Wales Tour, summer 2020

Cycle-touring, Expeditions, Adventures, Major cycle routes NOT LeJoG (see other special board)
pwa
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Wales Tour, summer 2020

Postby pwa » 2 Jan 2020, 11:53am

The Good Lady and I are planning a tour starting and finishing at our home near Cowbridge (close to Cardiff) and taking in much of central Wales.

The ride will probably involve picking up the Taff Trail in the Pontypridd area, then heading up to Clun (yes I know it is over the border) and Bala, then to Porthmadoc. At that point we will probably adopt much of Llon Las Cymru for the return leg, up to and including the Gospel Pass before making our way back to Talybont and the Taff Trail for our return to base.

I will find lots of things to ask between now and then, but one thing I have long wanted to know: Is the off-road section of the Taff Trail parallel to the Talybont on Usk Reservoir do-able on a touring bike? I am picturing forestry road with variable roughness and a need to pick a good line, but overall, is it worth considering? I'm not a fan of the 1 in 5 tarmac road alternative with camping gear on the bikes.

richardfm
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Location: Cardiff, Wales

Re: Wales Tour, summer 2020

Postby richardfm » 2 Jan 2020, 10:21pm

I rode the Taff Trail from the youth hostel at the end of Talybont Reservoir back to Cardiff on my Thorn Sherpa loaded with camping gear earlier this year and it was fine.

pwa
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Re: Wales Tour, summer 2020

Postby pwa » 3 Jan 2020, 9:11am

richardfm wrote:I rode the Taff Trail from the youth hostel at the end of Talybont Reservoir back to Cardiff on my Thorn Sherpa loaded with camping gear earlier this year and it was fine.

Thanks. I think that is what we will go with then. We will take it slowly going downhill, seeking out the least rough line.

One thing that surprised me about the Taff Trail, speaking as someone who has ridden it before, is just how close it goes to the site of the 1966 Aberfan disaster. It passes right behind the site of the school. We will be dressed as cycle tourists on holiday, so paying our respects would be awkward. We would look too much like gawping tourists. But I was nearly six years old when the disaster happened and it was the first news item of any sort to penetrate my consciousness. I remember the adults in my family being very affected by it.

pwa
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Re: Wales Tour, summer 2020

Postby pwa » 4 Jan 2020, 9:27am

I have done a lot of walking and other activities in North Wales, but not much cycling. So my knowledge is confined to a few roads in the NW. Does anyone have experience of this road, climbing from Lake Vyrnwy in the direction of Bala. It looks like a cracker. I can see it is a long climb, steeper in places, but I know where I am with that sort of road. But some roads of that sort can get annoyingly busy with traffic in summer. What is this one like? Will we be likely to meet the odd car or will we constantly have a queue of cars behind us?

If it does get busy my answer would be to tackle it early in the morning when most tourists are still having breakfast.

https://www.google.com/maps/@52.8267741 ... 6?hl=en-GB

brynpoeth
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Re: Wales Tour, summer 2020

Postby brynpoeth » 4 Jan 2020, 10:37am

From Llyn Efyrnwy you can take a tiny road to the top of Bwlch-y-Groes, then down the easier north side to Llanuwchllyn, from there a lovely little road to Trawsfynydd
I would fancy stopping at Efyrnwy and spending a day doing laps round the lake

Clun (Llan?) is good, lots of little roads, many with easy gradients
Entertainer, kidult, curmudgeon
Cycling-of course, but it is far better on a Gillott
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pwa
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Re: Wales Tour, summer 2020

Postby pwa » 4 Jan 2020, 10:57am

brynpoeth wrote:From Llyn Efyrnwy you can take a tiny road to the top of Bwlch-y-Groes, then down the easier north side to Llanuwchllyn, from there a lovely little road to Trawsfynydd
I would fancy stopping at Efyrnwy and spending a day doing laps round the lake

Clun (Llan?) is good, lots of little roads, many with easy gradients

Bwlch-y-Groes fills me with dread. We will be carrying camping gear on panniers, and much though I love a good walk I don't relish a long push up a steep hill.

Clun as a name is apparently related to Colne, and is the name of the river. So not related to Llan. It could still be from the ancient British language that Welsh came from.

brynpoeth
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Re: Wales Tour, summer 2020

Postby brynpoeth » 4 Jan 2020, 11:14am

The north side of Bwlch-y-Groes is easy, I should still prefer to ride up than down mind, count the arrows on the map, from Efyrnwy the climb to the Bwlch is quite easy, starts much higher than Llanymawddwy
Clun/Llan obviously should belong to Wales, look at the border, how England stole a bit :wink:
Knighton is in Wales but Knighton train station is in England :?
Entertainer, kidult, curmudgeon
Cycling-of course, but it is far better on a Gillott
We love safety cameras, we love life "597"

pwa
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Re: Wales Tour, summer 2020

Postby pwa » 4 Jan 2020, 11:39am

brynpoeth wrote:The north side of Bwlch-y-Groes is easy, I should still prefer to ride up than down mind, count the arrows on the map, from Efyrnwy the climb to the Bwlch is quite easy, starts much higher than Llanymawddwy
Clun/Llan obviously should belong to Wales, look at the border, how England stole a bit :wink:
Knighton is in Wales but Knighton train station is in England :?


The Welsh word for Clun is Colunwy. I'm not sure it ever was in Wales.

I see what you mean about the Bwlch-y-Groes road. One to consider.

Edit. Playing around on cycle.travel, the more direct route from the reservoir to Bala has a slightly gentler climb, without the steep ramp at the top we would get if we took the Bwlch-y-Groes route. It also offers a very long gentle descent, the sort where you would be pedalling but finding it very easy. That is a good reward after a long climb. Unless you are unlucky and get the wind in your face.

tentman
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Re: Wales Tour, summer 2020

Postby tentman » 5 Jan 2020, 10:07am

I note you are going to Aberfan dressed as cyclists, & will be noticeable. That means you will be covered from top to tail in lycra with funny shoes perhaps?
When I tour I wild camp & dress as a pedestrian on a bike. Strangers have from time to time let me sleep in their gardens because I looked 'ordinary'. Due to the packs of club/sportive cyclists roaming the roads these days non-cyclists can feel threatened by the sight of lycra clad carbon warriors.

Good luck with your trip, sounds wonderful.

Steve
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Re: Wales Tour, summer 2020

Postby Steve » 5 Jan 2020, 2:28pm

The Welsh word for Clun is Colunwy. I'm not sure it ever was in Wales.

I see what you mean about the Bwlch-y-Groes road. One to consider.

Edit. Playing around on cycle.travel, the more direct route from the reservoir to Bala has a slightly gentler climb, without the steep ramp at the top we would get if we took the Bwlch-y-Groes route. It also offers a very long gentle descent, the sort where you would be pedalling but finding it very easy. That is a good reward after a long climb. Unless you are unlucky and get the wind in your face.[/quote]

Road from Bala to Efyrnwy can get busy with people just driving around, it seems popular with those "rallies" where you get a stream of pl*nkers all in the same model of car following each other round scenic roads - having said that, it's much less likely midweek. Lovely routes on a bike. We found Bala to Clun on a tandem with panniers was a full day, but just
manageable (stoker might disagree). Lots of ups and downs.

pwa
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Re: Wales Tour, summer 2020

Postby pwa » 5 Jan 2020, 5:43pm

Steve wrote:Road from Bala to Efyrnwy can get busy with people just driving around, it seems popular with those "rallies" where you get a stream of pl*nkers all in the same model of car following each other round scenic roads - having said that, it's much less likely midweek. Lovely routes on a bike. We found Bala to Clun on a tandem with panniers was a full day, but just
manageable (stoker might disagree). Lots of ups and downs.


It sounds like the Gospel Pass road, which also gets folk ambling around in Morgans etc. The best approach with that sort of road is to get on it as early as possible in the day. Thanks for your advice. My Better Half isn't very cycling fit at the moment so I will be breaking up the route into manageable bite-size pieces around there. I'll also make sure she is pushing the lowest gear I can put on her bike. Hopefully she will still be talking to me after we finish the tour.

brynpoeth
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Re: Wales Tour, summer 2020

Postby brynpoeth » 11 Jan 2020, 8:37am

Near the top of Wales the Migneint is very good, from Bala south of Llyn Celyn, the B road towards Llan Ffestiniog, turn right towards Pentrefoelas, hours of high empty remote country, not too many steep hills
Did this route in the other direction on my longest cycling day so far, 250 km :wink:
Entertainer, kidult, curmudgeon
Cycling-of course, but it is far better on a Gillott
We love safety cameras, we love life "597"

pwa
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Re: Wales Tour, summer 2020

Postby pwa » 11 Jan 2020, 1:58pm

This is partly that route, but we are probably heading more towards Porthmadoc so not doing the right turn. Getting into Porthmadoc without unpleasantness with traffic may prove impossible, in which case we will grit our teeth and just get on with it.
https://cycle.travel/map/journey/135932

pwa
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Re: Wales Tour, summer 2020

Postby pwa » 20 Jan 2020, 4:30pm

Good news on the bike prep front. I've just fitted a 24t (TA) inner ring to my wife's extra low double chainset (now 24/40 as opposed to the previous 28/40) and it works riding up and down the street. I didn't need to adjust the front mech at all, and both rings would work with all 8 sprockets with just a touch of chain rub at the extremes. I know you shouldn't run it to those extremes but it is good to know it can. I just need to take a couple of links out of the chain so it can run small/small without problems, though again that is in case she forgets not to do that. The chain has some excess so I think it's all going to work nicely.

24/40 will, I know, be a pain on rolling terrain, but it is a cost effective way of making very long climbs do-able for her. With her 34t largest sprocket she has a wall climbing gear.

PDQ Mobile
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Re: Wales Tour, summer 2020

Postby PDQ Mobile » 20 Jan 2020, 6:32pm

pwa wrote:This is partly that route, but we are probably heading more towards Porthmadoc so not doing the right turn. Getting into Porthmadoc without unpleasantness with traffic may prove impossible, in which case we will grit our teeth and just get on with it.
https://cycle.travel/map/journey/135932

Port itself and it's environs are quite well provided for in terms of shared paths and quiet back roads.
The route over from the east or south can be made pretty traffic "quiet" but will involve higher routes.
Much depends on how fixed you are on specifics.
I can't claim to know every dodge but I know a few.