(This post has been created in collaboration with Halfords)
As you know I have dabbled in a bit of rollerblading. The trouble is you need smooth tarmac surface to rollerblading and I’m finding it difficult to find good tarmac locally. So I was thinking of switching over to biking… or even mountain biking.
Where To Begin?
Well I guess if I’m going to switch over from rollerblading to mountain biking the first thing I need to consider is getting a mountain bike. I know nothing about mountain bikes so I was so pleased to find out that Halfords has published a Beginner’s Guide to Mountain Biking! I trust Halfords knowledge – it’s where I would automatically go to look for a bike. So having read through this guide has been a big help. Pretty much I need to visit a Halfords and sit on a bike! Find the right size, a comfy seat and hey presto! Of course I would need to invest in all the safety gear including a new helmet as mine is designed for rollerblading.
Where to go Mountain Biking in Snowdonia?
Luckily for me, I live in Snowdonia which is fast becoming the outdoor adventure capital of the world*! It is the most AMAZING place in the world! I’m a stonesthrow from Snowdon itself which does have plenty of walking trails which could lend itself to mountain biking. The views up there can’t be beaten but mountain biking on Snowdon would be difficult due to the sheer volume of people walking.
* OK possibly a slight exaggeration but in my opinion, it is.
1) Antur Stiniog – Blaenau Ffestiniog
No I would give Snowdon itself a miss and instead I would head back to my hometown of Blaenau Ffestiniog where Antur Stiniog have dedicated mountain biking trails. The trails are in the mountain above Llechwedd Slate Caverns and weave through the old slate quarry setting. Sounds PERFECT for me right?!
World renowned mountain bikers have visited the trails including Marcelo Gutiérrez – check out his video of the Antur Stiniog black trails here! Although the more I look into Antur Stiniog the more I’m thinking that it’s not the best place for a beginner like me to start. They do have some blue runs here but not many. This is more for those expert mountain bikers.
2) Beics Brenin – Coed Y Brenin
Set in the beautiful forests of Coed Y Brenin near Ganllwyd (between Trawsfynydd and Dolgellau), Beics Brenin offer trails to suit all capabilities. Green and blue runs for beginners like me, and red and black runs for the experts among us. The trail I would love to do is Yr Afon Trail which is the green trail that takes you along the rivers Cain and Mawddach. It’s quite a long circuit at 10.8km so maybe not yet suitable for my girls. But it would be a good place to start for sure.
3) Dyfi Mountain Biking – Machynlleth
A little farther afield but technically still in the Snowdonia National Park (I think!) is the Dyfi Mountain Biking trails near Machynlleth. We visisted Machynlleth recently for the comedy festival and I must admit, I had never considered how beautiful the area is – it’s stunning! As I say, I don’t know the area well but from my brief trek and limited views during the Wales Rally GB – one of the routes would be using the forestry roads around Corris. Substitute rally cars for mountain bikes and you have yourself a trail!
4) Llyn Mair – Maentwrog
Above Tan Y Bwlch there are two lakes and plenty of forest roads. It’s a lovely place to go mountain biking. Starting up at the top at Llyn Garnedd you can cycle around the lake (stop off for a quick dip if the weather’s fine). Alternatively you can cycle down to Llyn Mair and further down to Plas Tan Y Bwlch and the Oakley Arms. If you do the whole downhill circuit be warned that the hill back up from Oakleys Arms to Llyn Mair is a killer!