There are a quite a few tour companies offering rides in the Black Mountains, and they tend to follow the classic big 2 loops. One is up and around the Grywne Fawr reservoir and the other is the Gap. Both great rides, but there is so much more the Black Mountains can offer.
The secret weapon is Siôn.
He’s been riding in the BM pretty much his whole life. Pair this with 25+ years as a tank commander who’s survival depended on his ability to read a map, create a route, and commit it to memory, (there are no pulling maps out of your pocket when you are in a tank!) and you have an unbeatable skill set and knowledge to take you out on a weekend adventure.
I bring my fair share of skills to the game. Where Siôn knows, I am willing to get lost, try something different, and keep things fresh. Whether I am riding something technical blind, encouraging a group up a steep climb, or rewarding them with cake at the bottom, there is a grin on my face.
Our Going Big weekend brings all of these qualities and more to your rides.
Friday is the arrival day. Being local, we get the chance to use local businesses, and the Glebe Barn in Llanbedr is our base. Comfortable, spacious, with bike storage and wash on site, and a pub across the road. We will settle in and get to know each other before the weekend really starts. Friday night out for a meal is optional, and we will book for those who would like to eat.
We will also introduce you to our onsite bike maintenance man, John at Brecon Bikesmith. He is on call for the weekend for any emergencies, or if anyone needs a chat or full bike check before starting the weekend. He is with us all weekend for advice, help, or call outs. Advice is free, but normal rates apply for any services you require.
Saturday starts with a simple but filling continental style breakfast of porridge, eggs, fruit, cheeses, etc. A packed lunch and cake will be ready for you to take on the ride, and we will aim to be pedalling from the front door by 10am.
Approx 45km and 1300m of climbing and descents
We won’t be pedalling long before we start out first climb. It will be a mixture of road and bridleway very steep in a few places that may require a push. But soon, we will be out on the open mountain while we follow a gradual climb to the top on grassy slopes taking in the incredible views from the top of Crug Mawr.
We then head into the Mynydd Du forest to choose a descent for the day. We have choices of stone and rock gullies or grassy and twisty through the trees. We have our favourite for sure.
When we hit the bottom we will do a short transition by road to head to the Grwyne Fawr Reservoir climb. Most rides descend this path, but we think it better suits a technical climb with it’s steady manageable gradient up with some rocky sections to test your skills.
A scenic break for lunch will help break this up, and maybe even a surprise visit by our lovely catering van providing a hot or cold drink, cake, or top ups with anything else you may need.
The climb ends with the reward at around 700m a fantastic view of the Dragon’s Back and a rocky Rhiw Cwnstab descent down the side of Y Das, over 2km and 350m drop.
Then onto the final climb and the fastest descent ever. We hope you have fuelled well, because the last climb will test your legs. Its not long but it definitely has a bit of a bite. We end up at Bwlch Trumau, just below Waun Fach, ready to head down the fastest grass highway we know. Again, most rides climb this almost 4km descent but we will be whooping our way down.
Returning to the Glebe for post ride rehash and cake, and maybe a cold beer or cider from the fridge.
Saturday night is out to a local pub for dinner and more stories from our ride.
Sunday starts the same with breakfast and lunch. We ask they you pack up, but you can leave your things in the barn to collect on our return. We are giving your legs a small break on day 2, but not much.
Approx 35km and 850m
We start this day with a scenic spin through the bridleways, byways & quiet roads to get to our first climb up onto the shoulder of Brynarw. This is a good mixed climb, which is quickly rewarded by a fast single-track descent & on down a rocky lane.
Then we head to the classic Queen Head climb, that is steep on the road to join a bridleway, down again then we kick back up a techie climb onto the open mountain. Once the climb is out of the way we enjoy the views and the history of this gradual pedal up. The infamous Revenge Stone is found along here, and an ancient highway that has caught out a few youth on their way to a rave by following Sat Nav blindly :D.
We then have a fun and fast descent down to the Grwyne Fawr Reservoir road. And here we do a little of day 1 in reverse.
A scenic break for lunch, and maybe even a surprise visit by our lovely catering van providing a hot or cold drink, cake, or top ups with anything else you may need.
We climb into the Mynydd Du forest picking our way through some tech and fire road, but definitely a chance to recover for the final big descent.
The is the 3km down of Blaen yr Henbant that has speed galore. Once we end back at the road we are a short pedal back to the barns.