Cwmdown Uplift Service, Cwmcarn

Image We’ve all been there, pushing a 40+lb downhill bike up a track which is bad enough to walk up let alone lug a weighty steed up as well, or even favouring the easier push up a road that takes 3 times as long but isn’t so knackering. Well Darrel Axford has come up with the answer to all our cursing and swearing.

Cwmdown Uplift Service, Cwmcarn, Wales

Darrel started the Cwmdown Uplift after seeing an advert in Dirt for a commercial uplift at Cwmcarn and with much careful planning and business model development he started the project himself. He wanted to offer a professional service which gave people the opportunity to ride whenever they wanted instead of a single packed Sunday once every two months and without bikes being scratched and damaged in the backs of farm trucks being hauled up a rutted bumpy track. Being an ex-aircraft engineer, designing the bike racks for the trailer was not a problem, the racks being custom fabricated by a company in Portsmouth and then fitted to a standard Ifor Williams trailer, arguably the most resilient in the world. Additional sponsorship was provided by Mojo along with a lottery grant to get the service going.


Inside the uplift Transit 16-seater
The service currently runs from Wednesday to Sunday, with 16 seats in the van it is possible to have 20 people on the uplift on any given day, with all day tickets getting priority over those who opt for a 5-trip or single trip ticket. On the Sunday we went along for a ride, no one was turned away for any uplifts due to some riders sitting the odd run out. Cwmcarn now draws as many visitors as Afan, and due to such high demand (weekends are booked up 4-5 weeks in advance) an additional van is all set to rock and should be running from the end of August, pending the obligatory red tape and paper work completion. Both vans are fully road legal and comply with VOSA standards for transporting up to 16 people. Accompanying the additional van, which will give an uplift capacity of 40 riders per day, is a new website that will be launched at the same time offering online pre-booking and payment with a calendar displaying availability up to 4 weeks in advance which will make planning your uplift rides at Cwmcarn much easier.  Simply select when you want to ride to see availability, click to book and pay online. Job done.


Darrel unloading the bikes at the top of the road


All day tickets are bookable in advance and cost £25 (£22 for Wednesday, Thursday and Friday).
5-trip ticket £14, any spare lifts can be carried over to another day
1-trip ticket £3.50, these are only sold when there is excess capacity with priority always going to all day ticket holders. t is best to phone ahead in any case to check availability.

The uplift van itself


For more information call 07977 925678 or email Darrel at and check out the Cwmdown Website .

Many thanks to Darrel for the last few spaces on the uplift for the Rotec RL9 test ride.

Words by Tristan Veneer
Photos by James Kidney