In a joint statement last weekend, the major uplift bike parks in Wales announced that, in line with Welsh Government advice, and after consultation with Welsh Cycling and the Outdoor Alliance and other bodies, a measured reopening of some Welsh trail centres would start happening after July 6th.
Initially, those trail centres – BikePark Wales, Revolution, Dyfi Bike Park, Cwmdown and BPCC would look to reopen as ride up, or push-up only. There still isn’t the capability to safely shuttle riders in vans at the moment (or perhaps, realistically, at all until there’s a vaccine…). For example, Antur Stiniog has no push or ride up track, so won’t be opening just yet.
As many of these places make their money from uplift fees and food and drink sales, even despite the announcement that the Welsh centres will reopen, many of them still might not be able to break even, so there are plans for an additional ‘Covid fee’ for visitors to try to make up this shortfall. Yes, you could go and ride elsewhere in the country for free, so why not do that instead? For the moment, just having the Welsh centres reopen in any form is going to make many people happy.
Most of the trail centres have had skeleton crews in during lockdown, maintaining trails and in a few cases building, or finishing off new ones, so the hope is that the draw of riding closed, bike-specific trails is going to offset the fact that you’ll probably be riding (or pushing) to the top. Bring a sandwich and make a day of it (unless there’s going to be takeaway options too… there’s no word on that aspect just yet.)
Here is the statement about the opening of the trail centres.
In the absence of specific, detailed guidance to our industry we have come together as a group of riding venues across Wales to co-ordinate our conversations with the Welsh Government and ensure that we re-open our trails as soon as possible whilst minimising risk to riders, our staff, our local communities and the NHS.
For now, all trails remain closed, however a target date has been set of the week commencing the 6July to open trail centres and pedal-up and push-up venues. This is subject to the travel restrictions being lifted by the Welsh Government. For uplift services, it may be a little while longer. Dates and opening hours will be announced by individual sites according to their situation and subject to the Welsh Government guidance. Every venue is different so make sure to follow individual social media and website for information on reopening.
It will be necessary for all trails to operate at a reduced capacity for the foreseeable future and uplifts will be dependent on a venue’s ability to offer safe transport.
Sites will have their own rules depending upon their individual situation but some common measures apply.
Planning Your Visit
- Check government guidance, your ride location website and social media before you leave home.
- If visiting a bike park, complete bookings and admin online before leaving home.
- Clean your clothing and equipment before you set off and when you get home.
- Be self-sufficient. Bring:- tools, first aid kit and personal hand sanitiser. Take your litter home, especially Covid PPE!
Respect Staff and Other Visitors
- If you or anyone you live with displays symptoms, stay at home.
- Social distance at all times please when; riding, queuing, celebrating your radness, and especially around facilities.
- Wash your hands, don’t touch your face. Bring and use hand sanitizer.
- Wearing face masks is mandatory on the uplifts.
- Ride well within your abilities – now isn’t the time to be a hero.
- Protect the NHS; deal with incidents yourselves, try contacting the centre before calling 999. Remember, emergency response may be delayed.
To allow our businesses to operate with smaller numbers of riders it has been necessary for us to jointly agree a Covid-19 supplement. This is an additional sum on top of normal uplift prices and will be applied by all Welsh riding venues for the duration of the restrictions.
- Pedal/push pass and E-bike passes: £3 Covid-19 supplement
- Uplift (When available): £7 Covid-19 supplement
This supplement will not generate profit but will help to mitigate losses and ultimately protect jobs and riding venues. It will be lifted once venues can operate at previous levels. Please note the blanket supplement alone may not be enough for businesses to operate under these restrictions.
More updates to follow via the sites’ social media channels and through www.MBWales.com
What about other Welsh riding?
There are hopes that ‘normal’ non-uplift Welsh trail centres will also be able to open in early July – or at least the trails and car parks, but we’re still waiting for official news on that. And there are equally hopeful signs that some Welsh guiding companies are looking to reopen, but multi-day trips like the Trans Cambrian will be reliant on the accommodation more than anything. We spoke to MTB Wales, who gave us this statement:
“With Wales starting to ease lockdown restrictions from early July onwards, the mountain bike industry is preparing to welcome riders back. As a tour operator, we’re still dependent on hotels/public houses reopening which will be a little while longer. Keeping our thirsty and hungry riders safe and healthy is paramount, and we’re keeping a close eye on Welsh Government guidance, and regular catch ups with our accommodation providers. We’ve got everything crossed for tours to start moving once again in late summer/autumn.”
So the Welsh mountain bike scene is going to be ‘different’ for a good while yet, but with other venues like Nevis Range in Scotland planning to reopen in mid-July, there are good chances that some sort of ‘new normal’ might be in place by the end of the summer.
There is a regularly updated webpage with all news of the opening of the Welsh trail and uplift centres here. https://www.mbwales.com/2020/06/26/welsh-bike-parks-plan-staged-re-opening/
So, are you going to be like the south of England, flocking to the beaches of Bournemouth, keen to get a ride in on some custom-built singletrack as the Welsh centres reopen? Or are you going to be giving bike parks and beer gardens a miss for the moment? We’re keen to hear…