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Hadleigh Park
#1
Well, I had my "Golden Ticket" Day yesterday with my boy so thought I'd put a little review here.


The Hub

First off, we had a tour of the Hub, not much to see unfortunately, the bike shop is empty at the mo as they are just about to move in, the café is Salvation Army run and seems reasonably priced. Although the staff are gonna have to speed up or there'll be huge queues when there's more customers. There's a bike wash area with space for 2 coin operated washes, but they're not fitted yet.
There's loads of parking for bikes, but no-where near enough parking for arses... there was hardly anyone there yesterday yet at lunchtime there was no-where to sit. There is also a shower/changing block but it's reserved for groups to pre-book it.

The Pump Track

Just by the carpark, the first feature you'll see is the pump track, it's short, but is quite a challenge to lap without pedal power, I only managed 1½ laps without peddling. The staff said that the idea is that when you arrive in groups, there's always someone faffing about with biks/kit etc, so instead of peddling around the car park, you can go warm up on the pump track ... good idea.

The Skills Area

Just past the playpark and balance bike area (unfinished) is the Skills area. This is also a short area, but is a good little warmup and gives a good variation of blue, red & black obstacles to get your eye in, with a selection of drops, burms, jumps, tabletops & rock gardens.

The Trail

The trail starts with a stiff, short climb which can be bypassed by an alternative switchback route, then continues on for about 4½ miles of undulating track containing many various obstacles. Each obstacle has a choice of Blue, Red or Black difficulty which all start and finish together. This works really well for riders or all abilities to enjoy rides without holding up or overtaxing each other. The Blues I didn't go on, the Reds were a variation of hard, scary & terrifying for my level and I'm still to conquer some of them... The Blacks (to me) look damn near suicidal but I did see people ride them.
Joining all the obstacles the track is mostly hard surfaced so suitable for all weathers, although it's pretty wide open and exposed there so I reckon could turn quite bleak especially on the hill tops. Nevertheless, in good weather the views are great.

Summary

This is a fantastic venue which when finished (Opens April 29th) will be an ideal place for a group ride with the nice short laps, choice of lines & good little café lend themselves to a full day of 4-5 laps for all abilities and fitness levels. Parking is going to be £1.50 per hour capped at £6 which seems reasonable to me.

A few improvements need to be made, such as more seating at the hub, the signpost with the site map on is orientated 90° wrong and is very confusing and some of the marker posts on the way round need to be less ambiguous. BUt other than those minor points this place is brilliant.

I'll definitely be returning...

Here's some pics;

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#2
I'm glad they haven't completely dumbed it down and there are still some hard bits. I notice they have filled in the gap jump with rocks (2nd pic) but otherwise looks the same, and the drop in the 7th pic looks good. I wonder if there is enough there to justify the drive there though as it'll get boring doing more than 2 laps i'd imagine, and think it's a similar distance to Surrey hills.
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#3
I think it's worth the drive, but my experience is limited... It makes a nice change of venue, and it'll be a long time before I'm capable of getting on the black runs ... Let alone completing them well enough to get bored by them.

Like I said, I reckon it'd be a laugh in a big group.
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#4
Good review dude and it looks like it'll grow to suit a wide range of riders. It's good that you found plenty of challenging stuff there too, as it'll bring you back for more when it's officially open and the initial rush of riders has subsided after a few months. Great pics too, hope the 'crash' pic didn't result in any injury :lol:
Keep it foolish...
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#5
Cheers mate,

Nah, the crash pic was just a dead leg this time, makes a nice change to take my boy out for a ride and not have to visit a local minor injuries unit.

My poor son, having to put up with a Paramedic for a dad means sympathy isn't particularly forthcoming... First action on finishing laughing was to take a pic... Then assess for injuries.

Although I did end up bandaging a lad with a DH bike at that jump gap who's leg was gashed.
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#6
Great review!
Definitely on my to do list.

Mr. Hugger just needs to go harder & faster, everything can be made harder Wink
Riding is riding, after all.
& remember this is an XC course - none of your 150mm travel here thank you very much.
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#7
I'd give it a whirl. Martin if you are planning to go holla at me.
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#8
Tinc Wrote:Great review!
Definitely on my to do list.

Mr. Hugger just needs to go harder & faster, everything can be made harder Wink
Riding is riding, after all.
& remember this is an XC course - none of your 150mm travel here thank you very much.


Cheers, some of the black runs will definitely test some of the big bouncers.
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#9
I only have big bouncers Wink

Tinc: Yeah i know it's not a DH track lol, and i guess i would have to do at least 3 laps to do all the blue, red and black sections Wink I'm definitely up for going soon as it does look a fun track.
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#10
Popped up there today with my son & a couple-a-mates ...

It's my second visit there with my boy and first time for the other 2 guys.

Love it up there, it's a great ride with some great technical challenges with a good cafe at The Hub

Unfortunately one mate is currently in the Conquest A&E awaiting results of a shoulder XRay after a poorly executed gap jump went wrong and another is grazed up on both elbows & a knee ... Following 2 unsuccessful attempts at landing a drop off...

Other than that we had a great time.

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