Double-decker bus employed to feed hungry riders at Welsh trail centre

Since the trails opened at Brechfa Forest, near Carmarthen several years ago, visitor numbers have rocketed with the black-graded Raven trail receiving a 12% increase in just the last three months.

Built between 2006 and 2008, the Brechfa forest trails are relatively new when compared with the more established centre’s such as Coed-y-Brenin forest park and Afan forest park, but they are fast gaining an impressive reputation of their own.

While this boost is clearly a sign that mountain bikers are enjoying the trail development, it isn’t without its problems. The rise of visitors has meant a unique solution to providing tea and cake – an essential refueling aid for all mountain bikers – in the shape of an old red Routemaster double-decker bus.

The Drop Off Bus, as it is to be called, is run by Ian Luff, the same chap responsible for the Drop Off Café at Glyncorrwg, South Wales. It can be found in the Brechfa car park every weekend between 10am and 5pm, serving hot meals and snacks.

The upstairs has been converted into an eating area for about 25 people by turning around every other bench and adding a table, while the kitchen and serving area is downstairs.

Dominic O’Connor Robinson, FC Wales local area manager for Carmarthenshire and Pembrokeshire, said: “The new café is very eye-catching and the bikers seem to love it.

“We had over 20,000 visitors last year and it looks like we’ll be getting even more this year – that’s a lot of hungry bikers to feed.”

As well as the black-graded Raven – 18.5km of singletrack and white-knuckle descents through some of the more remote parts of the forest – there is also an easy green graded trail, as well as a blue and red trail to help riders to improve their skills. There’s over 50km of trails in total.

Ian Luff added: “It’s fantastic to see visitor numbers growing in Brechfa. Following one of the worst winters on record and with the economic downturn, it’s bucking the trend and the future looks really bright.”