...come to think of it, a long weekend in a holiday cottage, in Wales, with my that does sound like a lot of fun.

7) And as one facebook follower said...the ground is softer to fall on. Bonus!
Here's a great photo by as someone enjoys a free winter bike wash.

Posted by hannaht at 22:13:21

Monday, 27 October 2014

Dragons Back Ridge
Ben Dunster is an 18 year old student studying Mechanical Engineering at the University of Bath. He lives within riding distance of the Black Mountains and Brecon Beacons, which he tells us 'is pretty much the perfect location if you are a mountain biker'. Ben's been filming his rides with a GoPro for nearly three years and it's via his YouTube channel that we became inspired by one of his latest trips. If you get your kicks from big views, technical descents and plenty of sweaty effort getting up then this is definitely one ride for you. I'll let Ben tell you a little more about it:
"Encouraged by a father with a love of cycling, I learnt to ride not long after I could walk and have not stopped since. I have competed in disciplines such as Cyclo-cross, XC MTB and Road all my life. My favourite place to ride is the Black Mountains because of the fantastic terrain and isolated feeling. It is how natural riding should be.

There’s no two ways about it with the Black Mountains, whichever route you choose it will involve a difficult climb. On this day I decided to ride (and push the steepest parts) up the Dragon’s Back ridge. I intended to ride down, starting near the Black Mountains Gliding Club in Pengenfordd. This allowed me to check the ridge before riding down.
I continued up onto the top of the Black Mountains, peaking at the Pen Y Manllwyn summit (775m). After taking in the views and a drink, I turned the camera on, and set off on the descent. The ride down is a good as it gets. It’s really fast in places, and steep and technical in others. And if that’s not enough to contend with, the sheep are likely to be in the way. Although a short ride, and a slog to get to the top, the Dragon’s Back Ridge is my favourite ride in the Black Mountains because of the 360 degree ridge views, spectacular terrain and adventure ride feel. It’s a truly unique experience."
For more inspiration check out Ben's YouTube channel:

Posted by hannaht at 15:09:44

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1 . Trail Grade
2 . Distance in KM
3 . Facilities
On Site
4 . Areas of Wales