MBUK have been involved in BikePark Wales since the start. Okay, so we can’t lay claim to have toiled through the wind and rain building the trails, but we did go up there before it opened and got our hands dirty. When the park opened, we began sponsoring it and have done every since. Not just because it’s an awesome asset for South Wales and the whole mountain biking community, but because the wide range of trails make it an ideal testing ground for hammering new kit. On any weekday you might well spy the MBUK van there, and if you do, come and say “hi!”… You never know, you might just catch a glimpse of an as yet unreleased bike, being given the Wrecked and Rated treatment.
See we’re not always work shy! The MBUK crew sticking their spades in, back in 2013. Photo: Andy Lloyd
Ex-MBUK Staff Writer Doddy leads the charge, way back in issue 294. Photo: Russell Burton
2. We’ve tested there alongside some of the world’s best
As we’ve mentioned, BPW is a great place to test bikes, but we were especially lucky in 2016, when we were invited to take part in a day of wheel size testing, alongside the likes of Steve Peat, Tracey Moseley, Tahnée Seagrave and more. Our ex-Features Editor Al went along and posted some blindingly fast times aboard 29inch, 27.5inch and 27.5 plus bikes, against some stiff competition!
3. We challenged Richie Rude to a face off
The American enduro powerhouse Richie Rude was over in the UK last year, so we thought, why not see just how good he really is. Not just at going fast (we know that) but how good he is at the important stuff, like jumping high, getting it sideways, bar-dragging turns, arm wrestling and downing pints. We laid down the gauntlet to Richie and chose BikePark Wales as the battle ground. Unfortunately even our local advantage, sneaky lines and ale drinking skills weren’t enough to defeat the champ… but we’ve been training for round two, if Richie ever dares return to Wales?
Our Ed sizes up his competition. Photo: Steve Behr
Backwheel lovin’ in the manual challenge. Photo: Steve Behr
4. Bruni, Lacondeguy and Seagrave came to town
Richie Rude isn’t the only big name pro to have graced the slopes of Merthyr Tydfil. Late last year, DH pros Loic Bruni and Tahnée Seagrave joined freeride big dog Andreu Lacondeguy and put their mark on some on some BPW favourites- ripping down 50 Shades of Black at warp speed and sending big superman seatgrabs over the freshly shaped and enlarged Enter the Dragon jumps. Check out the awesome edit below to see what they got up to.
5. When loads of new trails opened up this year
The park might have reached the five year milestone this August, but rather than rest on their laurels the bike park directors and staff have been working flat out to make BPW even better. This year the park opened a total of seven new trails, bringing the total up to a whopping 40, and the crew are constantly on the tools sprucing up the originals classics too. You can find a ‘How To’ on riding the killer new red run AC DC in this month’s issue of the mag. We have to say it’s been an amazing ride so far. Cheers to all at BikePark Wales for all the good times over the last five years. Here’s to another!
Blasting berms on the BikePark Wales’ newest blue trail- Roller Disco. Photo: Andy Lloyd
Staff Writer Ed is a downhiller at heart but has been riding bikes of all types since a young age. He’s raced both nationally and internationally in downhill and enduro and has spent several summers living in The Alps and Canada, riding, roadtripping and living the dirt bag lifestyle. He’s also an avid trail builder and has scraped out numerous steep and technical lines in the woodlands of his native North Yorkshire. These days Ed will happily turn his hand to any discipline and he says that the sign of a good week is when every bike in his shed ends up muddy by the end of it.