All posts by Chris

Happy Birthday 417

It’s been a year (give or take a day or two) since the 417 Bike Park opened it’s doors to the public so we’re going to help them celebrate by repeatedly chucking ourselves down the hill on bikes.

If you haven’t been to the 417 for a while then this is a chance to check out the improvements and additional lines that have been put in. If you’ve never been then it’s a good opportunity to check out your nearest purpose built bike park. A days uplift pass, which also now gives you access to the indoor pump track and dirt jumps barn, costs £33 and can be purchased here. There’s also the option of paying for admission only and either pushing up or buying ‘pay as you go’ uplift tickets.

You can read our original review from our first visit this time last year here.

Our event starts at 10am which is when the uplift starts, probably a good idea to get there a bit early for signing in and faffing.

See y’all down there.

Croft Trail – Springtime Spruce Up

Spring is in the air and it’s time to dig out the shovels and show Croft Trail a little bit of TLC.

We’ll mainly be concentrating on the lowest section of the trail, down where we recently removed the woodwork. We’ll be surfacing that section and putting the finishing touches on the new line down to the area,  jobs we’d hoped to do during last year’s Friday night dig sessions but we ran out of summer! There’s also a few cosmetic repairs to do if we get enough of a team on the day and as always there’s litter picking to be done.

Any and all help is much appreciated wether it’s for the whole day or just half an hour. Tools will be provided but the more the better so if you can bring along shovels/mattocks/wheelbarrows then please do.

We may fire the BBQ up if the weather plays ball and I’ll make sure there’s plenty of tea/coffee to go around.

Spring into action!

Blimey, it’s March already. Seems like only last week we were down at Croft Trail eating mince pies and drinking mulled wine, before you know it the daffodils alongside Great Western Way that spell out ‘Spring has Sprung’ will be up and dusty trails will be the norm. It might not seem like it just now but Spring is well and truly on its way and it’s probably time you gave that bike of yours a bit of TLC!

It can be a costly business keeping things rolling along smoothly after winter, to help you out we have a range of discounts for our club members.

Local bike shop Hargroves offer 12.5% discount on all non sale items throughout the store. Aswell as that there’s the ever popular BOGOF offer on inner tubes and buy one get one half price on Specialized tyres.

If you’re a little further away from Sunny Swindon we also have discounts at Noah’s ArkPedalABikeAwayRide 24/7 and Leisure Lakes.

We also have 20% off on orders over £10 from Fibrax for quality, British made brake pads, cables and spares plus 20% off a range of eco friendly lubes and cleaning fluids from Green Oil.

If you’d like to give your riding wardrobe a bit of a Springtime freshen up we still have our club jerseys available and also have discounts from Broken Riders and Whackjob for ethically sourced riding wear aswell as a range of Tees and hoodies for off the bike wear in our club spreadshirt shop. There’s also discounts with Cotswold outdoor and Go Outdoors for any of your general outdoors equipment needs.

Full details of all of these discounts plus a few more can be found on the ‘club’ or ‘ members only’ pages of the website. Check them out and get ready for Spring.



New Club Member Discount with Green Oil

If you’re reading this then it’s fair to assume you’re a mountain biker or at least have an interest in mountain biking. That being the case you’ll almost definitely have a keen interest in the great outdoors and care about it’s protection. Now we all know that the bicycle is the most environmentally friendly transport known to man. However, chain lube, grease, cleaning products – they all have an impact on our eco system. Enter Green Oil and their eco friendly range of products.

Now I know what you’re thinking, putting the words ‘eco friendly’ in front of any maintenance product is just code for ‘not very good’ right? – Wrong! Green Oil products don’t just work, they work really well! I first discovered their chain lube when I got a sample bottle in a free goody bag at a 24 hour event in 2011 and I’ve been using it ever since.

It’s not just lube though, they also have a great range of environmentally friendly cleaning products. A particular favourite is the chain degreaser jelly. Use it as part of your preferred chain cleaning system and it does the job a treat, diluted with water it makes a litre of bike cleaner to rival any of the more popular products out there.

As a paid up member of MBSWINDON you can now get 20% of their full range of products by using the Web link on our members only page.


New club member discount

Launched in the UK on 10th October 2010 HardnutZ specialise in providing helmets for all your cycling needs aswell as skiing and snowboarding.

All of their helmets are fully certified to the latest European safety standards. The cycling helmets also have an additional safety feature with 19 panels of highly reflective 3M Scotchlite vinyl all around them, providing 360 degree visibility. The 3M is colour coded to match the base colour of the helmet – making them virtually undetectable in daylight but highly reflective under streetlights or car headlights.

Club members can now get a 20% discount on Web site purchases using the discount code in our member’s only area.

Croft Trail Autumn Gathering

Come and spend an autumn Friday evening down at our very own Croft Trail. We’ll have Cotic on site with a range of bikes for you to demo. You’ll need to bring some pedals, photo id and either a credit card or a set of car keys to leave as security before taking a bike out.

What’s that I hear you say? “It’ll be dark then and I don’t have a decent light!” Well have no fear, the guys from Hargroves cycles will also be on site with a full range of lights for you to demo too.

To top it all off we’ll have the BBQ fired up and there’ll be free mulled cider for all.

International take a kid mountain biking day


1st October is ‘international take a kid mountain biking day’ (yes, it is a real thing! Click for details). To celebrate this there’ll be a family friendly ride around Croft Trail for all you parents to get out and ride mountain bikes with your kids and other like-minded folk.

We’ll meet from 10am for a few leisurely laps at a child friendly pace and you’ll be able to ride red or blue routes and do as many laps as you wish, just don’t be surprised if the kids riding skills put us all to shame.

This is a great excuse to get out riding with your kids, feel free to bring a picnic and make it a fun family day out.

**********IMPORTANT NOTICE********


Trail Building Update

Last year we started a programme of Friday night build sessions throughout the summer. They worked really well and we got a lot done with a small team, so much so we decide to do the same this year.

Those of you that are regular visitors to the trail will have noticed the new optional red line that connects the blue to the red over by the motorway. We built a ‘double’ and went further down the hill banking round at the bottom with a new berm. This meant that there might be some conflict between lines so to reduce this we installed a stepped up rock garden on the existing red line to reduce rider speed where the two lines meet.



Remember those rocks that were dropped off on site back in March? We moved them over to the same area and installed a new rock garden which now gives us multiple ride options on that section, the theory being that you can now ride 4 or 5 laps whithout riding the same lap twice. To keep the existing red line interesting we’ve also built another, slightly smaller double.


Back in March we removed the first woodwork section at the lowest part of the trail as it had become dangerous. We’d long since grown frustrated with the line down to that section as it had never worked quite as well as we’d hoped. We spent a lot of time walking the area looking for an alternative and eventually settled on a plan. This would entail a change of direction at the blue/red split, a new berm and hopefully swooping the line in and out of the ditch at the bottom. We made a start on this in April, building the back of the berm in timber so as to reduce the amount of dirt needing to be shifted. An exploratory bit of line cutting gave us a bit of a problem in that we couldn’t take the line through the ditch where we’d wanted to. A quick re think saw us come up with an alternative line and after digging and test riding it we think it works really well.

20160610_194331 20160610_194406 20160610_194454 20160911_153431 20160911_153514We’re currently surfacing this section and hope to have it officially open within the next month.

Kudos to Jez, Gary, and John for regularly turning up for the Friday night dig sessions and to Jason and Guy for turning up when they could.

Our Friday night sessions will continue until the end of October, these aren’t every week though so keep an eye on Facebook for announcements if you want to get involved. We’ll also be having a more traditional Weekend build day soon so look out for that too.

Exmoor: Up the Dunkery and Round the Horner

Exmoor is recognised as one of the best and most challenging off-road cycling destinations in the UK. The combination of a beautiful and varied landscape and an excellent network of bridleways, lanes and other permitted tracks provide ample opportunity for cyclists to enjoy some fantastic rides.

This ride promises to include some of the finest descents available in Exmoor national park.  It starts with a long tarmac climb, followed by a short ascent across the moor to Dunkery beacon, the highest point in Exmoor.  If the weather is on our side it is possible to see across the Bristol Channel to Wales as well as spectacular views across Exmoor national park.  We then descend on a mixture of moorland and rocky tracks to the village of Exford where we will stop for lunch in one of the pubs or tea rooms.  Post lunch is a climb along tracks back up to Dunkery beacon.  From there follows an awesome 4.5km rocky descent with loose rocks to keep you on your toes and a grin on your face.  A sharp left turn is followed by a singletrack climb, then a bit of tarmac (And a deceptively deep Ford) and grassy climb which leads to another awesome steep and twisty descent on loose rock.  The final part is downhill through Horner Woods, following the river back to the car park.


Who is it suitable for: – This ride does cover a long distance and has a lot of climbing so is not a “novice friendly” ride.  That said, the intention is to take it easy up the climbs and have plenty of stops to catch your breath.  The ride leader is a bit of a plodder and as always no one will be left behind.  The descending is of a similar technicality to a Red graded trail center.


What to bring:  Change for the carpark. Cash for the tea room / Pub or a packed lunch. Plenty of fluid and snacks as we will be out most of the day. As always bring a spare tube and repair kit.  Waterproof Jacket is a good idea as it has been known to rain in Exmoor.