GBU - THE REBUILD OF A CLASSIC
Updated: Jul 17
If you ride mountain bikes in the UK, especially the South Wales or Midlands area, then you would have more than likely ridden at or heard of Pedal A Bike Away. This nifty trail center is based in the Forest Of Dean and a stones throw from the Welsh boarder. We popped by to check out whats new.
When you visit don't expect to find a big fancy dig team. All of the trails here are maintained by very hard working volunteers. So next time you ride this place just think about that. None of these tracks would be here without some good guys giving up their time to provide and maintain a great range of trails. However sometimes the job is just to large for these guys to undertake by themselves, so the years fundraising comes into play and some outside help is called in. This time the job in hand was to totally revamp the flagship Downhill trail, GBU.
What is GBU?
This three dot decent is the Forest of Deans crown jewel. From jumps and drops to roots and high speed turns, it really has the lot. But after it’s original construction almost ten years ago, it was getting a little tired and beaten up to a point that some guys with some shovels could not really bring it back. Rowan Sorrel from Back On Track was drafted in to come and scope out the job. This being the trail that Pedal A Bike Away wants to shout about, the plan was put in place to not only revamp existing features but to create new and exciting ones.
Starting from the top things are relatively the same. With all of the jumps being updated and a few minor changes to the direction that they send you. These look super fun to start the trail, not too big, but large enough that if you aren’t clearing them you should be riding a different trail. A good qualifier. After this, just before you cross the first fire road, things get a little more interesting. The table top that many will know from starting Corkscrew races off has been made larger and then the Double Double, or manual… or even Quad if you are tigger has had a complete rebuild. It’s now the correct size.
Moving on to some new parts. The straight that was relatively bland before and took you along side Corkscrew has now been littered with jumps. And great ones at that! No more sitting down chilling out before the bottom section. It’s just fun and flow all the way. There has also been the addition of a push up path placed along side these jumps. The guys know what people want. To hit jumps over and over without the slog of the whole push up. This makes things quicker but far safer for everyone involved.
Getting onto the bottom section, the run into GBUs well known slab drop has had some real love, with some new little stones to scrub off and proper jumps being put where little lips were. This sets you up into the slab nicely. If that’s not your cup of tea though don’t fear. The trail volunteers have cleared up a great bit of track that peals off to the right of that section and it takes you around the drops and back into the very end.
The jumps after the third crossing are all the same really just had the digger reshape certain aspects of them and clean up the corners that needed to be fixed. It was always one of the best parts so that’s nice to see.
The big jumps come in at the very end though. Where before there was an odd berm section with jumps over the top now there are just some hefty jumps. Everything from the setup gap has been improved and they look like they will run as sweet as a nut. We can’t wait to get some rubber down to test out the new creation but this will have to wait until the 25th for us to play but everyone else can have a blast at the launch on the 21st July.
Keeping You On Course
One of the big improvements to the overall running of the track is the signage and fencing that has been put up to keep things running smoothly. With road crossings clearly marked, push up tracks in place and fencing to stop them gits cutting the track to get that little bit quicker things really are looking professional at the Forest of Dean.
Plans For The Future
Currently there are plans to revamp Corkscrew, another loved track here. It is great to seem some focus on the downhill side of Pedal A Bike Away as this drags the people in from all over the county. Making the tracks even better will just improve the centre's stake in the downhill and enduro side of the sport.
There is also some restoration work being carried out on Launch Pad as some parts have become worn from the sheer amount of traffic going down it. A new red trail for the guys that aren’t Downhill focused really does show the amount of work not only being put in here but that’s has gone into the fundraising and planning from this band of people giving up time just for the love of the sport!
The Dean Trail Volunteers
Throughout the time that I have been visiting Pedal A Bike Away the Trails have all been maintained And built by the Dean Trail Volunteers Alan Grist being one of the longer standing members. The efforts that these guys go to, to keep the trails that we all ride is just outstanding. This rebuild cost is in excess of £20,000 so enjoy it and think of the work involved by all when you smash out laps.
WORDS AND PHOTOS - IEUAN WILLIAMS