Inspired by the Guardian’s recent A to Z of cycling, we thought we should do the same for Bristol’s bike scene. There’s a lot to celebrate here, so it cannot be beyond us to come up with 26 things that we want to blather about. Of course it’ll be partial and you might disagree, but that’s part of the fun. Feel free to shower us with virtual bile on Twitter or Facebook if you feel that strongly about it.
So, without further ado, A is for Architrail.
What’s that, you ask? The correct question is ‘Who’s that?’, we reply. We then go on to say that Architrail is a Bristol-based company that designs and builds mountain bike trails of every kind. If you’ve ridden Ashton Court or Leigh Woods since they were re-vamped a couple of summers ago (maybe three?) then you’re familiar with their work, even if you didn’t know it. They’ve done a load of other stuff around Bristol too, including the Stockwood and Brunel Way pump tracks.
Ashton Court (now officially known as the Nova trail – Avon backwards, y’see?) in particular seemed to divide opinion when the new trail was completed. There were a fair few people who complained that it was too man-made, that all the fun had been taken out of it by relatively smooth surfacing and removal of the rockier and rootier sections. Remember what the top quarry section used to be like? Juddery!
But I (Rob) for one am a complete fan of the trail in its current incarnation. Perhaps because I’m not that good a mountain biker. But that’s entirely the point. There’s still loads of stuff within a couple of miles of Ashton Court which is a lot more challenging. Stuff that we’ll talk about in a later post. But it’s good to have something on the city’s doorstep which is rideable by beginners, kids and the generally talentless. We all started somewhere, didn’t we? And Architrail’s great achievement at Ashton Court is that even though the trail is beginner-friendly, you can make it challenging by riding fast.
So should you ever find yourself in the happy position of needing an MTB trail designed and built, Architrail should be your go-to guys. (And girls? Dunno actually.) Chapeau! It is a wonderful thing to have so much MTBing within a short ride of the city centre, so we should be appreciative of the people who provide it: Architrail among them.