06 Oct Meet the Northampton Bike Park team
Free to use and suitable for both beginners and experienced mountain bikers, it’s not surprising that the new Northampton Bike Park is proving so popular.
Our day-to-day operations are run by local charity Northamptonshire Sport and two new Bike Park Officers have joined the team to work at the Park. The role of the officers is to support visitors, ensuring everybody has a safe and enjoyable visit.
Both officers are experienced riders with a passion for all things mountain biking (MTB). If you’re visiting and need some help or have a question, look out for Paul and Peter, they wear high-vis vests (and big smiles). The officers will also be helping to maintain the trails and do safety checks.
Let’s get started and meet Paul and Peter, the new Northampton Bike Park officers.
When did you start mountain biking and how did you get started?
I first got involved around 1989 when I purchased my first MTB to go touring around Europe. I was gone for six months, travelled around 6500 miles, crossed the Pyrenes twice and went through 6 countries. I met loads of great people, and it was one of the best experiences of my life. When I got home, I rode my bike to work one day, and someone stole it! I then imported a Fisher CR7 from the USA and my mum shouted at me for a week for spending so much money. That’s when the real love affair with mountain biking started.
I bought my first bike at the age of ten for £6, a second-hand Dawes and I was so proud of it and rode it everywhere. Since then, I can’t remember not having a bike. I’ve got road bikes, plural and always owned MTBs for commuting but all inexpensive or second-hand, so not good on proper trails. I was lucky enough to semi-retire about 6 years ago and one of the mid-life crisis purchases was my Vitus, I just loved it!
I tend to go out just with a couple of good friends. I’ve ridden most of the local trails; I love Chicksands; Forest of Dean or FoD to those in the know; and my back garden; practising wheelies in lockdown (I still can’t do them over long distances but blame the small garden…). I’m planning on going further afield after a lot of practice at Northampton Bike Park, of course.
What’s the best thing about MTB and why do you love it?
There are so many things, the places to go, the views, the mates, the shared experiences, the fear, the accomplishments, and the health benefits. Plus, mountain biking doesn’t come without risks, I’ve got to know just how good our hospitals are!
I’m always happy on my bike and I like the challenge MTB offers for my brain and my body.
What kind of bike do you ride?
My stable changes quite a lot but my current bikes are:
- Zerode G2 – downhill bike
- Privateer 161 – enduro bike
- Orbea Rise H30 – ebike
A Vitus Sentier hardtail. But whatever I have it has to be black with dark decals. You’ll never see me on a bright orange bike!
What are your favourite trails at Northampton Bike Park?
This is difficult as it depends on my mood and what I want to accomplish, but for the most part, I think it will have to be between Blue Nunn with Mother Superior and the A45 trails.
That’s easy, I like the skills area best. Closely followed by the Uncle Fester trail, it has me laughing all the way to the end.”
“If you see us at the park and have any questions please ask, or even if you just want a chat, see you on the trails!”
What advice would you give to anyone who wants to try MTB for the first time?
Give it a go!! there is nothing to lose but loads to gain.
Go do it, then practice, practice and practice more. It’ll come.
Have you had any scary moments MTB’ing? What’s your top piece of safety advice to avoid them?
Many scary moments and a few injuries but all worth it!! I don’t think you will find a mountain biker who is blemish free. Top advice – ALWAYS wear a helmet wherever on whenever on your bike, you never know what will happen. It’s always better to have it and not need it than need it and not have it!
Yes, the scariest moment was seeing my mate hit a tree. I thought he’d been hurt badly, but he got up, brushed himself off and rode on. Seriously, always wear a helmet whilst riding.
Other than that, I’d like to give a bit of advice about the Bike Park. Start on the lowest grades and get to know them. Also, get some coaching, none of us are as good as we think. Oh, and finally, always aim for the gap!