Monthly Archives: February 2015

The Gap

Trail centre: Natural – Brecon Beacons.

Grade: Red

Length: The Gap road itself: 7km (4.3 miles).  Routes that use it: various, but somewhere just over 20km is the shortest.

Start point: The Gap road itself runs from somewhere below the Neaudd reservoirs South of Pen y Fan (say grid ref. 035174, co-ordinates 51.847, -3.402) to somewhere in Cwm Cynwyn North of Pen y Fan (perhaps 037237, or 51.902, -3.402).  However, a circular ride taking it in would be better started from Talybont on Usk (honesty box parking next to the town hall) or from Brecon itself, although this means a rather longer route.

Description: The Gap is an iconic route for mountain bikers in South Wales.  It is an ancient pony track that leads straight over the top of the Pen y Fan ridge – not far from the highest point in the Brecon Beacons and the highest point in the South of Britain (although I’ve never been entirely sure what that means).  It’s the closest you can legally ride to the top of Pen y Fan itself.  What all this means for mountain bikers is that it’s a long, interesting, challenging, but relatively gentle climb on good rock, gravel, and occasional loose stone, followed by an excellent long rocky and completely rideable descent.  As with many natural rides, the route that you take to get to and away from the Gap are just the prologue and the epilogue to that one section of trail.

I’ve ridden it from Talybont on Usk.  Follow the Taff trail out of the village over the canal, across the dam at the foot of the Talybont reservoir, and up the long climb through the forest on the other side.  After emerging from the trees at the top, turn left on the road and follow it up and over the crest of the hill and down to the first track on your right.  Take this and keep right so that you contour round and meet the foot of the Gap road.  Keep right at the crossroads onto the rough track that starts to climb.  Shortly you’ll find a large gully that isn’t terribly rideable, and may involve getting wet feet depending on the weather, but after scrambling back out of it it’s all pretty smooth sailing as you climb the track up to the ridge.  Pen y Fan is the highest peak to your left.  Cross the ridge between Cribyn and Fan y Big, and begin the epic descent.  Enjoy it!  At the end, basically make your way back along the lanes to the canal, and then back to Talybont.  There’s a byway at the start that’s a bit of pain to ride, being a narrow gully lined with holly and brambles, and later on there’s a bridleway across a field that might be passable in summer.  Essentially it’s up to you how much you want to stick to lanes and how much you want to find more cross country routes.

Good stuff:  The Gap road in its entirety (with the exception of the unrideable gully).  The descent is long and great fun, the climb is interesting and a pleasant challenge.  The contour track just before you reach it is an easy blast too, but massively overshadowed by the later awesomeness.

Difficult stuff: The climbs are long, and can be troublesome if you’re out of practise.  Some of the surface on the way up is loose and quite tricky.  Other than that, it’s a relatively straightforward ride.

Verdict: An excellent route to ride, and an essential in South Wales.

Leave a comment

Filed under Brecon Beacons, Natural, Red, Trail centres, Trail grades, Trails, Wales

On-trail issues: hydraulic brakes locking

Issue: Brakes jam on after a short section of descent.

Damage: A distinct lack of fun.  Pedaling required even when going downhill.  The problem appears to be that as the brakes get hot, something expands and locks the brakes on, meaning that the issue will not solve itself even if I’m not actively braking – because the pads are still contacting the rotor.

Remedial action: At the time, the only remedial action that occurred to me was to break up the descent.  I’d ride for a bit, feel the brakes overheat and lock up, and then take a five minute brake until the rotor was cool enough not burn through my gloves, and then carry on.  This worked fine, but didn’t help the fluidity of the ride.

Ways to avoid: It’s highly unlikely that the rotor or the pads are expanding – they’re designed specifically not to.  This more or less leaves the brake fluid, which also shouldn’t expand much.  Air, however, does expand a lot when heated.  Therefore the solution is bleeding the brakes.  I’ve tried a quick fix for this before where you turn the master piston upright, open it up and jam the brakes on, and leave it for fifteen minutes or so.  This seemed to temporarily help.  However, now it seems like I’ll need to actually bleed my brakes.  See the ‘bleeding brakes’ post (when I write it).  As for the causes of this, I’d imagine that my bike is supplied with fairly cheap parts, which I’d imagine is part of the problem.  Similarly, being stored outside with fluctuations in temperature and sub-zero temperatures no doubt doesn’t help.

Leave a comment

Filed under On-trail issues, Other stuff

Bike Park Wales – The Blues

Trail centre: Bike Park Wales

Grade: Blue (trail sections Sixtapod, Willy Waver, Melted Welly, Blue Belle, Norkle, Bush Whacker)

Length: Various – short sections.

Start point: BPW trail head.  Turn off the A470 near Merthyr Tydfil, somewhere South of the A465.

Description: The trails at BPW are like short, intense versions of the ones you find elsewhere, and as such are generally towards the top of the trail grading.  The blue sections are like the hardest bits of blue trails elsewhere.  As such, every one of them is great fun, and definitely worth riding.  The blues are typically not terribly challenging, but have plenty of fun for the bad mountain biker, and are without doubt a good place to start at BPW before trying things with more heft.  Take them at speed.

Good stuff: All of it!  Blue Belle is a particular favourite, thanks to more varied riding and carpets of bluebells (how unexpected…) in spring.  Norkle is also a fun short blast to the visitor centre.

Difficult stuff: Nothing hugely tricky.  Some places get a bit sketchy at speed, particularly the more intense bits like Bush Whacker.  There’s a berm that seems to end early and throw me every time I ride it, too.

Verdict: Excellent, fun, flowy blue trails that offer enough of a challenge to be interesting, but not so much you think you’re going to die.

Leave a comment

Filed under Bike Park Wales, Blue, Trail centres, Trail grades, Trails, Wales

Bike Park Wales – The Climb

Trail centre: Bike Park Wales

Grade: Blue

Length: 4.6km (2.85 miles)

Start point: BPW visitor centre.  Turn off the A470 near Merthyr Tydfil, somewhere South of the A465.

Description: Otherwise known as the Beast of Burden, this is in some ways an afterthought at Bike Park Wales.  The vast majority of people use the uplift service, and as a result the climb trail tends to be very quiet indeed.  It’s possible to climb on fire roads, but I wouldn’t recommend it.  The nicely planned singletrack avoids some very steep sections, and makes for an altogether more satisfying ride.  There’s little to be said about the trail itself.  There are some nice features, but essentially it’s simply a way to get you to the top for the real riding.  Worth mentioning that the first time is a bit of a killer, and it gets tiring once you’re tired, but the second and third climbs seem to go pretty smoothly.

Good stuff: Not really what this one’s about, but the woody rooty section towards the top is quite fun.

Difficult stuff: Nothing hugely tricky, although a steep climb on a cold start is a bit nasty, and there’s a steep rocky hump feature between a tree and a crag early on that’s very awkward if you get it wrong.

Verdict: Not thrilling, but does exactly what it says on the tin.

Leave a comment

Filed under Bike Park Wales, Blue, Trail centres, Trail grades, Trails, Wales

Bike Park Wales

Whereabouts: South Wales

Where specifically: Gethin woodland close to Merthyr Tydfil.  Turn West off the A470 opposite the A4060 on a roundabout.  It is not currently terribly well signposted, but look for the Cognation sponsored cafe signs.

Trails: An incredible and ever growing variety of trails, split into short and largely interchangeable sections.  A list here would be meaningless, and rather missing the point.  Don’t go to BPW to ride a specific trail.  Go to ride all the trails you possibly can.  Range from green to black and on to ‘pro’ lines.  See the more specific pages for more details.

Why should I go there? Ah, Bike Park Wales.  It’s a new experience in UK mountain biking.  A simply unbelievable range of trails has been built up into the hillside, with planning permission granted for plenty more.  There’s a single climb trail that takes you to a single trail head, and from there you can choose from the two black, two blue, and one red start to the trails.  However, starting on the blue doesn’t mean you have to stick to it, as red trails split off and in any case, once you hit the fire road that splits the park halfway down, you can happily change your mind and pick a different colour – or head back to the top.  Pre-booked uplift will have you repeatedly at the top without knackering yourself.  It’s also a vibrant community hub for mountain bikers, and you can expect to see young kids with better equipment, more technical skills, and less fear than I’ll ever have, as well as posers with excellent gear and no skill at all, as well as young, old, and everything between riders who’re there for the endless fun.  It is, perhaps, more aimed at downhilly type riders than others, but there’s plenty of excitement to be had for cross country mountain bikers as well.

Facilities: Toilets, very few showers, excellent cafe (serving BPWs own beer and outstanding burgers), bike workshop, bike hire, high end bike shop, uplift that can be booked for the day or for single trips, pump track.  Other stuff in Merthyr.

Leave a comment

Filed under Bike Park Wales, Trail centres, Trails, Wales

Dynamic Riding

I’m not sure that’s the right word.  I’m not sure that better mountain bikers would recognise what I mean by the title.  Maybe it means something else.  I’m not sure.

What I do know is that one of the key differences between riding to get somewhere and riding for fun is the manner in which you ride.

People who ride only to get somewhere seem to see a bike as a device for moving slightly quicker than walking.  It’s a thing that converts potential energy into kinetic energy, and converts chemical energy into potential energy slightly more efficiently than legs alone.  As such, thinking about cycling itself consists of remembering to get the bike out of the shed and making sure it’s pointing the right way before getting on, sitting down, and setting off.

This, of course, is fine.  It’s all true.

However, people who cycle for the joy of cycling have a tendency to think more about the action of cycling itself.  It becomes something that you do anyway, even when commuting on a bike.  And one of the key differences mentioned above is the use of dynamic cycling.

It is demonstrably possible to ride a bike as if you are a sack of potatoes with legs.  You sit on the saddle, pedal, steer, and eventually the bike will get you where you were going.  Tackling harder routes and surfaces, and wanting your ride to be exciting and fun, means that you need to ride differently.  Dynamic riding can, perhaps, be broken down into three categories of things to consider.

Part one: the bike.  This is arguably only a little to do with riding, but means that you need to consider the bike itself.  Choose one that does what you want it to.  Maintain it properly.  Set it up correctly.  When actually riding, this consists of using the gears (as discussed on the ‘basic techniques’ and ‘gears’ pages) to alter the way the bike behaves on changing terrain.  Anticipate changes.  Read the trail ahead and change gear accordingly.

Part two: weight.  If you don’t mind me saying so, you weigh a lot.  A lot more than the bike, assuming that you’re not riding either a heavy downhill rig or a cast iron relic.  However, far from being a problem, this weight is helpful, because once you are in your ‘standing up for fun’ position (as opposed to ‘sitting down for work’) your weight is firstly suspended on the natural suspension of your arms and legs, and secondly exceptionally mobile.  Shifting your weight is an invaluable thing to do when riding.  Shift your weight back when braking, or when a trail feature causes you to slow down suddenly.  When approaching drops or jumps, shifting your weight back and off the front wheel will allow it to float over the features and allow your back wheel to follow through.  You don’t even need to go to the effort of trying to hold the front wheel up, simply moving your weight away from it will do the trick.  Keeping your weight balanced between the wheels when standing up to climb will keep traction on your back wheel – without which you just slip, stall, and put your foot down.  A dubious line can be made easier to ride by keeping your weight heading in a straight line while you flick the wheels of the bike to one side onto solid ground.  Slippery surfaces that slant to one side can sometimes be ridden by leaning the bike away from the slope and keeping your weight above the wheels.

In short, experimenting with actively moving your weight around the bike will provide you with an incredible toolkit that will solve some teething issues and provide ways of riding things that you thought impossible.  It also, perhaps more importantly, helps to give you the feeling that it is your control and skill that got you through whatever difficult section you’ve ridden.  It makes it a great deal more fun.

Part three: pumping it.  In short: use your arms.  In medium: use your arms and legs.  In long: as has been mentioned your own weight is by far the most significant lump of mass on the bike, and so to get the most efficient use out of the energy that you’ve put into the ride, you need to be able to manage where it goes.  Freewheeling down a rolling section of singletrack and blithely ignoring what’s happening underneath you will mean that every rise robs you of speed until you slow to a crawl, every dip will be another sudden acceleration, and every corner will be a surprise.  Pumping the trail is a little difficult to describe in general terms, but the basic idea is that you use your arms and legs to get the most out of each change in the trail.  With each small rise you compress your arms and legs, allowing the bike to rise under you and part lifting it up the slope.  As the trail drops again, straightening your arms and legs will give the bike and extra kick of speed.

That is the essence of pumping the trail.  More advanced stuff will talk about manuals (or ‘wheelies’ as most of us called them before reading mountain biking magazines), and any number of other things, but these are rather beyond me.  Essentially the point is that reading the trail and learning to react to it will make your riding better, more efficient, and more fun.

 

Leave a comment

Filed under Other stuff, Technique

Climbing

Ah, climbing.  Let’s face it, this is the reason why a lot of people don’t ride much.  As much as the appeal of flying down long downhills or weaving through some complex singletrack might draw you out onto the hills, the idea of climbing the hills to begin with puts people off.  Perhaps it shouldn’t.

 

Alternatives to climbing:

Option one: Choose your routes.  Sometimes you can mountain bike without much in the way of serious climbing.  Some manmade trails are made largely on the flat, and it’s possible to find natural riding that is as well.  Problem solved!  The difficulty here is that it also means you miss out on all the headlong downhills, the swooping berms, the speed that can mean you get (occasionally unintentional) air, and in short you lose a huge amount of the fun of mountain biking.  You also lose a lot of the benefits, as it is the sustained effort of climbing that will do the most to improve your stamina and fitness.

Option two: Pedals vs. feet.  You could simply walk the climbs.  Sometimes this is absolutely necessary, as there are occasionally sections of trail that just get too steep, too loose, or otherwise too technical to ride, so a hundred yards of walking is completely necessary.  Even Danny MacAskill walked up onto bits of the Cuillins, and he’s a god among mountain bikers.  However, let’s say your average manmade mountain bike trail is twenty miles long.  Typically that means ten miles of climb.  Maybe that’s an hour and a half on a bike, perhaps more, but on foot and dragging a bike it’s more like four hours of walking.  Wet, cold, tedious, uninspiring walking that will completely put paid to any wish to go out riding again.

Option three: Uplift.  A potentially more viable option is to take advantage of uplift services where they are available.  You load your bike onto a trailer, load yourself onto a minibus, and get driven to the top of your chosen trail in comfort and warmth.  Lovely.  Bike Park Wales has uplift as an integral part of their model, and indeed the vast majority of riders take advantage of it.  Cwmcarn offers uplift services as well.  However, there are distinct disadvantages to this.  Firstly, you lose out on the fitness and stamina benefits of completing a grueling climb.  Secondly, it’s expensive.  To get a day pass for uplift at Bike Park Wales is £30 or so, which is more than I typically want to spend for a days riding.  They do single use passes as well, but even that will quickly become expensive.  Thirdly, and perhaps most controversially, I personally find that the idea somewhat cheapens the mountain biking experience.  Much as I’m panting for breath and cursing halfway up a climb, there is a huge sense of achievement in reaching the top under your own steam.  You pause for a breath and a drink, you take in the views that you’ve slogged upwards for hours to see, and then when your legs have stopped shaking you clip back into the pedals and turn your bike to the section of singletrack that you’ve been dreaming about.  It will be all the more satisfying because you’ve earned it.

Fine, there’s hills on my trail, there’s no uplift, and I don’t want to walk.  How’s this done then?

I am not claiming it will be easy.  The first few climbs will be painful, exhausting, breathless, unpleasant trials.  The first thing to note is that the more you ride, the easier it gets.  Ride the same trail again after a few rides and you’ll be amazed at how comparatively easy the climb is.  You’ll pass all the places you stopped to gasp for breath last time and wonder why you felt you had to stop there – because this time you feel fine.  Stick with it.

I’m on a road!  If you see a climb ahead, change down through the gears and sit down.  Generally speaking, ignore the temptation to stand up and stamp down on the pedals – this only makes it more exhausting in the long run, since you’re having to throw your body weight around as well as the bike.  Again, sitting down to climb gets a lot easier as you get stronger, but it’s definitely worth it.  Taking a more passive approach to climbing leaves you more able to quietly daydream away long sections of monotonous but necessary climbing.  In terms of gears, you should find one where there isn’t too much resistance to you pushing the pedals round, but equally you’re moving forward at a reasonable rate.  A good compromise in gearing will result in a pace that you can maintain for a good long time, and will mean that the climb falls away behind you surprisingly fast.  There’s no denying that it’s more difficult when your muscles are cold, and when you’re tired.

I’m on a smooth track!  Basically the same as above.  Sit down, change down, slog it out.

I’m on a horse!  Silly.  Get a bike.

There’s a sudden steep bit!  Saying sit down to climb doesn’t mean you have to stay glued to the saddle.  If something’s unmanageable, stand up and give it some more welly.  In the long run it’s more exhausting, but for short bursts it provides more power and control.  Sit down again once it’s over.  It may also be worth shifting up a gear at this point, as the perfect gear for slogging out a climb may be a bit low for standing up.

There’s a sudden loose and rocky bit!  Stand up, pay attention.  Keep your weight nice and balanced over the bike – resist the temptation to lean forward as this will leave your back wheel with little or no grip.  Pick a line and ride through.  Frankly, if it gets too difficult, walk it.  No-one’s judging you.

I’m on singletrack!  This is where the advice runs out and immediate experience has to tell you what to do.  Read the trail ahead and ride accordingly.  Smooth, gentle climb?  Sit down and pedal.  Steep, rooty bit?  Stand up and ride it.  Up and down section that looks like fun?  Stand up and enjoy it – don’t bypass the fun of good sections of trail by categorising them as climbing.  There are some excellent climbing sections to be had on some trails, and they’re well worth enjoying for themselves, not just for the downhill bits they eventually lead to.

There’s a dip!  Well, great, what are you whining about?  Freewheel for small dips, and adjust your riding for big ones.  Change up as you come over the crest of the hill and down as you reach the bottom of the dip.  Try to get some speed up that will help you up the start of the next bit of climbing.  Try not to let your gear changes lose your momentum.

One thing that I find helps is to know where I am on the trail.  Often on manmade trails in the UK, the climb is mostly on fireroad and the downhill is mostly on singletrack.  So if you note where the balance changes on the map, that’s likely the end of the climb.  Once there, it’s all fun.  Get there, enjoy the satisfaction of the ache in your legs and the fact that you’ve made it.  Have a drink, have a breather, get to the more fun bits.

Leave a comment

Filed under Other stuff, Technique

Gear Cables

At present, I have only replaced my front gear cables, so this post will be limited to those.  More on the rear once I’ve replaced them as well – which may not be too long as the outer to the rear cable is fraying as well.  Again, this is the procedure with my bike, with external routing, trigger shifters and standard derailleurs.  Others may be different.  I also made it far more difficult for myself than it needed to be, so this is the version missing out my mistakes.  It’s also worth noting that it’s pretty much an identical process to replacing a guitar string, for those who’ve done that…

Stuff you’ll need:
Replacement cables.  I’m not an expert on these, but judging by the fact that I bought fairly generic MTB gear cables and they fit without any problems it seems like there’s some pretty standard fittings.  Having said that, I have Shimano shifters and bought Shimano cables, so maybe that has something to do with it.
Screwdriver.  A decent sized cross-head screwdriver with a reasonably lengthy shaft on it.
Pliers.  Possibly not totally necessary, but makes the whole thing easier.
Cable cutters.  I’m not saying it’s not possible to change cables with standard wire cutters or even a kitchen knife, but I will say it’s a great deal better with cable cutters.  Cutting cables with other things frays the end of the cables and deforms their shape, giving them weak points.  It’s also going to be a minor nightmare getting through them, whereas the cutters will manage them with ease.
Hex keys.  You don’t have hex keys?  How on earth are you maintaining your bike?

Step one: Remove the cable end on the old cable.  You’ll notice it’s been crimped to the cable, so grab it with pliers or the crimpy bit of the cutters, and squeeze it back until its round.  Then give it a sharp tug away from the cable and it should come off easily enough.  Alternatively, cut the cable just before it.

Step two: Release the cable from the derailleur.  Release the hex bolt that holds the cable grip until the cable comes free.  I think it’s a 5mm hex bolt, but experimentation should find the one you need.  Give it a couple more turns, as it’ll be a lot easier to get the new cable in if there’s a little space to work with.

Step three: Un-route the old cable.  Pull the cable outer out of its braze-ons around the seatpost and pull the outer off the inner cable.  Make sure you keep the outer.  Do the same at the handlebar end, and you’ll find you have a length of bare cable trailing out of the shifter.

Step four: Free the cable from the shifter.  Looking at the shifter from the end of the handlebars, you should be able to see a plastic cross-head bolt nestled in behind the shift levers.  You might need to loosen off the brakes to get decent access to it.  Undo the plastic bolt (it’s very short and should come out on the end of the screwdriver), and push the cable through from the other side.  The ball end of the cable should appear, and you can grab it and pull the whole cable through the shifter.  If you’re me, this step also involves examining the shifter and unscrewing every screw you can find, and ending up with a pile of irrelevant bits of shifter and no closer to working out how the cable comes out.  Don’t bother with that, experience tells me you’ll feel like a fool.

Step five: Cut the new cable to length.  Lay the ball ends of the old and new cables together and cut the new cable to the length of the old cable, allowing for the bit that you might have cut off to remove the cable end.  Do the same with the outers, cutting two new outer sections the same length as the old ones.

Step six: Prepare your outers.  Put an end piece (provided with the cables) on each end of each section of outer.  This will stop the outer from fraying and splitting from the end.

Step seven: Restring your bike.  Thread the cable through the shifter in the same way you took the old one out (it might need a little gentle poking to go through) and pull it all the way through.  A couple of tugs on it should ensure it’s seated nicely in the shifter.  Thread it through the longer section of outer (if your cable cutters have produced a nice clean cut it should go through quite easily), and then seat the outer in the braze-ons that it came out of.  Do the same with the outer that sits under the saddle.

Step eight: Reattach to the gears.  Click the shifter into the lowest gear.  Put the end of the cable securely in the cable grip.  Grab the end of the cable with pliers and pull it nice and taut, and tighten the cable grip nut while keeping the tension on it.

Step nine: Finish the job.  Stick a metal cable end onto the end of the cable and crimp it on tight with the crimpy bit of the cutters.  Make sure the end of the cable doesn’t catch on the cranks or anything else.  Adjust your gears so that they work nice and smoothly again.  Chances are the limits on the derailleur won’t have changed significantly, so your adjustment will be just changing the tension on the cable slightly by adjusting the screw on the shifter.  Put the bolt back into the shifter to keep water, dust and general crap out of the shifter, and sit back with a self-satisfied grin because you once more have a bike that will stay in gear.

Leave a comment

Filed under Maintenance, Other stuff

On-trail issues: cable splittage

Issue: Your front gear cable outer frays and splits.

Damage: None serious, but the bike won’t stay in gear, and so realistically that’s the end of your ride.  Best hope it’s within twenty yards of the start.

Remedial action: None at the time.  The bike should stay in the lowest chainring, so if you fancy pinwheeling your way home you could do that.  Once home, replace at least the outer of the cable, and ideally the whole cable.  See the gear cables post.

Ways to avoid: It’s difficult to say what exactly might have caused this.  There are a few possibilities.  Cheap gear cables may be an issue, and what with replacing the things you now have the ideal opportunity to upgrade to better ones.  Cable routing that means the outer hits the frame might exacerbate the issue, although in my case the split was nowhere near any problem areas like that.  Nevertheless, altering the cable routing to carry them away from the frame might help, as well as adding some tape to try to help with any unavoidable contact.  The last, and I suspect the most important, factor is storing the bike outside in sub-zero temperatures.  This will make the plastic of the outer brittle and more prone to split.

Leave a comment

Filed under On-trail issues, Other stuff

Afan trail centre

Whereabouts: South Wales

Where specifically: Two start points, but they’re both up the same road.  Leave the M4 at junction 40 and follow the A4107 towards Cymmer, following the valley through a number of villages.  Keep straight on all the way and you’ll eventually come to the Afan centre on the right.  Stop here for Penhydd, Blue Scar and others.  Carry on along the road and follow brown signs down a sharp turning to the left towards Glyncorrwg.  Round a sharp hairpin bend and straight on down through the village, and eventually Glyncorrwg ponds and trail centre are on the left.  Stop here for The Wall, Blade, and Skyline.

Trails: Rookie (green/blue), Blue Scar (blue), The Wall (red), Whites Level (red), Blade (red), Penhydd (red), Skyline (red), W2 (black), Rheilffordd (DH).

Why should I go there? Quite simply, it’s tough to ask more of a trail centre.  You could happily spend a long time just riding the trails.  Blue Scar is an excellent blast of a blue graded trail, the red trails range from the relatively straightforward Penhydd through the Wall and Whites Level and into the intense and challenging Blade, and then on into the remote Skyline.  Links turn the Wall and Whites into the multi-climb monster W2.  There’s an incredible amount of riding here to keep any bad mountain biker (or good mountain biker) interested.  It’s also within a reasonable striking distance of Cwmcarn, the Forest of Dean and Brechfa, as well as natural riding in the Brecon Beacons and the Gower.

Facilities: At each of the start points there’s a cafe, a bike shop, workshop and hire place, an extensive car park, toilets and showers.  Miners museum at Afan, and fishing and a campsite at Glyncorrwg.

Leave a comment

Filed under Afan, Trail centres, Wales