May 2011

Mountain biking at the Afan Forest Park in Wales

May 26, 2011 - 12:21am -- admin

I took the train to Bristol to pick up a bike I bought on Ebay, a Kona Hoss, and a Bob Trailer and went onward to Port Talbot in Wales. From there I rode up to the Glyncorrwg mountain bike centre and got kitted out, with new tyres and SPD shoes, in Skyline Cycles, the resident bike shop.

I rode the 'Whites' Level' trail and 'The Wall' on the first day, Whites' Level and a bit of the Skyline on the second day and the Skyline on the last day. The Skyline was a 45m epic and reminded me why I love mountain biking with lots of single-track and custom-built sections hugging the side of the valleys with stunning views. 

I am still strong and confident on my bike even though I haven't been mountain biking regularly due to being in London but it took a day of riding to get myself to push the bike forwards into the downhills and keep the momentum going. A first person, present-tense description of the experience:"

I swing my leg over the bike and clip in with a satisfying 'click'. I start the bike in a forward motion, grasp the handlebars with confidence and feel the vibrations from the earth through rubber and aluminium. The bike feels well balanced. I look ahead, super-conscious, widen my eyes and after a few seconds they begin to water. 

The trail is rhythmic and I wrestle with it which is a strangely-satisfying, slightly frustrating, but continuous necessity. I clear a rock garden and let the bike flow, monitoring my speed and nerve. I feather the brakes, then hit some huge rocks like weighing scales gone crazy and they slow me right down. 

I hit a puddle and crash into a section of loose rocks, which bounce the bike about. Briefly the experience feels pointless, wantonly pummelling body and machine and I'm in disbelief the wheels don't implode at any moment. 

I wonder 'why?' and the answer is, in a nutshell: brilliant fun, combined with just the right amount of challenge."The mountain bike centre serves fried breakfast and Welsh rarebit. There is also cheap camping at £5 a night and shower and toilet facilities. Support mountain biking in Wales.

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The best mountain biking this planet has to offer - Georgia

Back in 2009 when I first visited Georgia, I fell in love with the place; the mountains, the food, the friendly people, the singing and dancing. I also met some friends who were the first people to mountain bike in the country. Since then mountain biking has grown immensely in popularity. My friends who run the company 'Georiders' - are taking group rides from the 2nd of June onwards. If you are interested in experiencing some of the best mountain biking this planet has to offer then visit the website over at www.georidersmtb.com. Check out the videos and photos too. The first week's riding starts on the 2nd of June and runs for a week and then trips run from then for the rest of the summer season. Winter snow trips also available. Flights available from LOT and Air Baltic.