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Sam Dugon goes behind the scenes at BikePark Wales and follows the staff during a typical day.

As with all great things in life, the more professional a venue, event or personality appears, the more work has gone in behind the scenes to make it that way. This series lifts the veil from some of the iconic British mountain bike institutions, showing just some of the backstage work that goes on to keep events and locations running smoothly.

This issue it’s the turn of BikePark Wales. Opened in 2014, it has become one of the UK’s hottest mountain biking destinations. It’s situated in the Welsh valleys overlooking Merthyr Tydfil, where, come rain or shine, the park always has plenty to offer with over 40 trails to choose from. However, there’s a lot more to running BikePark Wales than just keeping the trails smooth and buses flowing, so we headed to the centre and took a look behind the scenes on a typical Friday just as spring started to show.

Jason oversees his new sandcastle project.


After a long night shift on security, Darren packs up his things and waits to see who’s going to be first in today. Will it be Mike on the trail crew, or will Mark the mechanic beat him to it as there’s a large number of bikes to get ready for the day? With his jacket on, ready to go, he sees Mark heading up towards the building. Darren greets him and hands over the keys for another day. “I’ll see you tomorrow then!” he shouts as he gets into his car.

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Editorial Chipps is brushing up on his knowledge of rules and regulations. Classic Ride: Hay on Wye Barney Marsh finds out why you might like to look further than the book shops in this lumpy little corner of the UK. Bike Park Wales Samantha Saskia Dugon goes behind the scenes to reveal the people that make our pay to play fun happen. Munros Challenge Sanny thinks we should all set ourselves a challenge if we want to be truly alive. Capital to Coast Max Darkins rides from the centre of London to the south coast, in search of beer and chips. Why not? Column: Jason Miles Jason bemoans the excessive enforcement of spurious rules and regulations. Has he been talking to Chipps? Dumplings Chipps heads to Italy for a race where he has to hunt dumplings. Does he need a net, or a spear? Chipps e-MTB Chipps spends a wet weekend in Wales on an e-bike. Will life be any more fun with a battery, or is it still a wet weekend in Wales? Bike Test Dean Hersey gets stuck into three distinctive 29ers that span the width of the new (ahem, nu) school of full suspension 29er trail bikes. Pete’s Pros Pete Scullion continues to ride with (or chase after) the professional riders of today. This issue, he’s talking to Steve Peat. Jez Avery We catch up with legend of the 1990s UK MTB scene ‘Jumping Jez Avery’, and discover that behind the stunt shows and bunny hops, there’s a whole other life. Arran Sanny hops on a boat to Arran to check out the trails that are often overlooked by those going for the big obvious pointy hulk of Goat Fell. Last Word Mark swaps his car for a bike.