Mountain Biking Magazine



With Kev and Ianto

Jason Carpenter’s Yamaha WR 250 was in a sorry state, one that had all the hallmarks of being shoved in the shed immediately after a dirty wet day on a mountain. This was such a day. With his daughter (and current world champion) out in Canada Jase’ had kindly opened up the garage to enable us to get…err…water for the van on this day two of our trip around Welsh riding spots.

After weathering Monday in the Black Mountains, we’d hoped for a bit of a break on day two but it wasn’t to be. The plan had been to head north but the mountains were no place to be on this unruly and out of character late July day. So it was to the south and some local handcuts mixed in with what has to be one of the finest trail spots in the country at Van road just outside Caerphilly.

on a wet day a straightforward game of risk if you’re giving it

But first up our shoot was one of classic arcs in mixed woodland beginning with some heavy rootwork that kept Trailcraft’s Shaun Bevan on his toes as he tip toed his way through the base of trademark south wales beech woodland. Such terrain on a dry day is relatively simple, but on a wet day a straightforward game of risk if you’re giving it.

Nikki took the avoiding option on the beech root and was keen to get to grips with a nifty extension on part of an an old stone wall that had long since collapsed but now rebuilt for other purposes.

Bermalicious. That’s about the long and short of it, and usually loamy supports with just enough give in them. Rock berms however are something quite new, no roost, no give, but beautifully sculpted by a man called James. We never saw him but we know who he is.

Van Road Trails. A break in the rain allowed us a half hour window at this classically built trail spot. It was all too short but Nikki still got a few warm up laps in. Starting off with a gentle pump track the park builds as you move up the hill culminating with the steepest trails on the site – or otherwise known as the ‘pro’ line. A group of kids on scooters kicked around on the start ramp before scarpering off when the rain threatened.

Shaun and Nikki will be back in warmer December dust conditions here in south wales

We’re now heading west in the Swift van provided to us by Marquis and The National Caravan Council.

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