With the King Charles III Coronation weekend weather forecast currently looking promising, will you be heading to London to enjoy the pageantry of a rarely seen royal coronation? Or perhaps like us here at Bike Perfect, you'll be taking advantage of the extra bank holiday and getting your best mountain bike ready to make the most of quieter trails and bike parks. Maybe even enjoying some mountain bike racing or exploring some of the best biking packing routes in the UK.
I've nothing against the Royal Family but I wouldn't say I'm a fan, and as millions of people across the UK and beyond prepare to celebrate the coronation of King Charles III and Camilla, the Queen Consort at Westminster Abbey we have some right royal alternative Coronation Bank Holiday Weekend suggestions that even King Charles wouldn't frown upon.
So rather than watch the Coronation and the celebration concert at Windsor Castle in the evening with the stellar lineup of the "best" UK music stars like Take That, Paloma Faith, Steve Winwood and Olly Murs. Even with the attraction of several American 'superstars' including Lionel Richie, Katy Perry and Nicole Scherzinger, we'd rather be out riding the trails than watching King Charles being bored silly with orbs and scepters. So here are our suggestions for a far more entertaining bank holiday weekend which takes in the four kingdoms of the UK...
1. Visit Bike Park Wales
The new King and former Prince of Wales will give the nod of approval for all mountain bike riders to pass on the coronation and head to the principality of Wales. A home for mountain bikers from novice to professional, Bike Park Wales has some of the UK's greatest and most diverse selection of all-weather mountain bike trails.
With a vehicular uplift service to transport you to the top of the trails, bike and equipment hire, coaching, guiding and a cracking on-site café. Their new "Ticket to Ride" package is perfect for those who wish to try gravity mountain biking for the first time and for those with years of experience. For booking information visit bikeparkwales.com.
2. Watch the Downhill Mountain Bike Nationals, Fort William, Scotland
The iconic Fort William downhill track is famous around the world for delivering some of the most iconic moments in mountain biking history, and this weekend it will host the round two of the UK National Downhill Series 2023 from Friday until Sunday. Normally this would just be another round of a national series, so what's so thrilling about that you may ask? Fort William is also the host for this year's UCI Downhill World Championships which is less than 100 days away, and this weekend will be a who's who of the best downhill mountain bike racers from across the globe, turning up to get a competitive race run of the iconic Fort 'Bill downhill track.
Having spoken to the multi-World Champion Greg Minaar earlier this week (name-dropping here) he confirmed that he and the rest of his Santa Crux Syndicate race team will be there to race, including Red Bull Hardline winner Jackson Goldstone, Lawrie Greenland and Nina Hoffman. I also had the nod from Atherton Racing and was told the team will be in attendance also.
For downhill fans Fort William is a definite pilgrimage and this weekend presents the opportunity to get up close to some of the biggest names in the sport in a slightly more relaxed atmosphere. After the racing, if you feel like making a royal connection, the near by Balmoral Castle is only a short distance away. For all the information visit britishcycling.org.uk.
3. Ride King's Alfred Way, England
The royal theme continues with King Alfred's Way, a route scouted and planned by our very own cycling royalty, Guy Kesteven, for Cycling UK. King Alfred's Way is a circular 350km route starting in the historic city of Winchester at the statue of that particular regent which marks his burial site. As well as having some of the best gravel bike riding in the UK, this multi-day bikepacking adventure also takes in 10,000 years of British history, passing historical sites like Stonehenge, the Uffington White Horse and the neolithic monument at Wayland Smithy.
What better way to spend the King Charles Coronation bank holiday weekend than enjoying stunning English scenery on a route named after one of his royal predecessors? It's also one which allows you to visit some of the best historical sites in Britain. Check out the route at cyclinguk.org and you can also watch Guy's fantastic route videos there too.
4. Go mountain biking in the Mourne Mountains, Northern Ireland
The Mourne Mountains, Northern Ireland is the home to the Red Bull Foxhunt, if you've never been lucky enough to grab a place to compete in one of the best mountain bike events in the world, the Mournes are still a must-ride location to add on any mountain biker rider's bucket list.
While his majesty is being crowned in London, the Mournes is even more majestic and has to be seen to be appreciated. There is nowhere better to do this than at the peak of Rostrevor's MTB trails overlooking Carlingford Lough and the towns of Rostrevor and Warrenpoint. With epic views come epic trails, and riders have the joy of a 27km red loop which takes in every kind of feature you could want. Rostrevor is also home to Ireland's first-ever purpose-built downhill trails, Mega Mission and On the Pulse. With a great café at the trailhead and free parking, the home to the Red Bull Foxhunt is a must for another majestic mountain bike riding location. Visit mountainbikeni.com for all the details.
So wherever you're located over the long weekend and however you choose to spend it, enjoy the bonus bank holiday. God save mountain bi-king!