iBikeRide are delighted to announce that Comrie Croft has been crowned the 2016 UK Trail and Bike Park of the Year as decided by the UK riding public. Based in the Strathearn Valley in Perthshire, Scotland, Comrie Croft has blue, red and black trails, natural trails and a Bike Skills Park.
The 2016 Top Ten UK Trails and Bike Parks:
|3||Farmer Johns MTB Park||4.77||6|
|6||Black Mountains Cycle Centre||4.66||N/A|
|8||Forest of Dean||4.58||N/A|
|10||Gisburn Forest Bike Trails||4.54||8|
Interestingly this year we see 4 new entrants to the top ten i.e. Black Mountains Cycle Centre, Forest of Dean, Innerleithen as well as the winners themselves Comrie Croft. There is also a shift in movement within the top ten index e.g. Afan dropping three places as well as a number of other XC type centres like Glentress being dropped from the top ten index this year. This is likely an indication of how UK riders preferences are changing over time as well as potentially a sign of where investment is occurring and paying off. As part of this, we are starting to see a shift towards paid for uplift / push up based Bike Parks and Downhill centres over the more pure play XC focussed trails. It is also evident that trails and bike parks with close strong local communities are scoring higher in the Index and the campaign.
In analysing the sentiment expressed in the review comments it is clear that those trails and bike parks that combine a constant development of new trails, focus on variety, have a good selection of technical trail features that allow for progression for all ability levels, retain a natural feel and have a strong 'community vibe' are what riders are basing their experiences and so their ratings on. In addition, we are seeing new criteria not seen in previous years comments such as mentions of being efficiently run, value for money and being family and kid friendly. All these characteristics are clearly what Comrie Croft, despite lacking significant scale, can demonstrate, these are the reasons why they have won.
The UK rider today is incredibly lucky, they have an amazing choice of trails that just continues to grow. This year we have learned that although we are fortunate that so many of our trails in the UK have real scale and are brilliant a trail centre that is not massive, yet is perfectly formed and most of all has a vibrant community beating at its centre, can still score high and win the hearts and minds of UK riders.
This has been the toughest and most closely fought campaigns to date. It is becoming clear that as MTB evolves and matures the bar of rider expectation of what a trail and bike park need to (continually) offer is raising year on year.
New Kid on the Block Award
The 'New Kid on the Block Award' has to go to Tarland Trails in Aberdeenshire in Scotland. This community is one to watch. Only around since June 2015, they have already created a significant trail buzz with just a small network of trails (that by reputation pack a big punch). It will be great to see what they could achieve and deliver with their imminent plans for Tarland Trails phase #2 to create a significantly larger network of trails.
Country by Country Rankings
|3||Black Mountains Cycle Centre|
|1||Farmer Johns MTB Park|
|2||Forest of Dean|
|3||Gisburn Forest Bike Trails|
How it works
The Trail of the Year Index is based solely on rider reviews and ratings that dynamically adjusts every time a rider writes a new review on any listing. The algorithm that drives eligibility of a trail or bike park to qualify for the index is a combination of a) how high the average rating score of the trail is b) a specific minimum number of ratings and reviews a trail has and c) freshness i.e. a substantial number of reviews needs to have been written recently. The Index also uses a Bayesian Average which generates a score for each listing that takes into account both the average rating and the number of reviews.
To ensure only the best trails enter the final campaign Index every few weeks for the 4 months of the campaign the criteria for eligibility cranks up and gets tougher. The Index is driven by approximately 2000 rider reviews and ratings.
Thanks to the riders, sponsors and trail communities.
Massive thanks to all the riders who reviewed their trails and so have helped make the site a more valuable resource for other riders wanting to check out new trails. You have also helped by giving valuable feedback in your reviews that can be used by the trail communities who manage the trails. Every review has entered a prize draw that thanks to our amazing sponsors we will be able to award top prizes to eight lucky reviewers who will be pulled out the hat and announced over the next few weeks. Special thanks also to all the trail volunteers and communities out there making the UK trail network what it is.
So our final word is to keep those reviews coming folks. 2017 has just begun and the Index never rests. Get riding, then get reviewing. Big thanks.