BMCC is far from the biggest trail centre in the UK. It lacks basic amenities like a cafe and bike shop, but riders don't come here for the luxuries of cake and coffee; they come for flat-out adrenaline-fuelled good times.
Located in Abergavenny, Black Mountain Cycle Centre is a freerider's dream bought to life by the creativity of Shaun Bevan, the trail builder. With Blues, Reds and Black tracks weaving their way down a mountainside, hard graft has been put in to create a truly unique trail centre. Attracting some of the biggest names in UK riding, BMCC welcomes thousands of fired-up riders each year, all hungry for unadulterated raw Welsh gnar.
When it comes to the trails at Black Mountains Cycle Centre, it's a case of less is more. While there are a handful of blues, reds and blacks, they've been strategically dug to offer endless variations of riding from top to bottom. Trails from the top trailhead all diverge to a midpoint on the dirt road climb, marked by a pretty sizeable wooden bridge. At this point, the tracks flare out once more into varying flow and jump lines. This layout makes sessioning the trail network's top half and bottom half super easy.
There are approximately 15 tracks in total, packed with features such as table-tops, gap jumps, drops, and juicy berms. Blue trail features are rollable and can be ridden at race pace or at your leisure, making them suitable for more novice riders. If you're looking to go flat out full-send, then the iconic Full Moto line is for you. It's BMCC's biggest jump line, featuring two gargantuan 40ft tables, making them great for spectators to chill at the trailside to watch on in awe.
BMCC is far from the polished trail centres you may be more familiar with. It's essentially a plot of farmland littered with mind-blowing trails, a dirt track for the uplift, a car park and not much more. It's this no-fuss or frills set-up that makes BMCC so popular amongst mountain bikers.
Black Mountains Cycle Centre is open from 10:00 - 18:00 every day except Tuesdays. There's also an evening uplift available on Thursdays from 16:00 – 20:00. Whether you require a pedal pass or uplift pass, you'll need to book your place via the BMCC website in advance.
A Pedal Pass is £15 for the day on a standard bike and £18 for e-bikers. The climb is straightforward; just one dirt path to the top of the trailhead, which can take roughly 20mins.
If you'd rather get shuttled to the trailhead on the uplift trailer, then prices are £43 midweek and £47 on weekends. The uplift will drop you off near the top, leaving you to push or pedal the final 100m.
If you're looking for a Barista brew and slice of homemade cake, then you're out of luck. There's no café on site. Instead, on weekends and bank holidays only, Farmer Mark Eats provides a small selection of hot food. Otherwise, you'll need to bring a packed lunch.
The geology that makes up the vast Black Mountains range is primarily red sandstone. So, suffice to say, things get a little slick in wet-weather, resulting in sticky clay-like mud which clings to your bike and all its componentry. Fortunately, there is a bike wash (a.k.a a hose) available to wash your bike down before loading it back into your home-bound vehicle.
As for bike hire and repair shops, again, there aren't any on-site. The small registration cabin does sell the odd inner tube and set of brake pads but very little more. So again, it's best to come pre-packed with spares should you need them.
As with many trail centres, especially in Wales, BMCC is in a fairly remote spot. If you're looking for accomodation closeby, then it's best to check out services such as Air BnB or search for local guesthouses in the area. If you prefer to use recognised hotel chains, then the nearest one is Abergavenny's Premier Inn, which is about 5-miles away from the trail centre.
If you prefer to camp, then BMCC recommends local sites such as Pen y Dre Farm and The Rising Sun Public House. Despite the trail centre being located in lush farmland, overnight camping is not permitted on the site due to permissions.