Monday 23rd March 2020
Ian Warby – Proprietor Firecrest Mountain Biking
Late last night I had the news I was dreading, but felt was inevitable, that Forestry England have closed Aston Hill Bike Park from Monday 23rd March until further notice.
As a result of this closure I am no longer able to run Mountain Bike Skills Courses on Aston Hill. There are no easy decisions in these challenging times and no one ever wants to hear that they are unable to run the business that puts food on the table and a roof over their head but I, like many self-employed small business owners, find myself in that challenging position. However, in these difficult times we are all going to face unprecedented challenges and it’s how we rise to them that’s important.
I have been fortunate to run Mountain Bike Skills Courses on Aston Hill for the past 21 years. This isn’t the first time that I’ve had to close the gates on my business and, although I hope it will be the last, I have a feeling it won’t be. The last time I had to close the gates was due to the Foot and Mouth Outbreak in 2001 when the Government put the countryside into lockdown. We managed to survive that experience and I am sure we will come out of this.
This closure is for our own good and to save lives. I was so pleased to see the mountain bikers on Aston Hill practicing ‘physical/social distancing’ yesterday. After all it’s not hard in the woods with plenty of space and we all have to ride our own bikes at our own pace. However, it seems that the rest of the UK population didn’t have the common sense, or the necessary restraint, to distance themselves from each other. The Forestry Commission has been left with no choice but to close down it’s woodlands to stop people from coming to them, congregating, and spreading this highly contagious virus.
Needless to say, I will of course be offering everyone that’s booked a Course the option to re-book once the Covid-19 Outbreak is over. You also have the option for a full refund for Courses booked later in the year should you wish to get your money back. As a self-employed sole trader in a small business your financial support at this time is much appreciated.
Once again I’d like to take this opportunity to thank all of our customers, friends and staff for their continued support. Yes, these are unbelievably challenging times, but getting out for a bike ride will help clear your head and above all it will keep you fit and healthy, with more resilience to fight Covid-19 ‘IF’ you do get it! Stay safe out there and I’ll see you from a safe distance on the Trails (just not the trails on Aston Hill until it re-opens).