It’s all well and good people describing trails – “You kind of go along and then it goes up a bit and round a tree and then swoops back down and crosses a fire road and then goes right but there’s a bit of an awkward bit…” Actually it’s no good at all. Even pictures don’t tell the full story. The best way to find out what they’re like is to ride them, but if they’re a long way away and you’re trying to figure out if they’re worth the trip, you’re a bit stuck.
Enter Phil Lee of MTB-Wales.com. For the last few years he’s been riding Welsh forest trails with a video camera on his head and posting the results on his site. Which is great if you’re broadbanded up, but if you’re stuck on shonky old dial-up then it’s an experience that would have Job pulling his hair out in frustration.
Thankfully twelve of the best clips are now available on a CD. They’re better-quality, bigger, less compressed versions than you’ll find on the site and they all have a rider in them so you can see what’s going on. You’ll soon find yourself swaying in your chair around the corners…
You’ll need a PC (or Mac – Windows Media and QuickTime versions are available) with a CD drive to view the clips, but if you haven’t got one of those you’re probably not reading this so that’s a minor hurdle. We had no problems seeing them, but PC video is a notorious minefield of players, codecs and drivers so you might have to fiddle around a bit.
The full track listing is:Natural trails
- Crug Mawr (Black Mountains Killer Loop)
- Rhiw Trumau (Black Mountains Killer Loop)
- Castle Valley
- Hidden Valley (Penhydd Trail)
- Dead Sheep Gully (Penhydd Trail)
- Sidewinder (Penhydd Trail)
- 373 (The Wall)
- The Wall Descent(The Wall)
- Windy Point (Whites Level)
- High As a Kite – rear facing (Summit Cycles trail)
- Dragon’s Tail (Marin Trail)
- Final Descent (Marin Trail)
- 373 Rear facing (The Wall Trail, Afan Argoed)
- Airstream (Cwmcarn)
- Promo video for the proposed mbr trail at Afan Argoed
Gives you a good idea of what the trails are like.
Might take a tiny bit of faffing to see
We’re not talking international locations, 16mm film and superstar riders here, but this is about the best way to get a flavour for the Welsh forest trails we can think of without actually going. And for the money you can’t really go wrong…