Dim ond mynd allan a theithio!
Don’t just head to Wales for the trail centres. As great and convenient as they are, trail centres are only part of what makes riding in Wales so great.
There’s Snowdonia in the North – complete with the mighty Snowdon and its majestic mountain bridleways.
Then there’s the hidden gems of Welsh heartland. Places like the Doethie Valley where the quality of the singletrack and the tranquillity of the beautiful and intimate valley are unrivalled.
1. Doethie Valley
It’s a relentless climb up to the top of the Doethie Valley, round the side of the Llyn Brianne Reservoir and up the byway at Soar y Mynydd, but it gets the climbing done with some epic views for visual relief. The descent’s just as relentless too — a full-on phantasmagoria of singletrack that hugs the side of the valley, delivering roots, rocks and off-camber fun. The highlight: an amazing section of rocky slabs to roll and jump as you please.
2. Snowdon Ranger Path
The narrow window of opportunity imposed by cycling restrictions means most riders tackle it in the winter. Which brings a high probability of bad weather. With this in mind, it’s important to treat the mountain with the respect it deserves; plan for the worst and make sure someone knows where you are. Take a few precautions, time your assault and you’ll find the rewards are well worth the risk.
3. Gower Peninsula
Two landforms dominate the western end of the peninsula: Cefn Bryn — a whaleback ridge that forms the spine; and Rhosili Down — a towering hill of sand and dune grass that guards the western tip. This ride explores both, linking them with a selection of quiet lanes and under-used green lanes to make a good-length medium-grade outing.
4. Elan Valley
Don’t underestimate the severity of this complex Elan Valley route loop over the mountains to the west of Rhayader; it has more ups and downs than the Welsh national rugby team and provides plenty of technical interest too.
5. The Long Gap, Brecon Beacons
The Gap is rightly considered a classic. It climbs high into the Brecon Beacons on great tracks amid awesome scenery. The standard version is a half-day ride but this is a longer version, with more climbing and downhills.
Bonus trail centre: BikePark Wales
Imagine a place where you can turn off a major dual carriageway, park up outside a pristine glass-fronted building, enjoy a lazy cup of coffee, run your fingers across all the latest gear, pull your bike out of the car and hand it to a man who puts it on a trailer, sit in comfort as you’re driven to the top of the hill, choose from multiple addictively good singletrack runs back down the hill, and then repeat ad infinitum.