On Sunday 28th February the E-Bikeshop Owners Club visited Bedgebury Forest Trail Center for the first time on an action packed day of riding across the Kent singletrack & XC.
We all met in the main car park for 10:30am and after a quick setup on the bikes and a ride brief we set off. A couple of the owners club members had arrived early and already got a lap in before we set off, which was good because we could decide on which route to take.
It was nice to see some new faces on this ride too, with some owners not long owning their new electric bikes so excited to get out and explore to put their new steeds through their paces and of course mingle with other eBikers. We all share the same passion!
We decided to cut out the Blue section as this was mainly a family route consisting of flat fire roads, so we set off and after a short ride up a couple of tracks we were onto the red. A new member to the club was able to offer some guidance as this was his local trail center, so it was nice to be able to have someone confirm the routes etc, made day easier, thanks!
It's noticeable that Bedgebury has spent some money on restoring the trails and it's clear a lot of hard work has gone into the routes. On the first bit of singletrack we entered their was fast rolling berms, a rock garden and short switchbacks. This set the pace for the day. Fun!
The red route is approx 13km (8 miles), there is also a Black section that leads off the Red as you cross a fire road, we decided that we'd do the standard Red trail once, then go round and do it again to include some of the Black sections the second time round.
Halfway round the Red it was noticeable that although the forest is a fairly small place and not hugely hilly, the actual terrain / gradients were actually pretty tiring, the routes plotted through the trees were marked out well with plenty of signposts and trail start and end checkpoints. The guys have done a great job reforming this trail center.
Some trails had man made rock gardens within them, some downhill, some flatter and some were on gradient. The uphill rock gardens were surprisingly tricky as they zapped most of your energy, fortunately we all had the extra grunt of the eBikes to help out!
After a lap of the Red we had a little break to natter and chill and then set off for another lap. First we followed some directions to the 'Bike Park' but unfortunately on arrival it's clear it was no longer had had been flattened some time ago. Fortunately we had the extended Black sections to think about and keep the excitement flowing. At one point Ken was lagging behind and as we waited decided to show off his wheelie skills, at this point (when everyone was watching) he decided to pop a wheelie straight off the side of the trail and ended up.. You guessed it spilled on the floor. More practice next time ken! The Black sections were not that hard to be fair. Albeit the big rock entrances and a few smallish drops here and there, everyone enjoyed them!
A few places on the red were really flowy with high berms and switchbacks, this was real fun to blast down and at one point we had a massive flowing train from top to bottom consisting of about 15 riders.
It's worth noting we took a avid MTB'r & non eBiker out with us on this ride. His impression before getting on the bike was the typical "your all cheats" (never ridden and eBike mentality) after 5 hours of riding his words were:
Once dialed in, you're tearing up the trails. Great fun, grinning from ear to ear!
Finally we took the 'Cake Run' that followed back down to the car park. This run was excellent and really fast, with lots of twists and turns and mini jumps. Once of which goes between two trees and you hold your breath as the handlebars only just seem to fit between them!
Throughout the whole day we didn't have any mechanicals, not even 1 puncture. Which was ace! The weather was once again on our side, we warmed up fairly quickly on the trails and the sun made an appearance on a few occasions too.
At the end we were a few short who had to dart off early, but we stuck the bikes aside and grabbed a coffee and cake at the fabulous lake setting next to the car park. It was good to catch up with everyone and share a little banter of the day's riding.
It's safe to say we were all pretty zonked after this one, the route wasn't massively long but it was certainly tiring! Really looking forward to the next ride, which will be at Aston Hill Bike Park. Already live on the club events section, you can sign up now. We wil of course publish all the photos of this ride on the club page in the next few days, don’t forget to tag yourself in them. The E-Bikeshop Owners Club is a closed group of riders, if you have purchased a eBike from us and want to get involved, please get in touch.