This week I had the pleasure of visiting Leeds Urban Bike Park for the first time. I had heard quite a lot about this venue since it opened and had been meaning to get across all summer. Here’s the Duck Duck Goose mini review…
Once a Golf course in south Leeds, the City Council decided that it would be better suited to becoming something that more of the local residents, and those from further afield would actually make use of, and with a little help from a Sport England grant, and from British Cycling, the plans turned into reality, and Leeds Urban Bike Park opened for business in 2018.
At present there are a whole host of courses and tracks to suit most needs. Suffice to say if you want mountains or an all day XC trek this isn’t the place to get it – it’s a bike park after all.
If you do however want to spend a day with an ear to ear grin, in a place where everyone is catered for from the hardcore racer to the youngest of mini rippers, then look no further.
We started our day at lunchtime in the busy, friendly and very reasonably priced cafe, with kids lunch boxes for £3.50, hot options such as ciabattas or jacket potatoes, as well as some obligatory cakes which were top notch.
After cramming that in as fast as possible medium and large mini-DDG’s were champing at the bit to try the pump track. As it was pretty busy at this point they had a quick blast then we headed round the corner to check out the ‘Blue’ trail.
The Blue has been cleverly designed with a flat top section in a loop with some berms and rollers to get the feel for them on, before allowing more confident riders to head off down the rest of the second loop which heads down the hill (not too steep) for some more testing sections. This bit was trickier for a 5 and 7 year old (need to maintain speed over the bumps and rollers to get over them), but no spills were had, and we made it back to the top for some more time on the flat loop to keep progressing.
After that they wanted to try the launch chute for the Red loop, which despite I think being a little trickier that the Blue, they actually spent absolutely ages on, sessioning the section and getting (a tiny bit) faster each time on the first two jumps and first big berm.
After a snack at the cafe we then took on the pump track which was nice and quiet by that point. It’s located right outside the cafe courtyard and lots of parents were based there watching on. There had been everything from a 2 year old on a balance bike, to teens on mountain bikes, to a seasoned female BMX racer, to a full suspension E-Bike rider on here through the day, and with its testing rollers, concrete berms and concrete drop ins/chutes it definitely offers something for everyone.
While the youngsters took it at their own pace I spent ages trying to master the track, which is pretty tricky to keep your speed up on, especially on my trail bike and lack of skills!
Behind the pump track lays a full blown BMX track with start gate, and sizeble ‘proper’ jumps throughout, with a choice of jump lines as you progress round. Even on here, lots of youngish riders, male and female were sessioning the track, and as long as you can carry some speed on the takeoffs you could ride the whole thing without taking off at all if you really wanted. It’s pretty safe from that point of view.
By 5pm it was starting to get dark, and I was literally having to drag the offspring away! We could have spent many more hours on the whole range of courses – there’s loads to do in a really small footprint.
Overall we could not have been more impressed. All three of us were buzzing all the way home, and we can’t wait to return. All the facilities are fantastic – shop, cafe, toilets, the staff were all friendly, and it had a nice atmosphere with people from all different disciplines and backgrounds getting involved from what we could see. It was recently shortlisted for Singletrack Magazine’s Best Trail Centre Award, and I can see why… There were half term kids camps taking place, Triathlon camps in the offiing, and lots of plans for the future by the sounds of it talking to staff.
Oh and by the way, it’s free to use. Yes, free, not even a parking charge at the moment.
I didn’t get to ride the full Red (with Black bits) forest loop which looks quite fast, swoopy, and quite technical in places from videos I have seen, so I look forward to that one. There’s also a very long jump line which I watched some experienced riders take on, and it looks pretty testing. You pick up speed mega quickly so it’s definitely one for the confident riders.
Medium Mini-DDG wrote his own review today completely unprompted (!) so get his take here:
One day I went to a bike park and i went on the pump track, and when i went on the pump track, I had to go over lots and lots of little and big bumps. I also went on the blue track which was very fun. At the start of the red track there was a big down hill which was a little scary to go down at first.
They had an amazing café there that sells freshly made food. I had a big choc chip cookie with a banana milkshake, the day was amazing!