Bike Park Wales Mission
Last Thursday, our friends at All Conditions Media took a trip to Wales to road test their new iON Air Pro 3 camera, and to go mountain biking with Dragon Alliance legend Sam Nelson at the relatively new Bike Park Wales.
Bike Park Wales has a pretty amazing set up!
Owners Rowan and Martin took an old downhill track at Gethin Woods (a forestry commission area) and have built perhaps Europe’s finest gravity trails set up. There’s an uplift service every day (three vans in fact) costing £30 for the day –
including the £5 entry charge for all riders to hit the trails – and because of the overwhelming publicity and good will amongst the mountain bike community (Rowan in particular is a legend of the mountain bike scene, and has built a huge chunk of the UK’s best trails), the popularity of BPW is intense.
Hire a full-suspension Trek 160mm travel enduro/freeride bike for £100 per day:
Since opening in September 2013, they’ve had over 70,000 people on the hill, and the uplift has been booked a minimum of 2-months in advance since before it opened.
Bike Park Wales trail maps. All the trails are colour-coded like a ski resort:
It’s no exaggeration to say that the centre has had a pretty amazing effect on the local economy. We stayed at the Imperial Hotel in Merthyr Tydfil, whose owner said they’re seeing huge numbers of mountain bikers booking overnight accommodation. The local races get huge numbers, and if you were a kid growing up in Merthyr, mountain biking would be a natural sport to get into.
How did you find filming with the Air Pro 3?
The iON camera was amazing on the day and got a ton of interest from the riders we met. It’s more aerodynamic than a Go-Pro, and mounts nicely on a helmet (obligatory at BPW).
What did you like about it?
The frame mount seems way sturdier than the GP version, and the ball-and-socket attachment means you can move the camera around to get a good set up, much easier than the GP two-axis-only pivots. I really liked the way you switch the iON on using a reassuring (and foolproof) slide switch on the top, and the camera vibrates for 4-seconds to let you know it’s started recording. Two vibrations when switching it off. There’s no need to look at it, everything is touch-sensitive.
It filmed continuously pretty much all day, with over 50% of the battery remaining. Also liked the handy iPhone app, which shows all sorts of data if you pair the two up, including a live screen to see what the camera sees. I suspect the long battery life is due to a really handy feature which turns the camera off automatically when not on record. Having accidentally drained plenty of Go Pro batteries, it’s a good move by iON!