I have ridden alot around the Brecon Beacons, Black Mountains and the Cambrian Mountains. Its an experience that is always a joy. The roads are quiet, the scenery amazing, the climbing testing and you can always find place new that make this part of Wales a treasure chest of routes for road riders to explore.
Yet I think this is all a bit of a secret. Most people haven't been to this part of Wales to go road riding and experience some of the most perfect riding available to us in the UK. I genuinely believe that its some of the best riding in the UK and Europe, and I have done my fair share of riding in all these countries in search of the best Alpine inspired riding. Sure its different to these countries, but it has a unique quality that makes the experience so rich and rewarding.
What makes it so special? This is a wild part of Wales and indeed the British Isles, while only being 3 and a bit hrs from London. The roads are perfect as the wind through the valleys, up the side of mountains and traverse one rolling vista to another. Wales is relatively small too, so you can get through a huge amount of different geographies and places in a 100km ride making the memories stronger and the achievement more real. More than anything though, it is a fabulous place to get out there and explore, on roads that are just perfect of cycling in its simplest form.
Now, in the hope that others can get inspired and start embracing this part of Wales for riding and hopefully use BaysHill house as a base, I have shared a few rides for the perhaps more 'keen' rider to get you started. In due course I will be running some camps from BaysHill that will let groups of riders come and use the house as a base and its perfect positioning for some training and/or just to get out and enjoy this very accessible cycling mecca.
Click on the link to view and download route(s) via ridewithgps:
The Black Mountain Pass. (50kms) an amazing route over the black Mountains on a wonderful switch back climb over 10kms. If you want to make it shorter and even more scenic you can come back through Trapp rather than going into Ammanford (route here). Alternatively instead of coming down the other side of the pass take the turning off to Trapp 3/4 the way (sign posted) and thats even shorter and still beautiful (route here).
Brecon Beacons & Black Mountains. (90kms) Taking in the Black Mountains before coming up through the Brecon Beacons winding through the mountains and then back along their northern ridge past the Usk Reservoir and into Llangadog.
Llyn Brianne & The Devils Staircase. (120kms) Some stunning views along the largest Reservoir in Wales and then the infamous climb of the Devils Stair case (25% gradient). Then across MOD land which provides amazing clear roads and stunning views of the Beacons to the south before crossing the A40 and into the Beacons for the final leg to Llandeilo. A beautiful yet challenging ride crossing some stunning, iconic and very wild parts of South to Mid Wales. You can make the route shorter on the return by hitting the main roads (or even start in Llandovery) should it all be a bit much.
Breckfa Forest – Llidiad-Nenog – Tapp (70kms) Long winding climbs through quite country roads. You get amazing views into mid wales and are part of the heart of Wales and the Cambrian Mountains. Well worth it even if you want to drive it! If you want to make it less demanding, stay on the Breckfa road and there is also a great pub in Abergorlech for lunch. That route is here.
The Dragon Ride. (200+kms) Obviously not for the faint hearted. This is the toughest sportif in the UK that runs annually and goes near Llandeilo and you can do the route yourself anytime – if you up for the 320kms in a day. Otherwise, this is much of the ride taking in some of the best bits and starting at BaysHill House (missing out Llyn Brianne and the Devils Staircase as above, for another day!).