This is a guest post by Hannah of Visit Wales mountain biking website.
Well, it’s proving to be a fantastic summer of sport isn’t it? To build on the excitement of the greatest sporting event in the world taking place on our doorstep, Visit Wales is challenging people to head for Wales on holiday and have a crack at some medal-themed challenges!
There’s been a whole heap of medals won in the cycling events – both in the velodrome and on the roads – but you don’t need to know your peloton from your keirinto have fun in the saddle in Wales.
Wales offers cycling for everyone – from world class adrenaline-filled mountain bike trails to relaxed pedals through the countryside with some 300 miles of designated cycling routes ideal for all the family.
But don’t take our word for it, we’ve asked Welsh mountain-biking expert, Hannah Taylor to come up with her gold, silver and bronze cycling challenges. Fancy having a go?
Over to you Hannah!
BRONZE – Two-Wheeled Historical Exploration
Travelling through the South Wales Valleys, once a famous industrial heartland, provides a real Welsh experience. Your challenge is to take on a two-wheeled exploration of the former canal towpaths, tramways and disused railways which once bought great industrial importance to South Wales. With over 250 miles of National Cycle Network you’ll be spoilt for choice. Traverse the lush green valleys and stop at one of the many sites of historical and industrial importance along the way. Pubs and cafes can also be found to break up your journey and refuel on tasty Welsh treats.
SILVER – Rugged Riding
Back in 1997 Wales was home to the first of the modern trail centres in the UK. Since then trail centre investment has been huge and we now have lots of purpose built centres offering top quality mountain biking. One such is Nant-yr-Arian which sits high on the mountains just inland from Aberystwyth, and offers stunning high-level wilderness riding. With trails heading out into the epic scenery of the Cambrian Mountains, this is a fantastic area for those who like their riding rugged. Your Silver challenge is to take on one of the three trails on offer. You have the choice of either the black graded Syfydrin or red graded Pendam and Summit trails. If you start early in the morning and pedal hard you could be back at the visitor centre café for 2pm with a breathtaking lakeside view of the red kites being fed their daily lunch.
GOLD – Big Mountain Hike-a-Bike
For a real mountain experience your gold challenge is to get you and your bike to the summit of our highest mountain and back down again. On a sunny day the scenery on the summit of Snowdon is quite literally jaw dropping. There are multiple route options but my favourite is to ascend Llanberis path (there’s almost certainly going to be some hike-a-bike but that’s all part of the challenge) and descend via the Rangers Path and onto Telegraph Valley. Fast at the top and becoming looser and rockier before you hit some tight and steep switchbacks. You’ll be grinning from ear to ear by the time you reach the bottom. Remember to follow the Snowdon Voluntary Cycle Agreementput in place to avoid accidents. It means no cycling on the bridleways between 10.00am and 5pm from 1st May to 30th September.
More about Hannah
Hannah is editor of the Visit Wales mountain biking website MBWales which means she can often be found riding her bike and travelling all over Wales. She’s also head honcho of adventure media production company Maia Media.
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