Dalby Bike Barn

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Mountain BikingBeing back in my home town of Scarborough (in the UK) is always a mix of emotions, seeing relatives and catching up with long lost friends as well as visiting places I haven't been to since I was young.

This trip was to be a little different though as I had also allowed some time for a days mountain biking in Dalby forest.

 

 

Now, I am no stranger to the forest and some of its trails although it has been a few years, more than I care to remember. So the plan was starting to take shape, do I take my bike from Spain? This was discounted early as it's a load of hassle and expense for just one day and after a discussion with my lovely wife it became apparent that one day was all I would get away with. Dads old Giant was an option but then it would have to be transported to the forest or I could add a 30 mile round trip before any of the fun was to begin.

The other alternative was to hire a bike, something I have never done apart from the odd tourist bike in Seville and such places where you pay by the hour and take pot luck as to the state of the bikes (usually good I hasten to add).

With a little bit of web searching Dalby Bike Barn was found, located between the village of Low Dalby and the Dalby Visitors Center it was ideal for my needs with a good range of hire bikes available and trails aplenty starting from outside the door plus it was run in association with Pace Cycles which I remembered from my days working in the Pickering area years before.

We made a quick trip out to Dalby early in the week and were impressed with the set up and helpful staff. After a brief discussion a day was set and a bike chosen, I was in luck, a Pace RC325.5 EXC was available in my size for me to use.

Size is usually a problem as I am 5ft 11inch and fall between medium and large with different people recommending one or the other. Some L's feel too big and some M's feel too small, it's a case of trial and error the medium Pace felt about perfect.

On the designated day I arrived at the car park full of beans and ready to go if a little nervous, during our previous trip we had picked up trail maps for walking and riding, with my wife, son and two of his cousins choosing to walk some of the trails and meet me for a picnic lunch at roughly the halfway stage of my route. I had chosen to take the red route, throwing in some of the black route features for good measure. Unfortunately as I had never visited a colour coded or any other official Trail Centre before I had very little to go on, but it sounded like a good idea and would give me enough distance to enjoy myself.

The staff at the centre were very organised dispensing with the paperwork in just a couple of minutes and setting the bike up for me. It was a nice experience having someone else checking brakes, tyres, gear change and such whilst I looked on. The staff are full of friendly advice and will point you in the right direction and make suggestions making everything as easy as possible.

And we are off, the first part of the route is a series of switchbacks to gain height up the side of the valley, never my favourite but the Pace made light work of it and it was good to be back in the forest. Those that know the area will see that the first couple of km's are missing from the GPS map, this was due to a sluggish response from the GPS on a thankfully overcast day.

The route winds its way up and over ridges down gullies and over the occasional jump, to make sure you are paying attention. Some of the longer climbs are on fire roads which although a bit boring are easily dispensed with enabling you to get on with the fun bits quicker.

Within a reasonable amount of time I was at Dixon's Hollow, a purpose built skills area and 4x track, after a couple of laps, it would be rude not to after all, I headed out on the World Cup loop with it's black sections. This was great fun with some nice purpose built rock features and a couple of great downhill sections. Discretion is the better part of valour I believe the saying goes and on one particularly rooty downhill section I decided to walk, flying home with broken bits was definitely not on the cards.

After a fast lap, well fast for me, it was back onto the red route some of which I had just covered, this time sticking mostly to the red sections apart from the really fun bits and on towards Bickly car park and my much needed lunch stop. After a couple of sarnies and a drink of juice, I was off again the return section was mostly faster than the outward half as you are generally heading back down to Low Dalby, that's not to say there are no uphill sections but they are interspersed with some great flowing singletrack. One particular fast section had a couple of jumps part way along that had me laughing like a school kid.

Uphill and down a couple more times then the last twisty section back to the car park and Dalby Bike Barn, where I reluctantly handed back the awesome Pace that I had spent the day with.  What a stunning bike, made for trails like these.

A big thank you must go to Sophie and the rest of the staff at Dalby Bike Barn for making my day as simple and easy as possible. Thanks also to the locals who pointed me in the right direction when I thought I had gone wrong. All in all a great day and a superb first trail centre, hire bike experience.

 

Click on the image below to see the route on Sports-Tracker.com

 


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