It had been a year ago that, when I was still a young flower of 42, that I took a bike onto a chairlift for the first time. As a rather passionate mountain biker with a strong predilection for downhill, I already knew about the existence and steady growth of bikeparks in Europe. More and more winter sports areas convert themselves into MTB paradises in the summer. But I had never been to one. My first meters would not be in Europe but in Canada, where the Downhill MTB Walhalla Whistler Blackcomb revealed itself to me.
The four hours that I spent on those trails are still the most fun I’ve ever had on a MTB. And since then I have been busy organizing a next trip to a bike park with wanting to ride as much as possible, but also to share the experience with others.
Especially because many people have the impression that bike parks are only suitable for young wild guys with half a death wish tail whipping through the trees and bar dragging the hell out of bermless corners. There are a number of those, but as often is the case, there are many more, much lesser gods, like me (and probably you) who can also have mountains fun.
On relaxed flow trails you can really ease into the whole downhill scene, and with the trails of different levels you can choose exactly the level that you like, or see where you want to grow as a rider. Do make sure you are wearing really good protection, a full-facemask helmet, at least knee protectors, where shin protection if you ride with flat pedals are quite advisable and a body protector is also a good idea.
So, with four “middle-aged men”, all over forty, me and GearLimits partner Hayco, and two GearLimits friends, went to Winterberg with four bikes. Known by many winter sports enthusiasts, Bikepark Winterberg is only a three-hour drive from Utrecht. We rode there for more than one and a half days with an overnight stay at Hostel Erlebnisberg Kappe. It’s a hostel close to the Bikepark that brought back warm memories of my younger years in which I frequented youth hostels. great place to stay!
We're calling it "4 Middle-Aged men at a Bike Park." Never too old to ride. Great first half day at @bikeparkwinterberg with @joest_hoekstra and @jimmyfock. Tomorrow full day with a lot of filming to be done. Reviews coming up and of course our Old Men video. Very happy with the bikes by @iamspecialized @trekbikes @cube.bikes.official @canyon #bikepark #bike #park #downhill #downhillmtb #downhillmountainbiking #bike #bikes #bikestagram #bikepark #riding #livetoride #theoutbound #outdoorlife #outdooradventures #outdoors #trail #trails #roadtrippin #roadtrip #stoked #getoutside #summer #keepitwild #staywild
Besides the opportunity to show how much fun a BikePark can be, also for men of our age, it was a great opportunity to review bikes. You can rent downhill bikes at the BikePark, but with an enduro bike, a full suspension with a travel starting at about 140 mm, you can easily ride a BikePark, so we can conclude.
In fact, if it is your first time, the light and more agile enduro bikes are actually more suitable than the heavier and less agile downhillers. And an extra advantage is that with an Enduro bike you can actually ride less radical and technical, even XC, trails.
Voila, four bikes from Canyon, Cube, Specialized and Trek (reviews of the bikes are upcoming), four men, two of which were Bike Park first timers. And two days of incredibly cool riding. Hopefully it will inspire other guys and girls like us to try out a new and different MTB discipline. However, a warning beforehand, after those first meters on a BikePark flow trail, you won’t want anything else.