words: JB & images: Chippy Wood & JB
G lobal Adventure Training Academy’ reads the sign. Which seems a touch grandiose for a converted light-industrial unit in South Wales. But then in their presentation the Triumph guys revealed this centre is just the first of many planned to open around the world, kind of one on each continent, at least. Ahh, we get it!
As a blueprint for the future it bodes well. The fit-out at the centre is quality through and through. There’s a great meeting hall, double height to the roof, with trestles and bench seating, a coffee bar and reception. Then there’s a media room, a meeting room, changing rooms, showers, drying room, plus the workshop for the bikes and offices for the staff. Secure parking too. Giant oversize posters of Tigers in action adorn the walls, not taken in the Rhondda (the coal-mining valleys of Wales) more likely the Rockies given the registration plates on those bikes and vast mountain landscapes. But that’s part of the message, this isn’t about coming to Wales, it’s about this place being your launch pad into the world.
So the Triumph Adventure Experience offers something for everyone. Training on Triumph’s own extensive training grounds that are just a six-mile country ride from the centre, suitable for absolute beginners through to the super-experienced (we can all learn something). And experience days, like the two-day Gravel Tours, which take in the great network of trails that are all easyaccess from the centre. There’s a fleet of brand new 2018 Tiger 1200 and 800s plus Street Scramblers all suitably equipped with off-road tyres ready to go. And if you haven’t any kit yet, Triumph has that covered too with their own-brand adventure clothing in all sizes waiting for you.
Nick Plumb, ex-Dakar racer and head of Touratech UK, heads up the operation. He’s the perfect front man, with the bike skills, a vast knowledge of all things adventure and the enthusiasm and personality to communicate and educate effectively. He trains and he inspires. He’s assembled a great team, too. The kind of guys who’ll gently reassure you and give you the confidence to reach for talents you didn’t think you had. Yep, Matt, Jon and Keith will cheerfully, almost quietly, get you there. If the assorted axioms dotted around the centre’s walls don’t get you believing then these guys will. Learn skills here – and by heck if you can ride Wales you can ride anywhere – and then tackle with confidence the world’s trails.