'The Centre of Trails' in the Yorkshire Dales' is how Stuart and Brenda Price describe the Dales Bikes Centre they have developed in Fremington, Swaledale.
From humble beginnings – a derelict stone barn a stone's throw away from Reeth – Stuart and Brenda Price have achieved an amazing amount since their decision to turn their passion for the outdoors, and biking in particular, into providing a dedicated cycling centre that has sustainability at it's heart.
Sustainable building design
Stu says, "back in the early nineties I came to Swaledale for a weekend's mountain biking and I never went home", firstly buying a fleet of bikes and simply offering his guiding services to clients, when he met Brenda, who already managed an outdoor centre, a shared vision started to form.
Many years and much hard work later, they have a business to be proud of comprising 14 bed bunk accommodation in two and four bedded rooms, a great cafe serving homemade produce, a dedicated bike shop and workshop, bike wash, secure bike storage and a drying room making the perfect base for both road cyclists and mountain bikers. The whole centre is designed with low impact in mind. The building itself is heated by a ground source heating system, and the innovative heat exchange kitchen ventilation system helps to improve energy efficiency. The bike wash makes use of an advanced water recycling system and all the centre's waste is treated on site in a mini treatment plant. It is details like this that won them the 2010 Yorkshire Dales National Park Authority Best Building Design Award for Energy Sustainability.
Supporting the local economy
Sustainability doesn't stop there Stu and Brenda are able to support the local economy by sourcing all their ingredients for use within the cafe from within the National Park. This includes buying fruit and vegetables and cheese from Reeth Market, meat from Bainbridge and free range eggs from Wensleydale. All the cakes, soups, jams and pickles are hand made on site.
The self catering facilities in their four star bunkbarn accommodation gets little use as they also promote the excellent local pubs and facilities in Reeth and Grinton for those seeking a fireside meal and a drink at the end of the day.
Biking - a low carbon pastime
Many of the centre's visitors arrive on their bikes, often completing a multi day ride such as the Dales Cycle Way or Coast to Coast – both of which run by the front door. Some simply turn up by car, with their bike, hoping to take in a different local ride each day. Route maps printed on waterproof paper are on sale and staff are always willing to advise the best trails to ride depending on the weather and ground conditions. Bike and equipment hire is available for those who don't bring their own. The Bike Centre is easily accessible by public transport as there is a bus stop right outside. An on site bike shop and resident mechanic completes the centre's offer and aims to sort out any bike maintenance issues riders might commonly come across. All in all, Dales Bike Centre is a low fuel, low impact enterprise that allows visitors to access the Yorkshire Dales by bike and truly immerse themselves in the beauty and tranquillity of this unique area.
See www.dalesbikecentre.co.uk for more information.