Something exciting has happened in Northampton. A former golf course has been transformed into a new 40-acre specialist Mountain Bike Park, welcoming cyclists from Northamptonshire and beyond.
The new park has a range of trails, tracks and facilities, whether you’re a family beginning your cycling adventure on balance bikes, a skilled mountain biker and everything in-between.
The site is free to use for all, you only need to pay for car parking which helps cover the maintenance costs of the site. The running of the Bike Park is funded through revenues from the car park and donations. If you can, please donate to the facility to ensure its sustainability.
The Skills Area will contain several short Green and Blue Grade Trail Sections in one condensed area.
The Skills Area will allow less experienced riders to quickly understand which grade of trail is right for them while allowing the rider to also progress their skills and practice features on a higher grade of trail in a safe and controlled environment.
Here we’ve incorporated an easy entry-level Green Trail, with an optional more advanced Green trail, both contain rollers and small berms. We also have a Blue run which has a small roller that leads into a long table top that is perfect for honing your skills as it is very forgiving and it wont matter if you fall short.
All the features within the Skills Area replicate the features found around the main trail network, helping riders to develop skills and progress their abilities through the trail grades in a controlled way.
This has been constructed to offer families and beginner riders a more compelling ride by creating a looping green trail, that uses some of the elevations on offer.
For children and other less able riders, being able to complete a ‘loop’ is a more satisfying experience and provides a more authentic mountain biking experience.
There is a single Green grade climb (Poo Hanger), which is longer in length due to its mellower gradient but then descends back down to the multi-user trail.
By creating a fun and looping Green trail, with a meaningful climb and descent, beginner riders gain a more positive experience and those very new to the sport will feel they have achieved something worthwhile.
On these trails, rollers and grade reversals are located and sized in such a way that they can also be ridden as ‘jump features’ for more advanced riders, giving the trails progression and excitement.
Red graded trails are the type of trails that experienced mountain bikers enjoy riding, as they often sit in the ‘sweet spot’ that requires concentration from riders, but not so much that it becomes intimidating! In other words; they’re a lot of fun.
Dual tracks are great fun to ride. Here riders are able to race one another, side-by-side. To add to the fun, the rollers create a ‘rhythm straight’ for one section of the track, here less experienced riders can simply roll through the features, but more experienced riders would ‘manual’ or ‘jump’ parts of the ‘rhythm straight’, gaining time on riders rolling through.
As a result, the Dual Track will be a great place for slightly more advanced riders to improve quickly as they race their friends down the hill.
From a progression point of view, the Black trails represent the peak of trail progression across the site, both trails feature the most demanding jump and drop features.
All trails are designed with public safety in mind, with gradients, features spacing and trail speed to match the trail grade. Each trail contains a ‘Qualifier’ feature within the first 10 metres of the trail. Each ‘Qualifier’ feature is designed to be as challenging to ride as the most difficult feature on each trail, this give riders an immediate indication of whether their skill level is sufficient to ride the trail.
Mountain bike trails and walking routes have been segregated whenever possible. Visibility is of critical importance where crossing points are concerned, therefore it will be essential that both walkers and riders have a clear line of sight prior to crossing points to ensure that both are aware of one another at all times. Where segregation isn’t possible, trail design will be used to reduce riders speed to a walking pace prior to any crossing points.
And all of this is set in 40 acres of wildlife habitats.