Welsh road-trip…thoughts, experiences please..

Home Forum Bike Forum Welsh road-trip…thoughts, experiences please..

Viewing 29 posts - 1 through 29 (of 29 total)
  • Welsh road-trip…thoughts, experiences please..
  • rentachimp
    Member

    As a South Walian, I can’t stress enough that it’s often wet or raining here. Bring plenty of riding clothes as you will struggle to dry one set of clothes from day-to-day.

    Premier Icon Nipper99
    Subscriber

    I would skip Afan and head straight to Brechfa for the trails then a couple of days to visit Doithie Valley and Mynydd Mallaen (which you could combine with Cwm Rhaeadr)before heading north.

    Premier Icon FieldMarshall
    Subscriber

    As Penyhdd is still shut, maybe only a day at Afan and stop off at Bike Park Wales instead as it opens on 23rd Aug.

    Definitely Brechfa and Cwm Rhaeder.

    Found Doethie disappointing.

    Coed Y Brenin would definitely be on my list.

    Plus LLandegla is fun on a BFe.

    tymbian
    Member

    Thoughts from you, the STW massif greatly appreciated..

    I’m travelling from the Banbury area at the end of the month, looking for 4/5 days to a week, camping, bbq’s, trail bashing, few cold ones of a evening etc.

    Thinking of hitting Blaengarw on the way to camp at Afan.
    One or two nights at Afan ( 2 nights too long ? )

    Finish Afan drive to Brechfa for an all-dayer Gorlech/ Raven ( 40kms too much for 1 day ? ) drive to Car Du campsite chill for a day. Day trips from here to Nant Y Arian, Machynlleth ( Climach-x trail ), Cwm Rhaeder.

    A possible finish on 1st Sept doing Snowdon ( is the push up really worth it ? ) or possibly Cadair Idris.

    Somewhere in the middle an uplift day at Antur Stiniog ( on a hardtail ( bfe )? )

    as I’m writing it seems a lot to cram into a week. Anyone done anything similar? Have I missed any must do’s or included any avoid at all costs?

    andypandy85
    Member

    Find a number for the Afan Valley Bike Shed, speak to the guy who runs that shop and he’ll sort you out with the best riding spots 🙂

    rentachimp
    Member

    Afan is worth a day, I reckon. If you like DH, check out Kilvey Hill: 30 mins from Afan and a hidden Gem.

    wrecker
    Member

    Wouldn’t swap W2 for anything at brechfa. 1 day at Afan is plenty though. Be good to sneak a lap of the beast at CYB.

    Premier Icon frogstomp
    Subscriber

    I’m doing something similar at the end of the month but staying in the south – current itinerary is Afan, Bike Park Wales, Brechfa, Cwm Rhaeadr and finishing off in the Brecon Beacons..

    Snowdon and Cadair are totally weather/timing dependent. If you really want to do either you have to watch the forecast like a hawk and drive there at the drop of a hat if it looks good.

    So the best plan is one that involves staying and riding lower-level, or trail centre, riding in mid-north Wales, so that if conditions permit, you get to the mountain quickly.

    Other than that, all the south Wales trail centres are uniquely enjoyable.

    Based on doing Brechfa and Cwn Rhyader this weekend, I’d advise:

    1) do the last two Green decents at Brechfa, our group (except me as I’m nursing a broken arm and wasnt supposed to be pushing my luck!) did the black which by all accounts was brilliant, but I did the green/blue, and it’s easily comparable to a lot of Reds, it shares the tabletop jump line with the black and ends with a 2 mile flat out series of jumps and fly-offs. You’d get the best from it doing the first big black climb (or the fireroad, apparently it’s a killer of a climb) after the green/black split after the picnic bench (the bench is the start of the 2nd decent).

    2) Cwm Rhyader is short (Strava record is 16min or something silly), but it’s an easy enough climb if your fit (about 200m vertical in 2km of fire road according to the guidebook) and It’s IMO one of the best decents I’ve ridden anywhere, steep enough to keep testing your brakes, not so steep you feel the climb was wasted, no dull sections, and it just gets better and better the more you do it unlike a lot of trail centers which don’t really reward a 2nd attempt, there’s a lot of stuff to improve on. I hate climbing and I did it twice back to back and would quite happily have done it 10+ times if my legs would keep carrying me up.

    tymbian
    Member

    @ t.i.n.a.s where would you recommend starting/ parking Abergorlech or Brechfa?

    Premier Icon cloudnine
    Subscriber

    I’d be tempted by bpw for a days uplift and skip afan.
    Definately spend a few days at brechfa do the red, the green/blue and
    Cwm rhyader which is about 15 miles from brechfa.
    Nant yr Arian is ace.. you can tie in the 2 shorter trails together.
    Maybe climachx and cyb as they are close.
    Finish with antur stiniog uplift day.

    Posted this on a local forum and cross-posted here previously. And to re-iterate to the willy-waver with poor comprehension skills from the last thread, I didn’t consider Raven “too hard” 🙄

    Just got back from 2 nights/3 days in mid/south Wales, exploring centres and trails we havent ridden before. Hopefully some useful info for someone.

    Nant-y-Arian

    We rode the longest trail, the 35km Syfydrin. This combines all the trail centre singletrack of the 16km Summit trail with a massive natural doubletrack loop out into the back of beyond. Terrific views and a real old-school XC explore feel, very exposed so would be horrendous in poor weather. The singletrack is typical of trail centres ie. good quality, all weather surface. If you werent expecting the non-challenging backcountry feel I can imagine it being disappointing or frustating but we loved it. Excellent facilities on-site (good cafe), its popular with bird watchers and walkers not just MTB so has had a lot of investment. Best views of any centre in Wales.

    Brechfa.

    Rode the longest trail, the red Gorlech in the morning, and the slightly shorter black Raven in the afternoon. They run out of different car parks a few miles apart, with no facilities bar (very clean and well maintained) chemical toilets. You can join them together for one big loop but it suited us to move sites as part of the trip. The Gorlech trailhead map claims to have 1070m of climbing which is laughable- I can only imagine Rowan Sorrell confused feet with metres (otherwise we need to give Dave Brailsford a call about our climbing prowess). Lots of swoopy hardpack singletrack, pretty much all in forest so good riding even in poor weather, no big climbs, and a few bermy/bumpy/jumpy sections courtesy of Mr Sorrell. The final descent with its multiple lines, berms and tabletops is something you’d want to session again and again.

    The Raven left us both a bit “meh”. You go from noodling up a steep singletrack climb (seems to have far more and steeper climbs than Gorlech), turn a corner and youre dropping into a Swiss national DH-style precipitous rocky bermfest. I dont know what Rowan Sorrell’s brief was, but the hardpack “bike park” sections are brilliant play riding but completely incongruous and jar with the rest of the trail. There’s a lot of natural dirt as well as hardpack singletrack and if you took all the “gnarl” sections out it’d be a cracking trail centre XC route. Both bits are good fun riding but the mix seems odd.

    There is a 6km trail (Cwm Rhaedr) nearby which was basically Rowan Sorrell’s dry run. I couldnt be arsed unloading and reloading the car for 6k but it is well reviewed.

    Afan Argoed

    After chatting to the FC Ranger we chose to ride Y Wall. Penhydd will re-open in September and be pretty much new, the logging operations have moved from Afan valley to Glyncorrwg valley so Whites Level/Skyline suffer heavy detours. They are also building a brand new 30+km trail, Blade, that will join Wall and Whites Level (rather than the fireroad slog it is to join them to make W2 now).

    Y Wall has always been a fave trail of mine, and theyve managed to improve it with half a dozen new sections of singletrack. The ride down the side of the river and back up the fireroad on the other side has been replaced with singletrack sections out of (Alpha) and into (Omega) the centre, over a new purpose-built bridge. Some of the climb is covered in a new “Elevator” section, which has that magical quality of sucking you along and uphill without you realising. There are other new sections of singletrack too. At the top of the trail, before the final “zigzags” descent you keep riding uphill, in order to ride a bike skills trail (its near a second smaller trail centre building) which has perfectly flowing swoopy pumpy berms. Had it not been p1ssing with rain we would have done multiple runs of this- I cant remember another set of berms that flows so well (at trail centres subsequent berms often tighten up to force you to lose speed rather than let you keep it up).

    There is another new centre, Blaengarw, relatively close by, apparently its awesome but again only about 6km and is worth riding to from Afan rather than driving (as its in a different valley its only a few miles away, but 45mins by road). Next time.

    Penmachno.

    Is in north wales. And is crap.

    Premier Icon molgrips
    Subscriber

    Ride up Snowdon you big jessie. It’s not that hard. Llanberis path is not steep or technical, just long.

    jkomo
    Member

    Bookmarking this

    greeble
    Member

    bikepark wales in the mix too

    SOAP
    Member

    I’m looking for wingmen for Snowdon on the 1st.

    scruff
    Member

    Snowdon-I wouldn’t do up & down Flanberry’s path again
    but up Snowdon via Flanberry’s and down the Rangers & then Telegragh is well worth it, it really is like a mini Alp. We really enjoyed it.

    Premier Icon jambalaya
    Subscriber

    Contact Bike Brechfa, I’d be tempted to do 2 days there to combine trail centres (Brechfa and Nant-y-A as above) and natural ride like Doethie Valley. I also think a road trip to Wales should count Snowden and Bets-y-Coed to tick all the boxes. Afan is ok and you could do a 2-3 hr ride there (eg W2) en route from Banbury camping at Brechfa after.

    Edit :@scruff what are logistics of up flanberries down ranger/telegragh, what’s climb like (off to check OS maps later 🙂 )

    teenrat
    Member

    Park in Abergorlech and ride the red and black from there via the link at the top. A good ride that takes me about 3 1/2 hrs. The Blue section is a must and is incoporated into the black. Its worth riding the blue twice as if you take the turn off for the black, you miss the last section of the blue. So ride the blue to the bottom, climb again to the top of the blue, and then ride it 2/3 down and peel off to the black.

    Doethie in my opinion has been ruined by the amount of traffic and is a victim of its own success. Yes, the scenary is amazing and for wilderness riding it is brilliant, but the flowing, fast singletrack is now a rutted, boggy, gated disappointment. I actually enjoyed the climb up jims hill and the climb up from the chapel more then the doethie singletrack ( which i9s sayimng something).

    Cwm Rhaeder is ace. Dont be fooled by the fact it is only 6-7 km long. It is well worth it and one on the best trail centre descents i have ridden. It is basically a 3 km climb and a 3 km descent. ACE!!

    Premier Icon molgrips
    Subscriber

    but up Snowdon via Flanberry’s and down the Rangers & then Telegragh is well worth it, it really is like a mini Alp. We really enjoyed it.

    Yep, not only is Snowdon an amazing mountain to ride down, it also comes with an accessible not too difficult ascent which is interesting and varied*. You couldn’t ask for more!

    *from memory, it was a long time ago!

    @ t.i.n.a.s where would you recommend starting/ parking Abergorlech or Brechfa?

    Doesn’t really matter, there’s a cafe called the shed doing really good burgers just up the trail from the black/blue/green car park though (Brechfa?), so worth planning arroud that for a lunch stop, but I can’t rememeber where on the trail the link between red and black is if you do them as a loop, so best to start in a way that drops you at the cafe halfway round.

    Cwm Rhyader is only a few km long, but it’s great fun, kind of like a technical woodland DH track, but for AM bikes, without the uplift, mud or roots. It’s non stop decending one your on the trail and well worth spending an afternoon sessioning it.

    The Gorlech trailhead map claims to have 1070m of climbing which is laughable

    I think all trail centers overestimate, but I think it’s probably accurate if you include all the short sharp climbs of about 10m or so that are factored into the decents or even the tens/hundreds of corners that take your speed and spit you 2m higher up the hill, it all adds up quickly to a better headline figure. But yea, the fire roads and actual climbs which are what you notice are probably nearer 600m.

    The blue/green is more climbing than the black, but the group I was with looked broken after the black whereas I was feeling pretty fresh after the green/blue.

    rusty90
    Member

    Doesn’t really matter, there’s a cafe called the shed doing really good burgers just up the trail from the black/blue/green car park though (Brechfa?), so worth planning arroud that for a lunch stop, but I can’t rememeber where on the trail the link between red and black is if you do them as a loop, so best to start in a way that drops you at the cafe halfway round.

    To do the Shed for a lunch break (open Sat, Sun and bank holidays), start at Abergorlech. Do the red then before the final red descent back into Abergorlech turn right to pick up the black. After the 2nd log bridge on the black (with the log balance lead-in) the trail brings you up to a lane. Turn left here, rather than right, and follow the road down for about 200 metres and the Shed is on your left.
    After your burger or whatever, retrace your tracks and continue up the track to the fire road. You can then turn left to do the final bit of the black down to the car park (or the green, which is even better IMO) or turn right then left to start the big climb on the black and work off your lunch. Follow the black round and it will deposit you just by the start of the final red descent again.

    The blue/green is more climbing than the black

    No way. Much more climbing on the black.

    No way. Much more climbing on the black.

    Not according to the signposts (there’s only a few meters in it though), although the green/blue climbing is mostly on fireroad so possibly seems easier. A 200-300m climb on fireroad is nothing, 200m on singletrack would knacker anyone!

    rusty90
    Member

    My GPS says

    Black
    11.47 miles
    Total Ascent: 1760 ft
    Max Elevation: 993 ft

    Green and Blue
    8.95 miles
    Total Ascent: 1244 ft
    Max Elevation: 791 ft

    And the climbing on the black is much tougher – steep, rocky, muddy singletrack (one of the reasons it’s a black)

    teenrat
    Member

    There is definately more climbing on the black

    mtbmatt
    Member

    Some confusing posts on here regarding Brechfa. To clarify:

    Green: Very easy, designed as a family trail. No huge climbs and no tabletops and nothing that has to be jumped. It is wide, rollable and when taken at speed lots of fun.

    Blue: As the green, but adds an extra section with a fair sized climb then a fun descent with some small table tops.

    Black: 2 big climbs, lots of smaller climbs. Both major climbs are steep in places and lots of singletrack. Mostly man-made but some more natural trails as well. It shares only a small part with the blue descent and officially spurts off half way down, although many people miss this turn and those in the know will ride the blue then add a short fireroad climb back onto the black. It is technical in places and a tough loop overall.

    There is also the Red, but this starts from a different car park. It is possible to link the Red and Black loops to make one bigger loop.

    Cwm Rhaeadr is graded red. 3km fire road climb. 0.5km singeltrack climb, 3.5km singletrack descent. Not a DH or AM track in any way. Everything is rollable, XC bike more than enough. Lots of fun, multiple laps are not boring.

    Doethie I love, but prefer to drop in half way down the valley.

    tymbian
    Member

    SOAP..mail me re Snowdon..

    SOAP
    Member

    Tim …..YGM.

Viewing 29 posts - 1 through 29 (of 29 total)

The topic ‘Welsh road-trip…thoughts, experiences please..’ is closed to new replies.