A forestry site in South Wales has gone under the digger to create purpose built mountain bike facilities. Van Road, near Caerphilly town centre has recently undergone work to provide new trials for mountain bikers. The men behind the project are Jason Carpenter, a local trail builder and mountain biker, and Steve Aicheler, owner of local bike shop, Castle bikes.
Van Road has undergone regeneration after re-opening. It was originally operating without FC Wales permission and was deemed unsafe and closed. The site has taken three years to restore and the work was undertaken by a group of volunteers. The facility boasts a number of different BMX style jump trails for different abilities. Jason said:
“Whilst we are not trying to make a forestry commission trail centre we also want to broaden the appeal of the site, let’s keep the main focus on providing the dirt jumps promised to the youngsters as they cannot get to trail centres and only have BMX bikes.”
The trails are graded for different abilities; they have proved very popular with locals, as well as receiving attention from all over the UK. The hope is to host competitions on the site in future, Steve said:
“We have no concrete plans at the moment. We will hopefully be running some competitions and dual races later in the year to raise some money, mainly as we need to cover the insurance, but also to save towards future changes and additions.”
The building work has hit a few problems along the way with funding and weather, but it is nearly complete. The volunteers have set up an agreement with the local forestry commission, who look after the site to ensure that they have up to date Third Party liability insurance at all times. The volunteers recently managed to secure funding for another year of insurance, but rely heavily on donations and support from locals. Despite this, entry to the site is free, to keep it accessible to all ages.Steve said:
“We rely on volunteers to help, Van Road is new, people have compared It unfavourably to other sites but those sites are much older, and have had lots of time spent on getting them right, mostly by volunteers.”
For more information about the site, how to get there, and more information about volunteering, visit Van Rd Trails on Facebook.