Quite a few of my riding buddies live in the Dublin & Wicklow areas. Which makes Bike Park Ireland a great place for us all to meet up and ride for a day, being about the same distance from all of us.
Over the May bank holiday we met up, but with a slight change to the usual itinerary. A regular BPI day out involves getting up at around 6am and driving for 2 hours. Then unpacking the bikes and getting changed into riding clothes in time for the first uplift. This time it was suggested we drive up Sunday and camp overnight. And we could bring our families along.
Sunday afternoon we packed the car with sleeping bags, tents, enough provisions for about a week and two bikes. Then we drove the 2 hours to County Tipperary. After setting up the tent and greeting the others that had arrived before us, we had just enough time left for one ride down the trails before they closed for the day.
This May weekend was gloriously sunny which is ideal for camping. After everyone had unpacked and the day’s visitor to the park went home, the BBQ was lit and dinner was served. Sat outside, surrounded by grass under that big tree in the sunshine eating steak with friends and family - what could be better.
While the adults made themselves comfortable with some beers around the BBQ, the kids went and made the most of the empty field where visitors park during the day, but which, in the evening, is wide open and perfect for an impromptu game of football.
In the morning the BBQ was rekindled to fry up some bacon and brew tea and coffee. We could have got breakfast from the Mucky Boots cafe as well.
Everyone that was biking for the day was geared up and ready to go well in advance of the first truck. A much more relaxed and efficient way to start a day’s riding than normal.
The smaller kids, two 3-year-olds, spent most of their time building their balance bike skills on the pump tracks, watched over by their non-biking mothers. Starting on the small kids only one and building up to the bigger pump track later on. So much did these help their confidence that, in the afternoon, they had a go at the green trail.
The older kids spent all day catching every available truck to the top of the hill and chasing each other down whichever trail they felt capable of accompanied by alternating parents to keep an eye on things - which turned out to be a mix of the blue and the blue jump trails.
When not supervising the youngsters, the adults snuck off to try their hand at the newest section of trail, built for the Grassroots enduro the week before, which was left open for a few weekends.
Having the tent there all day, and the camp chairs, meant anyone that wanted a break for a while someplace comfortable and relaxing to chill out at for a while.
At lunch, everyone made great use of the seating and grass outside the cafe and munched their way through a truckload of burgers, tea, coffee an cake, before doing it all again for the afternoon.
After the last truck parked up for the evening, it was time to pack up, try and squeeze everything back into the car and set off back home. The whole family having thoroughly enjoyed themselves and ready to do it all again.