Singletrack Magazine Issue 124 : Dyfi Dynasty

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Deep in the woods of west Wales, there lies a network of ancient (and very modern) tracks waiting to be discovered. The hidden trails of the Dyfi Forest could be the best-kept secret in Wales.

Words chipps Photography james vincent

Dan Atherton, the legendary trail builder and architect of the Red Bull Hardline event, has got the bumpiest, most potholed driveway I think I’ve ever driven up. You know the way that car mechanics all seem to drive clapped-out cars because they’re sick of working on other people’s vehicles? That seems to be Dan’s attitude to his driveway. Behind his house sits 17 acres of woodland that hides countless marble-smooth, sculpted dirt jumps, but in front of it there’s just a potholed track. And in the middle of it all, between the potholes and the house-high jumps, we find the eldest Atherton, Dan – or Affy to his friends and family – sitting on his front deck, overlooking his neighbourhood of Corris, in the Dyfi Forest in westest Wales. 

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Singletrack Editor

Chipps wasn’t around for the dawn of mountain biking in the UK, but he likes to claim that he arrived in time for second breakfast (about the time he shows up for work, then…) starting in the bike trade in 1990 and becoming a full time mountain bike journalist at the start of 1994. Over the subsequent quarter century, he has seen mountain bike culture flourish and diversify and bike technology go from rigid steel frames to fully suspended carbon fibre (and sometimes back to rigid steel as well.)

His riding style is best described as ‘medium, wheels on the ground, trail riding’ though he’s been spotted doing everything from endurance downhill racing to 24 hour cross country racing. He favours mid-travel trail bikes and claims to be wheel-size, gear, brake and tyre agnostic. In fact, his garage spans most bicycle flavours, taking in steel hardtails, carbon trail bikes, even a mountain bike tandem, along with road, touring and gravel/cyclocross bikes.

While he’s happy to chat about bikes all day, his real interest is in the people and places that bikes can introduce you to and he talks as fondly about the trails he’s ridden and riders he’s met as the bikes that took him there.

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