- Forest of Dean or Cwmcarn?
Evening all. I’m going out on Saturday with some mates from Bristol. They’re cyclists but not a huge amount of real mountain biking experience (unless towpath pootling counts). Question is, do we go to FoD or Cwmcarn? My understanding is that FoD is probably easier on the inexperienced rider, but that unless you know your way around, you can spend a lot of time spinning away on fairly uninspiring stuff. And it may well be wet underfoot? Cwmcarn on the other hand seems to offer more of the white-knuckle variety but may be beyond those of little experience. Would welcome the thoughts of any of you who have experience of either/both. Thanks in advance guys 🙂Posted 8 years ago
i’d take newbies to FOD personally. blue trail is good fun, do it as many times as you feel, then have a crack at some of the dh tracks with those that are feeling into it.Posted 8 years ago
If they’ve only done towpath pootling before, the Cwm Carn climb will put them off Mountain Biking for life! To those of us seasoned riders, it’s quite normal, but Cwm Carn is one massive climb followed by one massive descent.
As for the FOD. Well you can get lost if you don’t know where you’re going indeed. But there are 2 waymarked XC loops there, both of them ideal for getting relative newbies to the sport into it. They’re fun ridden either fast or slow, and appeal to people of all abilities whilst they’re still fresh to you. So you can have a good time there without getting lost. Though there are hundreds of miles of quality singletrack away from the beaten path if you want to find it! Probably best saved for another day though…Posted 8 years ago
Cwmcarn – one massive climb followed by on massive descent – sounds like manna from heaven 😀 hear what you’re saying though about the fact it might be inappropriate for those less used to the rigours of serious mountain biking. FoD it probably is then. Will it be ok underfoot (so to speak) given the slightly inclement weather we’ve recently been experiencing?Posted 8 years ago
My first go on a mtb was at Cwmcarn, red loop but doing alot of the climb on the fireroad. It was hard but I really enjoyed it, despite being in no way ‘hardcore’ & only really riding for transport before that.
The way up was hard work but the top & descent sold me! I am not sure the XC at FOD would do that (& the downhill is still a bit much for me 1 year in). I guess, ultimately, it depends on the individual but I thought a different perspective might help.Posted 8 years ago
Thanks guys, maybe we’ll drive cross the bridge and make last minute decision whether to go left or right. Been youtubing FoD. It looks ok, but the red seems a bit vanilla in truth (I know that video flattens the jumps an the drops etc, but still). To the extent that I’m thinking if its FoD I’ll take the hardtail. Then again the downhills look good, but I’ve heard about Cwmcarn and the fact that its just one huge downhill once you’ve done the climb. Decisions decisions 🙄Posted 8 years ago
The DH tracks at FoD are really good – nothing much that’s particularly steep or intimidating that I saw, but nice fun tracks with a few drops/jumps etc.
The blue was ok, nothing too amazing but quite fun in parts.Posted 8 years ago
Been youtubing FoD. It looks ok, but the red seems a bit vanilla in truth
There’s nothing like a video camera to ruin an otherwise enjoyable activity. The red is short, you can get round it in about 20 minutes or less, but it’s good fun as it’s quite tight singletrack, and it’s quite natural terrain for a man made trail. The blue is notably longer, and more friendly for beginners. If you go to FOD you can do them both comfortably in a couple of hours, then take your pick on what else you want to go and do. I’ve been on a ride at Cwm Carn before with a group that someone had brought along a couple of relative newbies along. Fair to say they weren’t really prepared for it. The Blue and red trails at the FOD are pretty much perfect introductions to mountain biking I’d say, as they’re short enough yet interesting enough for a beginner. Cwm Carn can demoralise unfit people with its climb!Posted 8 years ago
If they’re newbies and from Brizzle, try taking them round the Ashton Court/Leigh Woods trails? Save you a trek and the bridge toll 😉Posted 8 years ago
Yeah was thinking AC/LW made more sense, FOD Verderers trail though is newbie friendly (but still fun at speed for experienced riders). I’ve not been there after the sort of weather we’ve been having recently but it should stand up fairly well apart from the last descent. You need to be reasonably fit to enjoy Cwmcarn IMO.Posted 8 years ago
FoD – Verderers trail, they’ll be grinning from ear to ear…Posted 8 years ago
Thanks guys, FoD it is, though after the rain in the last 24 hours, I suspect it’s going to be a bit sticky 😯Posted 8 years ago
Won’t be sticky but you will get wet and dirtyPosted 8 years ago
The sun is actually shining here at the moment… at the moment!
As Nicknoxx says, prepare to get covered head to toe with wet mud; the only white bits will be your grins 8)Posted 8 years ago
Cwmcarn isn’t one up and one down! It’s like an Escher drawing, one massive up with not much down (so it seems obviously!) however I wouldn’t want to take beginners there as the final descent coudl potentially be a bit hairy, a few rocky bits with a huge drop off to the left which may well freak them out. FoD way better for beginners, if you want them to ever ride again that is.Posted 8 years ago
FOD Verderers trail though is newbie friendly
Ashton ct/ Leigh woods is as beginner friendly as it gets! It’s flat as a pancake!Posted 8 years ago
Thanks for all the advice guys. After much shennanigans getting from B to D (bridge closed, diversion, wrong turn etc) did Verderers yesterday with a few sections of the red thrown in for good measure. Have to say I really enjoyed it. Verderers was a bit neither here nor there for long stretches, but the final bit of it – three descents divided up by very short stretches of fire road – was superb. All in all pleasantly surprised and yes my newbie mates were grinning from ear to ear! Didn’t get a chance to try the downhills but will certainly be back to have a crack at them 😀
EDIT – despite the chronic weather we’ve been having, the trails were in surprisingly good condition. A bit of mud and very little standing water. All in all a credit t the guys that designed/built themPosted 8 years ago
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