Viewing 40 posts - 1 through 40 (of 68 total)
  • Swinley Skills area
  • escrs
    Member

    So was at Swinley on Sunday and the skills area seemed to be very busy

    Couldn’t see any one to one coaching or group coaching, looked more like a free for all

    There was someone in there with a van who could of been in charge

    So is this are now open to just ride for a small fee rather than the £75 coaching sessions?

    I cant see anything online about it now being open to ride outside of coaching lessons

    Wonder if its being run similar to a skatepark where you pay an entrance fee to ride for a few hours at your own risk and sign a wavier form

    Premier Icon tmb467
    Subscriber

    It’s a membership thing.

    £10pm gets you stuff
    £20pm gets you a bit more
    £30pm gets you unlimited some stuff and some of the other stuff

    Swinley Hub

    Premier Icon vinnyeh
    Subscriber

    Swinley Coaching. 

    They weren’t allowed to implement a pay-per-ride model. I’m not sure how I feel about the subscription, but if it’s the only way it can work..

    There’s 5×3 hour blocks a week open to members, and  I guess it’s for coaching the rest of the time. Your subscription level decides how many sessions you get to ride- 2 a month for bronze, unlimited (up to about 20 in reality) for gold.

    Premier Icon weeksy
    Subscriber

    Can’t see when the windows of availability are though.? If they’re weekends that’s great but if they’re at 2pm on a wet Thursday it’s not much use.

    I’d also be curious as to what happens when it’s full of riders…

    Premier Icon weeksy
    Subscriber

    hmmmm. Parent and child option may work for us.

    2 x open sessions per month – only in Family Fun sessions, so you will only be surrounded by other parent/ guardian:youth – this takes place on a Saturday morning. (3 hours per session, 5 per week to choose from)

    escrs
    Member

    That’s a shame, I ride Swinley maybe once every 2-3 months so its not worth me signing up for even the cheapest membership

    Was hoping it would be similar to how B1ke park run their membership scheme for Rogate/Tideworth/Windhill

    I’ve no interest in coaching as I’m pretty confident on the bike and can ride most of the drops and jumps at BPW and I’m a bmx’er so my bike handling skills are pretty good

    Maybe they will change to a free membership and then pay to ride session in the future

    Premier Icon weeksy
    Subscriber

    Right, the dad and boy seem to be 10am on a Saturday… That works for us, so we’re in for the year.

    Booked, paid and sorted.

    Premier Icon akira
    Subscriber

    Not been for a while, where is this skills area and what does it have?

    Premier Icon weeksy
    Subscriber

    scottfitz
    Member

    escrs

    Member

    That’s a shame, I ride Swinley maybe once every 2-3 months so its not worth me signing up for even the cheapest membership

    Was hoping it would be similar to how B1ke park run their membership scheme for Rogate/Tidworth/Windhill

    I’ve no interest in coaching as I’m pretty confident on the bike and can ride most of the drops and jumps at BPW and I’m a bmx’er so my bike handling skills are pretty good

    Maybe they will change to a free membership and then pay to ride session in the future

    same for me but great facilities for locals.

    Premier Icon thisisnotaspoon
    Subscriber

    Not been for a while, where is this skills area and what does it have?

    About 10acres of hillside, its the hill that was originally blue 2, so not massive, but does seem to have crammed every conceivable trail feature into a a variety of runs. Everything from progressive drops and tabletops to 20ft hero ladder drops!

    Im tempted by the 2x a month option.

    I think if you look at it like BPW, Windhill etc then its not the same. If you wanted a one off pay2play days riding for £10 I think you would be disappointed and probably bored by lunchtime riding the same set of jumps all day. Its either going to be somewhere to have a play on bigger features than the red route after a lap of the red/blue, or somewhere to progress for a couple of hours a week in between sporadic visits to BPW. Worth a visit, but not a day out in itself (a bit like Swinley itself).

    For the equivelent of less than £5 a session its a bargain, you cant go to a swimming pool for less than that!

    And that includes some coached group sessions, which is i guess the CE/Insurance requirement, however good you think you are, you cant just sign a worthless disclaimer and go launch yourselff off a ladder and sue them.

    razorrazoo
    Member

    I went along to one of the sessions on Saturday so am able to give some informed insight into this. The sessions were via sign up only via facebook, and intended to get some feedback prior to full opening in the New Year. Intense UK were also there on Saturday with test bikes, I got to ride the mullet Primer for most of the session – very nice bike.

    There will be some maintenance and some minor changes over the next few weeks.

    A run down of the facility:

    Beginners area – 5 x mellow trails with rollers, tiny jumps & drops and berms. Great for novices and kids.

    Dual course (in reality 2 mini dh lines which run pretty parallel. Good fun, no big features.

    2 x drop lines of 3 x drops (I’d say more step down jumps) which get progressively bigger up to approx 6 ft. Run really nicely, just don’t ride them slowly.

    Red jump line – open, but berms were mushy, could be fun.

    Black jump line (was closed as not fully bedded in)

    ‘Enduro’ line – mini DH run. No big features but some nice turns

    Loam line – short loamy run – fun in the wet.

    Hero drops – 8 & 12ft drop (they look bigger) – closed on the day as landings too wet.

    There’s something for everyone from beginners upwards, and it’s pretty progressive. Most useful for those looking to build confidence on trail features which get your wheels in the air.

    Maybe they will change to a free membership and then pay to ride session in the future

    Can’t see this happening. Crown Estates are not in favour as do not want a ‘bike park’, the solution provided is what Tom Reynolds and the team have come up with as a compromise. It must be a ‘coaching’ facility. Whilst they may have wanted pay and play, the landowners do not.

    I’d also be curious as to what happens when it’s full of riders…

    I think they will limit places and have a sign in facility to stop overcrowding and a coach will be onsite at all times. The weekend sessions were fully booked and didn’t feel overcrowded. I imagine initially there will be a big rush and then it will die down as demand levels out / people get bored of riding the same features. Looks like they will also do summer evenings which could be good.

    Im tempted by the 2x a month option.

    This seems the best bet for me, any more and you’ll need to be in there a lot to make the most of it, and there isn’t a huge amount to keep me going back so often as I like to mix up my riding.

    So in conclusion, nothing ground breaking, but a nice facility which is set up to run in the best way possible given the limitations set by the landowner. Kudos to Tristan and Tom for actually getting something set up and I wish them luck.

    Premier Icon thisisnotaspoon
    Subscriber

    but berms were mushy, could be fun.

    Black jump line (was closed as not fully bedded in)

    I think the membership business model should help with this too, the gully used to get trashed as soon as it rained, and since it became a trail center so has deerstalker, babymaker etc. This seems like a good way to keep the summit area running well throughout the year with lower numbers, less brake dragging, less skidding and hopefully acting a bit more responsibly regarding litter if they’re a member of something rather than just a user.

    I’m local, so have been past many times during construction. Well done to them for getting this set up, seems like there are a significant number of people who like the place, despite the usual online detractors.

    Only thing that grinds with me is the pricing – not that its too much, it seems on par with the B1ke places; but the way its phrased.

    Unless I’ve mis-interpreted, you must pay for the year membership – and so I hate that they call it a cost of £10. Its not, its £120, or £10 per month

    I guess it targets people on their £80 (per month) Santa Cruzes showing up in £400 (per month) Audis.

    Looks like they will also do summer evenings which could be good.

    As they’d be fools not to read this thread, may I make a suggestion. If there was a summer only membership for these evenings, I’d be all over it.

    For those 4 months of daylight after work rides, would fit with my schedule perfectly. Committing to 2 weekend days per month for an entire year, sadly not for me.

    razorrazoo
    Member

    Committing to 2 weekend days per month for an entire year, sadly not for me.

    I’m the same with this, as I am not really local I’d struggle to maximise even the lowest value option. May be worth having a chat with Tristan/Tom at the Hub about other options as they seem open to feedback. I really do think that they are trying their best to make it work given the restrictions they have.

    May be worth having a chat with Tristan/Tom at the Hub about other options as they seem open to feedback. I really do think that they are trying their best to make it work given the restrictions they have.

    My plan is to let it run for a few months – then maybe pitch the “summer evenings club” idea come spring.

    Premier Icon DezB
    Subscriber

    Looks cool that. Like B1ke stuff, but with a few extras.
    I only get up to Swinley 2 or 3 times a year, otherwise I’d be all over the hero drops 😆

    Premier Icon jimdubleyou
    Subscriber

    For those 4 months of daylight after work rides, would fit with my schedule perfectly. Committing to 2 weekend days per month for an entire year, sadly not for me.

    £60 of the subscription is the group skills course you get with it, I guess a bit like a gym induction / risk mitigation exercise. If that’s not compulsory for the risk assessment you might be on to something.

    If I lived round the corner, I’d be all over it. But even with just a 30 minute drive / 45 minute train I’d still not use it enough to justify it. I also suspect I’m not quite gnar enough to get the most from it.

    Premier Icon cookeaa
    Subscriber

    Swinley is my nearest trail centre but I was completely unaware of this, I’ve not been there for a few months though and tend not to bother during the winter TBH.
    The whole annual subscription coaching thing doesn’t seem like a terrible deal IMO, I could be tempted by the ‘Bronze’, ‘Silver’ or maybe even the ‘family’ packages (if I could persuade the kids they wanted to do a session or two).

    But I don’t think the term “Summit” should really be applied to anywhere as flat as Swinley 😉 …

    Premier Icon kelron
    Subscriber

    Would like to try it but not prepared to commit to paying for a year.

    Premier Icon DezB
    Subscriber

    anywhere as flat as Swinley

    said the man who is definitely hucking it off the 12 footer..!

    Premier Icon Akers
    Subscriber

    Swinley is the closest place for me to ride, so I ride there often, especially during the winter as the trails hold up remarkably well in the wet, but I’ve still only ridden there 20 times in the last year. Even if I had a play in the Summit area every ride, I still wouldn’t be getting good value from a £120 annual Sub, especially as I’m not interested in a Trail Confidence (beginners?) course included in the price.
    Secondly, There currently appear to be too many unanswered questions…
    When are the open sessions?
    Do you have book in advance?
    What is the subscription cancellation policy?
    Can you carry unused sessions forward to the next month if you are away, or working a shift pattern that doesn’t fit the 5 session times available per week?
    What if the only sessions you can attend are fully booked?
    What if you’re injured and can’t use your open session allocation?
    Will there be different training sessions available in the following years? I doubt many will want to do the same ones every year.
    Details in regard to these type of questions are non existent on the website.
    I’m sure all these will be answered once they’re up and running, and I hope it works out for Tristan and Tom, I know they’ve put a lot of effort in and the Crown Estate have been quite restrictive with the conditions they’ve placed upon them. It’s just a shame I don’t think I’ll be able to use the new facility given the current subscription model.

    deadkenny
    Member

    Beginners area – 5 x mellow trails with rollers, tiny jumps & drops and berms. Great for novices and kids.

    About my limit then 😄

    Premier Icon thisisnotaspoon
    Subscriber

    For those 4 months of daylight after work rides, would fit with my schedule perfectly. Committing to 2 weekend days per month for an entire year, sadly not for me.

    True, but like gym memberships it probably anticipates less than 100% usage. You don’t take up a £30 a month gym membership on the basis that you’ll go 30 times a month therefore good value at £1/session. Which is why gyms offer peak, off-peak and short term memberships too. But the shorter the term and more ‘peak time’ you want to use it, the higher the price .
    conversely the off-peak isn’t half the price even if it’s only available half the time.(special introductory offers designed to suck you in in January when it’s actually really busy are an exception, that’s just market forces).

    Good business sense would dictate that a summer membership would need to cost almost as much as an annual one otherwise you’re just loosing annual customers (that would probably end up visiting <24 times/year anyway).

    Logically if you wanted to make a commercial success of it you would offer off-season short term memberships to keep it full over the winter months.

    And £10/month, however much you moan about it being a £120 annual subscription, I can point to Gyms* near Swinley with higher monthly membership fees than that annual fee!

    *Nirvana in Wokingham, actually not bad VFM when you consider it’s a nice enough place to spend 3 hours in an evening rather than a rushed 40min session queuing for equipment whilst yoofs take selfies in some painted concrete converted warehouse.

    Premier Icon chakaping
    Subscriber

    Looks like a great resource and a fun addition to Swinley, but it’s a shame they’ve been a bit hobbled with that awkward commercial model.

    I suspect it’s too different to how people are used to paying for MTB rides for it to really catch on, but I hope I’m wrong and it proves a success. Bit vague on what you get in terms of coaching input?

    On a tangent – I would probably be interested if there was a subscription based model with a decent instructor near me where I could get one hour in a smallish group once a month or so.

    scottfitz
    Member

    And £10/month, however much you moan about it being a £120 annual subscription, I can point to Gyms* near Swinley with higher monthly membership fees than that annual fee!

    Gym is open 24hours a day. I assume this will be weekends only? or 9 till 5 etc..

    Premier Icon Akers
    Subscriber

    Gym is open 24hours a day. I assume this will be weekends only? or 9 till 5 etc..

    Worse than that, only 5 3hr open sessions a week, one of which is I think is the family session on a Saturday morning.

    Premier Icon thisisnotaspoon
    Subscriber

    Worse than that, only 5 3hr open sessions a week

    null

    £1.66 an hour, this being Swinley the wear on your drivechain will cost more.

    Gym is open 24hours a day

    Yea, but would you really want to spend 3 hours in one of those 24h Gyms?

    Premier Icon weeksy
    Subscriber

    I’m astounded people are not all over this for the money, in terms of value it’s very very tough to beat.

    6 hours for 2 people for £15 a month, that’s insane value, even if we could only do 1 Sat in a month, it’s still only £15 for 3 hours each… £7.50 LOL… for 3 hours… Hell, i’d spend more than that sitting in a costa waiting for the wife to finish shopping.

    Premier Icon MarkyG82
    Subscriber

    I wonder if they would do a £60 a year ‘membership’ which includes the annual skills course to cover the H&S requirements. Then you pay a fee for each session you wish to attend. I imagine quite a few would pay the fee then only go once or twice a year for £10 a go. With non of he extra discounts it would offer a more accessible membership with the flexibility that modern life requires?

    Premier Icon weeksy
    Subscriber

    It’s a good thought for sure Marky, i’m sure if it would have been viable with the land-owners they’d have suggested it. I’m a little sad because even though i’ll have 2 weekends there a month, i won’t be with my usual riding mate for them, i’ll be with my boy… Of course that’s GREAT being with him…. but well, his conversation skills are limited to Xbox and finger boards…. (No, they’re not what some of you are thinking)

    Premier Icon cookeaa
    Subscriber

    I’m astounded people are not all over this for the money, in terms of value it’s very very tough to beat.

    Well TBF (ignoring the cost of a parking ticket if you drive) you’ve still got the entire rest of swinley to go and play in to your hearts content for free, no subscription required, just turn up whenever you like ride as long as you want… it’s only the new “Summit” bit you can’t use for that £10-£30 PCM and some coaching.

    It’s not too hard to kill a couple of hours pissing about on the regular trails, and there’s sufficient jumpy pumpy stuff to keep mortals reasonably entertained…

    I’m in Reading, quite local so it’s not too hard to get over to Swinley, Like others I’m tempted by the ‘Bronze’ membership, but I’m just not sure I’d make full use of it.
    The annual coaching session would be a good bonus but I certainly don’t make 26 visits a year to swinley as it is, even with some fancier bonus Gnarr trails thrown in I’m not sure I’d have the time or inclination, especially during the winter months, to go every couple of weeks, I’d be interested in a deal that struck a balance between more coaching and fewer ‘summit’ sessions perhaps, but then you can’t suit everyone and I’m not sure I’m target market anyway….

    Will they be offering 1 off coaching sessions or is it all via subscription?

    Plus being sat next to the M4 I can head west, £120 is what three, maybe four (frugal) BPW/Cwmcarn/Afan trips? That would do me for my annual Gnarr subscription just as well…

    It’s not a bad deal, but there are other options that might suit people better…

    Premier Icon weeksy
    Subscriber

    Well, BPW for me if i take my lad it’s £100 for the day, that’s assuming we don’t stay over (which we are in a few weeks), sure Afan etc is cheaper, but Swinleys new area offers us somewhere for him to practice and hone his skills in a controlled environment, it gives him lines, jumps, drops etc where he can session time and time again to put into practice what he’s learned himself and at Jedi for example.
    Plus, it’s a bucket load of fun too 🙂

    So for me and him it’s an absolute no-brainer, especially as they’re only allowing family on the Sat mornings which is great as there won’t be any lunatics jumping into him 🙂 well…. hopefully. But that said, he can more than hold his own on a trail anyway, so would be fine. I think he may be the one scaring everyone 😀

    The coaching isn’t a massive appeal to me and him, if he wants more tuition it will likely be done with Jedi anyway, so it’s just the riding that’s for us.

    natrix
    Member

    I wonder what it will be like at night? Full of sneaky riders with lamps, making the trail look like a chain of twinkling fairy lights????

    Premier Icon thisisnotaspoon
    Subscriber

    Will they be offering 1 off coaching sessions or is it all via subscription?

    It’s £95 for 2 hours 121 IIRC, or lower cost group sessions on specific skills.

    stevextc
    Member

    I only get up to Swinley 2 or 3 times a year, otherwise I’d be all over the hero drops

    From what Tom posted on the SFMB FB group you have to earn unlocking of features (sounded like a video game).

    razorrazoo
    Member

    From what Tom posted on the SFMB FB group you have to earn unlocking of features (sounded like a video game).

    To be fair there’s going to be a coach onsite at all sessions, so I don’t think it’s going to be a problem ‘unlocking’ stuff. They let us run all that was open at the weekend without any problem. The only thing they said was ensure that you could do the entire smaller drop line before doing the bigger one (which makes total sense).

    I see this as more a way to stop inexperienced riders totalling themselves like they used to in the jump gully (and still do on Babymaker).

    I also think it’s fair to have to show the required skills to send the big drops, those things are huge (8 & 12 ft is a lot bigger when it’s not been exaggerated by the storyteller). There’s a lot of have-a-go heros on the SFMB FB group who I expect to be slowly backing away making excuses.

    Premier Icon thisisnotaspoon
    Subscriber

    8 & 12 ft is a lot bigger when it’s not been exaggerated by the storyteller

    +1, also it looks like 12ft from the ladder to the lip of the landing, so unless you plan to nosedive onto the dirt directly below the ladder, really you’re landing quite a bit further down the slope! It’s certainly a lot bigger than the drops that used to be up by the reservoir.

    Premier Icon DezB
    Subscriber

    Just popped up in my YT – nice vid showing all the stuff at the skillZ area. Incl. drone footage 🙂

    Premier Icon weeksy
    Subscriber

    Can’t wait for this!!! Excited.

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