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Mike Tong tied up in his work.

Mike Tong tied up in his work.

Build It – Ride It! 

This event was held on Wednesday 29th October in the wooded area behind the main car park in Machynlleth (in between the Rugby Club & Leisure Centre).

It was organised by Nikki Taylor, Head Coach of Dreigiau Coed y Brenin Dragons Family Mountain Bike Club, in association with Welsh Cycling represented by Mike Tong.

The fun started at 10.30 as kids ranging from the ages of 3 to 12 came to design and set up a mountain bike skills trail through a small wooded area.

The aim of the event was to introduce youngsters to the fun of mountain biking in a safe and controlled environment, getting them involved in the laying out of the course and culminating in several time trials to encourage participation and develop confidence.

First of all, the area had to be swept and cleared of any hazards – kids have the best eyesight and were soon pointing out bits of broken glass and other debris for the adults to remove.  Then followed a spirited discussion over the route the cycle trail should take, making the best of the local features, tight turns and small jumps and of course, avoiding all the big trees!  This was then marked out with tape, poles and direction arrows and when completed, the kids were allowed to “walk” the course to get a feel for it.  In the mean time, all those who had registered for the time trials (25 in total) were split into age groups: 10-12s, 8-9s, 6-7s and 5 & under.

Although the youngsters were quite competitive, they all recognised the day was about having fun – it was great to see them all supporting one another and there was lots of encouraging shouts and cheers!  In between trials, several kids got together to compare notes and discuss some of the more technical aspects of the short course, with the more experienced ones offering tips and suggestions to those just starting out.  Lots of keen eyes were kept on the leader board as some real stars started to emerge.

After each age group had been timed 3 times around the track, the overall winners were declared, but everyone agreed that it had been a great learning experience and all the youngsters were winners for getting involved and taking part!  A thoroughly great day out was had by all – the weather stayed dry, although a little chilly, but ensured a firm track was maintained under wheel.  All that remained was to take the course down and restore the woodland to how it was before – the lack of litter more than compensated for the tyre tracks left behind!

Our thanks go out to Nikki Taylor and Mike Tong, along with the parents that stayed to help out and ensure a highly successful event.  Special thanks also goes to Bro-Ddyfi leisure centre for publisizing the event, taking pre- bookings and provided a table on the day.

Report by D. Ames

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