Dyfi, Wales: Better With Bikes
Definitely worth a watch! This spectacular short film will leave you with that warm, fuzzy feeling inside. Atherton Racing, alongside Trek and talented videographer Robbie Meade, have created an awesome piece that reminds us what being part of the mountain biking community is all about.
A community comes together around the bike.
The Dyfi Valley betrays even the most creative of imaginations. A lush and mountainous region hidden in the North of Wales, the potential for outside fun is immense. Historically known for its industries in sheep and lumber, the region is witnessing a dramatic cultural shift with the arrival of mountain biking.
While mountain biking has been been a part of Dyfi for a long time, the people there ride for the same reason everyone rides. Freedom. When you take a region defined by huge expanses of forest and mountains, combined with a community willing to enjoy it, the result is impressive. The addition of the first family of downhill to the region only increases the area’s upward mobility.
Now, the Dyfi boasts one of the strongest trail building and riding communities in all of Great Britain. The bike is a vehicle for change in many ways, and the Dyfi is better with bikes.
The best mountain biker of her generation finds a home, and then success.
Hidden amongst the rolling Welsh countryside is the sleepy town of Machynlleth. The town, built upon traditions stretching back centuries, was the ancient capital of Wales. But nestled in the Dyfi valley, a hilly and wild forested terrain, Machynlleth found itself inconveniently situated for the growth of modern industry.
A few years ago, enterprising trail builders began reshaping the unkempt terrain, bringing with them a completely unexpected and decidedly twenty-first century industry: mountain biking. One of these trail builders, Dan Atherton, brought along his sister, Rachel, who immediately fell in love with the area. She decided to stay. And then won two consecutive world mountain bike championships.
What Rachel found was a community in search of a new identity. Machynlleth is a place that embraced change and completely resurrected itself as a landmark for those who love the outdoors. “I don’t think it can be any coincidence that I moved here and then had the best two race seasons of my entire career. I think it was the feeling of contentment and that the community has my back,” she says. “And riding gnarly-ass stuff”.
And while the land and the people have given to Rachel, her success on the world stage has given something back to the Dyfi valley in the form of more and more women descending upon the trails. Brother Dan reflects on Rachel’s impact, “Having Rach in the area has inspired a lot of girls to come out and ride. There’s more and more women riding. And a lot of it has to do with her.” As Rachel tells it, “Dyfi is just better with bikes. It gives people a reason to connect with each other. It pulls people from all different walks of life together.” And if there’s one thing this world needs more of today, it’s exactly what Dyfi has discovered.
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