I managed to finally get to ride most of the best bits (I think) of the new MTB trails at Gisburn Forest last night. I must say I was impressed. I’d be primed / appetite whetted by a combination of Matthew, some photos by Andy Rushforth, and a blog post by Dave Powell.
I headed up last night because I decided to take a mental break from racing for a couple of weeks. Thursday night’s Preston crit night so I wanted to ‘do something’ other than racing. On a nice clear, calm evening, Gisburn made sense.
The first thing of note was that, despite getting out of my car at 7:50 in the car park, the place was pretty flipping busy with Mountain Bikers. What a joy – it’s a great sign that people are actually using these facilities (even if they’re not really ‘open’ as such yet) in such numbers.
The ‘new’ trails for the most part are of exceptional quality in my opinion. They are so good that the climbs themselves – and there are lots of them – are actually entertaining to ride. (This is probably the weak link at Lee Quarry – the climbs are mainly seen as chores’ and no effort has been put into making them interesting to ride).
They also seem to mesh pretty well with the more established, softer, family oriented trails too. There’s options everywhere and only one big loop of no return, and I’m sure they’ll add a couple of optional diversions to that in time.
At the summit of the forest there’s a lovely rocky drop-off and set of berms, and although they’re rocky, they’re pretty stable to ride. A route for suspension forks really.
There’s a pretty legendary set of berms marked as a black route (though they’re not as technical as lots of the red stuff – they’re just a bit steep in places). They’re very very well engineered and super-smooth to ride. I honestly let out a couple of audible ‘whoop’s as I kicked my way down the switchback berms and got a genuine adreniline rush (though quickly checked behind at the bottom to ensure that no-one had heard this Englishman outwardly enjoying himself).
A great evening out – just making it back in time to see my way to the car. More fun to be had here.
View the route if you’re so inclined here