First dedicated mountain bike skills area opens
The Island’s first dedicated mountain bike skills area opened today at South Barrule Forest.
The facility will encourage people to be fit and healthy and use the countryside, in line with the aims of the Programme for Government.
The Manx Mountain Bike Club enlisted the help of the Department of Environment, Food and Agriculture (DEFA) in creating the facility, which will allow adults and children to sharpen their skills off-road.
Suitable for beginners and more advanced riders, the facility replicates features found on the Isle of Man’s trails, which are used for the sport.
The area has been designed to International Mountain Bike Association standards under the guidance of local mountain bike coach Adam Henderson.
Construction was undertaken by Steve Collins, an experienced trail builder, with the help of joiner John ‘Dog’ Callister and club volunteers.
DEFA, the Manx Lottery Trust, Isle of Man Sport and the End to End Legacy project jointly funded the project, with DEFA providing materials and guidance.
Interpretation boards will assist users and a picnic area will shortly be created.
Geoffrey Boot MHK, Minister for Environment, Food and Agriculture, opened the facility.
He said: ‘As we seek to reinforce the message that the Island is a special place to live, work and visit, this is a welcome addition to our countryside.
‘We are encouraging more people to visit our Island and spend their money locally. This complements other recreational facilities that have sprung up at South Barrule, such as Segway, Laser Mayhem and ApeMann.
‘Together, they will be a great draw for locals and visitors alike.’
The Minister continued: ‘An aim of the Programme for Government is that we live longer, healthier lives. Exercise and fun play large parts in that.
‘This facility will encourage people of all ages and abilities to enjoy mountain biking in a dedicated area, away from roads.
‘Whole families can use the facility, which will appeal to visitors.
‘For those who have reached competitive level, it will boost their chances of success locally and off-Island.’
For information about mountain biking in the Island, visit https://www.manxmtb.com/