Cost To Ride: £4.50 single/£20 family.
Cyclopark is a registered charity that operates on behalf of Kent County Council and its partners. Built on a strip of land wedged between the A2 and Gravesend, it caters for all engineless 2 wheeled recreationalists, from road cycling to BMX.
Pulling up in the carpark and you're hit with something unfamiliar with most MTB outings: The carpark is long and slick, leading up to an untra-modern building that houses classrooms, cafe, shop and the like. It's the kind of place that wouldn't have existed if it wasn't for the London Olympics - when councils suddenly realised we were a nation of unfit couch potatoes and something had to be done about it.
The slickness carries on beyond the 'hub' too: A huge roadie circuit carves off into the distance with and impressive high-standard BMX track and skate park, play gardens and XC trails all fighting for space within the perfectly landscaped boundaries.
It does feel very much like walking into 'the future', almost as if the trails are some sort of exhibit of what things were like way back before every inch of the earth was developed on. Depressing thought.
The park offers 6km of trials graded blue, red and black. The terrain gently undulates with some berms and pleasantly flowy sections. The couple of black sections are short, but offer a taste of real 'mountain' type trails, littered with large rocks demanding a pleasing level of concentration. This bumps the top-end skill rating to 4, but the rest is a fairly easy going affair.
And while 6km isn't very much, the trails drain perfectly and are even lit after dusk, so could provide a fun blast after work or a stop off if you are in the area.
Whilst it does feel very hard not to be snobby about the very manicured feel to the place, there should be some be some real credit to Kent County Council for such a development as this. Hopefully Cyclopark will offer many people the first taste of the joys of mountain biking, and get more people into the sport. It is also a brilliant project for many who haven't got access to trails living in the city, and for that you can't give it credit enough. It's just a shame there are no dirt jumps or freeride trails, but you never know how things may develop over time...
Cyclopark is located close to the A2 to the south of Gravesend, Kent. Take the A227 junction, (Gravesend Central) and follow the signs for Cyclopark. For Sat Nav please use postcode DA11 7NP.