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Digital Subscriptions > Singletrack > 119 > RETURNING TO THE DARK SIDE

RETURNING TO THE DARK SIDE

The former Red Bull trail opened in 1996 to wide acclaim as the frist purposebuilt trail in the UK. Chipps argues that it’s still one of the best trails anywhere.

Stepping o my bike, I look a little closer at the terrain I’m riding over.rock slabs that vary in size between laptop and tabletop are sunken into the damp ground as if they’ve always been here, mossed-in withthegrowthofages.no sign of recent human intervention and this path might well have been here for centuries.

Listening, there are few sounds in the forest; the creak of a warming tree in the sun, the buzz of an insect. In the far distance I think I can hear a car, but then it’s gone again and all is quiet and peaceful; primeval even.

But I’m not in the New Zealand rainforest, or in a remote Scottish glen, I’m within a mile of one of the busiest trail centres in the UK, next to the A470 on a sunny bank holiday Friday and the trail I’m on singlehandedly created the whole trail centre phenomenon that we now have in the UK, to the envy of much of the mountain bike world.

Just as today’s college students can’t imagine that there was a time before mobile phones and before the internet, so it seems that mountain bike trail centres have always been with us.feel like they have always been around, with their waymarked, colour-coded routes and their reliable, predictable, all-weather terrain and rideability. It wasn’t long ago, though, that a dedicated trail for mountain bikers seemed a ridiculous thing to haveStepping o my bike, I look a little closer at the terrain I’m riding over.rock slabs that vary in size between laptop and tabletop are sunken into the damp ground as if they’ve always been here, mossed-in with the growthofages.no sign of recent human intervention and this path might well have been here for centuries.

Listening, there are few sounds in the forest; the creak of a warming tree in the sun, the buzz of an insect. In the far distance I think I can hear a car, but then it’s gone again and all is quiet and peaceful; primeval even.

But I’m not in the New Zealand rainforest, or in a remote Scottish glen, I’m within a mile of one of the busiest trail centres in the UK, next to the A470 on a sunny bank holiday Friday and the trail I’m on singlehandedly created the whole trail centre phenomenon that we now have in the UK, to the envy of much of the mountain bike world.

Just as today’s college students can’t imagine that there was a time before mobile phones and before the internet, so it seems that mountain bike trail centres have always been with us. feel like they have always been around, with their waymarked, colour-coded routes and their reliable, predictable, all-weather terrain and rideability. It wasn’t long ago, though, that a dedicated trail for mountain bikers seemed a ridiculous thing to have

Still a challenge after 20 years.
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About Singletrack

Going to Extremes It’s always hot and dry in Utah, right? Except when you’re caught in a flash-flood summer thunderstorm. Washed away, baked dry, and sweating, Adam Klimek and pals take on the White Rim trail. Tramping In Torridon Joe Delves packs friends, bikes, camping gear and a dog and seeks a low cost getaway in Torridon, where the trails are good enough to be worth the effort getting there. Tour de France The Fun Way While the roadies are pedalling up these classic TdF climbs, enduro rider Jerome Clementz is whooping his way back down them, taking the rocky switchbacks and forest trails. Classic Ride: Helvellyn Which way should you go up this Lakeland must-do? And which way should you come down? There’s much debate to be had about the best routes on Helvellyn, but everyone agrees you have to ride one of them at least once. James Vincent takes us on his pick of the options. Staying Professional Geoff Waugh talks to Scott Beaumont about getting – and keeping – sponsors. Behind the Insta-bangers and high fives, it’s more businesslike than you might think. Bike Test: British 29ers British manufacturing ain’t dead. We test out three full suspension 29ers from Orange, Robot Bike Co. and Swarf that showcase the range of modern manufacturing skills and processes currently happening in the UK. Interview: Dan Stanton Ian Bailey talks philosophy and company ethos and ‘a different kind of capitalism’ with the man behind Stanton bikes. Malvern Magic Chipps dons his tie-dye T-shirt and Oakley Mumbos and reminisces about the original Malvern Hills Classic ahead of the new version of it, returning to our fields this year. The First Trail Centre Chipps tells the story of the UK’s oldest trail centre: Coed Y Brenin, where the first trails still offer great riding, with the bonus of being away from the crowds. Hutchinson Tyres James Vincent goes on a whirlwind tour of the French home of Hutchinson tyres.