News and Blog

Merthyr might be the new Meribel one day… The mountain biking in South Wales is nipping at Europe’s heels!

Posted: 9 May 2013

The sun is now shining again and thoughts of the Baltic winter we’ve had are now behind us (we hope!). However, whilst on his annual ski trip, James from The Cognation team was struck by how Wales is now catching up with the Europe, possibly because of the amount of snow we’ve had and definitely in terms of awesome MTB trails:

“We’ve heard about surfers trying out mountain biking and immediately recognise how participation in either of these activities leaves you with a similar endorphin buzz (which we love and are all quite addicted to!).

The same similarities can be spotted when making a comparison between skiing, snowboarding and mountain biking.  Both activities require certain specialist equipment; boots, skis and poles…bike, helmet and gloves.  Skiing involves getting to the top of a mountain and blasting down; biking involves riding to the top of a mountain (or uplift for the lazy ones!) and smashing it down.  Skiing and Mountain Biking are both close relatives of speed, balance and confidence.

cognation in the french alps enjoying some skiing
Is that the Afan Valley?

Now we’ll leave the activities on the slopes (or on the trails) and focus a little more on the industry infrastructure itself.

Visit Meribel in March and you’ll be exposed to chalets, pizza on the slopes, après ski, ski lessons, ski hosts (controversial at the moment) and plenty of vin chaud (mulled wine).

Visit the Valleys of South Wales in May and there are lodges, bunkhouses, pie and chips, mountain bike instructors, group visits and plenty of post riding beer.

The mountain bike industry in Wales is much younger and less developed than the ski industry abroad but it is certainly evolving and moving forward.  Many mountain bikers are already aware of what ski resorts  can offer during the summer months.

However, Wales is becoming a top competitor in the market and is now known worldwide throughout the mountain bike community.  The testing trails, dramatic landscape and easy accessible location for many make South Wales a top biking destination.

It is fundamental that we keep moving forward, through Cognation we have created a more diverse range of trails and will continue to do so especially with the opening of Bike Park Wales in September. 

A lesson learnt from the Ski resorts in France is that as well as developments on the ground, private enterprise and innovation is equally important.  There is still a great deal of potential to set up more businesses linked to the growing mountain bike industry in Wales.”

Over the last few years we have experienced tremendous growth in the mountain bike industry in South Wales; accommodation providers, bike shops  and mountain bike guides have all succeeded within the industry.  However, there is always potential for more and if you have any great idea feel free to get in touch with the Cognation team.

James from Cognation spreading the word about South Wales MTB whilst enjoying the snow!