Trans-Cambrian Cycling Epic
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Join us on this epic adventure, riding right across Wales from Swansea to Bangor, a highlight of our 2019 cycling calendar.
Experience the heady beauty of the Heart of Wales, a deeply sculpted pastoral landscape virtually free from cars. Take in the moorland majesty of the Cambrian Mountains, and then to cap it all off, revel in the stunning Snowdonia. Our route has been specially designed for OutdoorLads, taking in some of the best roads and passes in the Cambrian Mountains - a road cycling version of the Cambrian Way, or a tweaked version of Lon Las Cymru.
We will be staying in bunkhouses, and you are encouraged to pack light to best enjoy the mountains. You can use traditional panniers or try one of the new specialist bikepacking bags that fit on your seat post.
You will need reasonable fitness for this ride, as we will average 95km / 60mi and 1300m of climbing each day, in very remote areas. Don't worry too much about the number of days however - if you are ok doing 50+ miles in one day you'll be fine. There are also dropouts each day for trains home. If in doubt, please message the leader.
See the image below for an overview of the route, and click here for all the routes in ridewithgps. You are strongly encouraged to take the routes with you in case you want to ride at a faster/slower pace than the main group. That said we will wait for slower riders.
Starting in Swansea, we will take the famous Black Mountain Road to Llandovery. From there we’ll ride through the secret valleys of the Heart of Wales - quite likely the best part of the ride - before staying overnight at the remote Dolgoch Hostel between Llanwrtyd amd Tregaron. Please note, there is no electricity at Dolgoch so you will not be able to charge your phone.
We’ll ride down towards Llanddewi Brefi (of Daffyd fame!) then up through Cymwrystwth and into the high majesty of the Elan Valley. Crossing the watershed of the Cambrian Mountains we’ll ride past a string of reservoirs, before passing through Rhayader and the secret valley of Abbeycwmhir, staying overnight at the Mid Wales Bunkhouse about 1km from Pant-y-dwr and 6km from Rhayader.
Day 3, Monday 15th - Route
Day 2 in the Cambrians. We’ll take in Bwlch y Groes, the highest paved pass in Wales, before arriving at Bala Lake, where we’ll stay overnight at Bala Bunkhouse about 2km outside Bala itself.
Day 4, Tuesday 16th - Route
Today we have our final hit of Cambrian moorland on our way over to Ffestiniog, then we head into Snowdonia, taking in the best mountain roads beneath the foot of Snowdon, taking Telford’s road over the Nant Ffrancon Pass (although we could switch to Pen-y-pass if anyone is inclined!). We end in Bangor where there are frequent trains back home (see below).
What to bring
BIKE: a road bike, 'gravel/adventure bike' or touring bike - ie with with drop bars. This event will be all on road so taking your best road bike is recommended.
STORAGE: panniers or a specialist bikepacking bag
CLOTHING: We suggest you bring two changes of cycling clothing and wash it at the hostels. Bring one set of casual clothes for the evening, we suggest thin walking trousers and walking top. If you use SPD-SL or Look pedals you'll probably also need some very lightweight shoes. For those of us using SPD-MTB we don't need them, this is where they come into their own!
HIKING/TRAVEL TOWEL: for the hostels (alternatively you can hire one at cost)
LIGHTWEIGHT LOCK: not a D lock!
Earplugs are also usually helpful at hostels. Bedding has been provided at all three overnight venues, so no need for a sleeping bag.
Plus the usual:
Helmet: OutdoorLads requires you to wear one
Footwear: suitable for your bike and pedals
Gloves: cycle gloves help avoid blisters
Punctures: spare inner tube, bike tyre pump and tyre levers
Tools: any special tools that your bike needs
Small snacks: such as chocolate or energy bars (for day 1)
Plenty of water: in bottle/s on your bike or in a daysack/bladder (for day 1)
Medicines: if you have hay fever, diabetes, minor ailments etc.
Eye protection: avoid getting grit or insects in your eyes, sunglasses are OK if they are not made of glass and not too shaded
Sun cream: take care, even on overcast days
Bike lights: be seen and safe
Food & drink
Food is not included. Due to the remote nature of this event food sources have been carefully planned, and you will need to pick up snacks for the next day when it’s suggested by the leader.
At the Dolgoch Hostel there are no local shops or pubs so you may need to help the group by carrying something for our dinner during the afternoon ride and breakfast. We will do a lunchtime stop to pick up supplies. At this point you will also need to pick up your food/snacks for the next day. Alternatively (most likely!) the leadership team will do a supermarket delivery order for dinner and a light breakfast once we have your dietary requirements from the register, the leader will confirm at the start of the event.
At Mid Wales, we will stop in Rhayader for personal supplies, and then will head out for a pre booked pub meal nearby or we will arrange for the hostel to cook for us. The pub is approx 1km away. We will likely want to cycle to the pub. So bring LIGHTWEIGHT trousers and a lock ;) We’ll arrange for the hostel to provide a light breakfast for which there will be small charge.
At Bala we are about 2km from the town and it’s a long day so we’ll likely eat in town before heading to the Bunkhouse. We might treat ourselves to a breakfast in town the next day whilst picking up supplies!