We took a trip to Bike Park Wales last week. It’s in Merthyr Tydfil, South Wales. As a mountain bike fan, Mr Shespoke’s wanted to go there for ages. It was an hour’s drive away and the kids were with us, so for us it would be a day of walking (with buggy), and café stops.

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When we arrived, Mr went off to tackle some of the runs. It was half an hour uphill to get to the top where the downhill runs start from. There are green (easy), Blue (intermediate) Red (advanced) Black (expert) Black and Yellow (don’t even ask…) They have an uplift for an extra 30 ish pounds after paying £7 per rider to get in.

He chose to climb up himself – ‘part of the exercise’ – and off he went.  We settled down to coffee and chocolate cake whilst he did the first run. The café was just the job. Friendly staff, homemade healthy food (cake aside) and spectator friendly. The kids had a run around until Mr reappeared 1 hour later. Plenty of mud on him, no injuries, smiley face- job done. He went off for another run, this time on a different route whilst we took a walk.

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His bike- ‘Bluebayoor’ as Little boy calls it!

Ok, so maybe the buggy wasn’t the best idea to drag around. Little boy can walk a fair way but the lure of carrying often gets too much for him. After asking at the desk about walks from the centre we were told there was one on a track further down the road.

Places like Dalby Forest and LLandegla are more geared up for walkers and cycling widows!  So we found the route, through narrow gates (not so great for a buggy). It took us through a lovely forest, over wooden bridges crossing streams to a big lake. We spotted a grey heron going for a fly, frog spawn, some cool bugs on the water – it would have been perfect for pond dipping. We carried on through the woods, which opened out into a field with ponies in, back through more woods to join the ‘green’ trail of the centre. We scrambled our way quickly on the trail back up to the centre to avoid getting run over by cyclists. A good hour long walk.

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The routes all have distinctive names at BPW

The kids were ready for some ‘proper’ lunch now (cake doesn’t count). Homemade spicy bean soup – recommended by the man on the counter: ‘it’s lush’ – good enough for me. Toastie for little Miss, and Mr was back from another run, so he had the Welsh Dragon Burger, nicely spiced with jalepenos.

After all that was digested Mr did some loops of the Pump trail to the whoops and cheers of delight from the kids.

A great day, beautiful part of the world, Bike Park Wales was a trip worth making – even if I wasn’t cycling!

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