Mountain Bike Meetup, or MTBMeetup, seems such a long time ago now. To tell you the truth, I’d almost forgot I’d intended to write a bit about it until I saw one of their Twitter posts about it earlier this week.
June is supposed to hold lovely, sunny weather in store. Typically, it was hammered down on our journey to Wales. What should’ve taken about 3 and a half hours ended up taking almost 5 when we took into account the weather, roadworks along the motorway and the fact I’d borrowed a van so we could comfortably transport two bikes. Comfort is apparently a very subjective word – the van lacked air conditioning, had no radio, drove with the heaviest clutch imaginable and didn’t have any view to the blindspots.
Nevertheless, I managed to get George and I to Wales in one piece. We’d opted to stay on the Llyn Rhys campsite again after a pleasant stay in 2016. Located a mile or two from the Llandegla trails, it seemed to make sense to pitch up there and ride in. The silver lining of arriving so late on the Friday night was that we missed the evening ride, which apparently was an absolute mud bath and not something that either of us would’ve enjoyed after a full day of work. Instead, we were greeted with a dry spell where we quickly got the tents up.
Saturday was the main event. MTBMeetup is well known for being a totally free event but I really can’t overstate how much it felt like an event that should’ve cost thousands of pounds to put on. Rad8, Alpkit, Broken Riders, Vee Tyres and Sixth Element were there just to name a few. Kirby Londsdale brewery put on free beer all day on a pour yourself a pint basis for those that wanted a tipple and the cafe had baked plenty of cake for all. The lunchtime raffle was heaving as always and had some amazing prizes to be won from the sponsors of the event. It really is an amazing thing to see so much available without having to pay for a ticket.
In 2016 there was the opportunity to demo some Yeti bikes, and this year they had Bird free for a spin. Neither George or I opted to demo though, instead taking our new bikes for their first taste of the One Planet dirt. The initial 3 mile climb to reach the trails seemed to be somewhat easier than in 2016 which was something to be happy about. The trails rode well and we had a blast throughout the day. With Dec, from Dirt Junkiez, leading the way, we soaked in some tough climbs and smile-generating downs before heading back to the campsite.
The great thing about MTBMeetup, aside from the fact it’s free, full of awesome and at some awesome trails, is that it’s all about bringing people together. Socialising at the campsite afterwards was perhaps my favourite thing this year. Having all the folk we’ve met through bikes come and sit with us, exchanging stories of bikes was great fun. It got even better when we headed to the pub to talk more bikes with some awesome folks who now mostly call themselves the No Name Syndicate.
Unfortunately, on Sunday this year we didn’t ride. The Sunday is always a more relaxed, focus on the riding, sort of day. Instead, we took the metal box with wheels and the bikes back home.
2018’s MTBMeetup looks set to be as good as the last two we’ve been to, if not better. Si and the rest of the team do an amazing job and the fact that the money raised from the raffle goes to the air ambulance is the icing on the cake. We look forward to meeting even more of you there next time, and we’ll be sure to shred on Sunday. Maybe we should organise one huge train…