Tag Archives: adventure ride

Monmothma

Tim Norris will lead this ride.  He describes it as follows:

You lucky lucky people people. For the second month in a row Tim From Wales brings you something new.

We are going be starting in the historic town of Monmouth and will be going on a ride that begins in Wales, middles in England and ends in Wales again.  Two countries in one ride -a club first??

On the far side of the Forest of Dean lies the Wye Valley; not much of it is legally accessible by bike and much research, begging and borrowing has been done to put together a route in the area that is both challenging and fun.  Many mountain bike guides died to bring us this information!

With a fair amount of climbing either side of the river Wye but with some fun fast descents to make up for it this ride will deliver some fresh trails, views and locations to the club.

Its an Adventure for all involved as the ride leader will be following instructions given to him by another mountain bike guide and as such expect some navigational surprises!

It will be mid November, so please check the weather and dress accordingly.

We may have the opportunity for a pub stop mid ride but there are no planned cafe stops so please bring food and drink sufficient to sustain you on a hilly 4 hour ride.

May the Force be with us…

Tuesday 7 November update

The ride now has a start location. We will be meeting at the corner of the playing fields behind Waitrose. By the roundabout see map below.

There’s plenty of parking in town that I haven’t had chance to check out but we are all adults so find somewhere to park and meet by the red dot at 9.45am.

Weather doesn’t look too bad for the weekend either.

I don’t expect any gnarly or steep bits, just a few mucky tracks no doubt.

However please remember if you are coming that this ride falls under our new “adventure” category. This means I haven’t done an actual physical recce of the route and don’t fully know what to expect, but we will be following (hopefully) way marked tracks and bridleways.

Ride report: A Ding Dong in the Valleys

Words and photos by Tim Norris.

I tried really really hard to deter people from coming on this ride. I told them I hadn’t ridden it. I said we may get lost. I put it on in the middle of October. And I even said there would be no cake. But they came. List it and they will come, and they will expect to be entertained and have a blooming good time. I was up for the challenge.

Perhaps downloading the GPX to my Garmin would have been a good start or bringing a map that started at our start point. How can it actually be to follow a cycle path up the valley anyway? Turns out it was easy, really easy in fact to follow the WRONG cycle path for 3 miles!

So we turned back and I don’t think anyone noticed.

The weather was typically Welsh and autumnal – sunny and dry – and our pedal up the sort of clearly way marked Sustrans Route 465 was really pretty. We rode through some typical Welsh villages and parks, a rugby ground in Abertillery all the while admiring the autumn colours on the trees and on the ground.

At Nantyglo we diverted so everyone could get a look at the “roundhouses”. Oh how they nagged and begged to see these 19th century fortified homes! I hope some one took a picture as I didn’t!

After this we began our ascent of Mulfran. Mulfran is the 5,217th  highest peak in the British isles and the 446th tallest in Wales. I’m sure I remember someone asking me for this info as we made our way up the track.

Here’s where things started to get interesting. My map, and GPS and Jay’s (thanks Jay) GPS didn’t all exactly agree on where the bridleway was atop of Mynydd James so as we at first fought our way through mud and motorcross ruts we then made our own way through the wild grassy hill top trying to find a way down.

What we did find was a cool rock fissure and decided it was a good place for a snack and to take a 100 or so photos.

After leaving the at least one or two of the gang down a hole in the ground we sort of found our way off the hill by way of a storm/water gully that feeds the Cwmtillery lakes. Getting to the lakes meant we would be back on my planned route so there was only one thing for it! Bobsleigh time!

It probably wasn’t the most sensible way off the side of the mountain but, no one got hurt (seriously at least) and we had bagged a special moment that all will remember!

A short climb and hike out the other side of the valley had us on our homeward stretch as we traversed the hills side above Pen Y Bont towards Abertillery. With one final climb in our sights and the Welsh sun (it was Welsh sun) shining on us we headed up for one final treat!

The Penrhiwgarreg woods delivered one final treat as we dropped down through the trees, twisting and turning on a mix of woodland trails and tracks following some sort of memory I had from some Strava research.  With a mixed ability group it delivered enough to challenge but not too much to scare and we all arrived at the bottom without any issues.

What a finale to a great day!

I’m already planning another visit.

A Ding Dong in the Valleys

Tim takes us back to South Wales again and one valley over from the last trip for a bit of a Ding Dong.
We will follow a traffic free National Cycle Route alongside the Ebbw Fach River from Abertillery to Brynmaur – via the quaintly named mining village of Six Bells, hopefully enjoying beautiful autumn scenery and not being drowned in rain.  Then we will head onto Mynydd James and the Coety Mountain where we will briefly enjoy views of Blaenavon and Big Pit before making our way across the mountain and back to our start point.
This route wont be particularly long at 30km but will have around 900m of climbing on a mix of terrain.
This ride falls under the new Adventure Ride category as part of the mountain, although marked with bridleways and access roads, may require some hike a bike or pushing at times. Though Tim is very confident in the terrain as he has lead a ride along one side of the mountain previously, please still be prepared for some surprises.
If the weather is such that the mountain part of the ride becomes questionable there is a back up plan.
Its October so PLEASE bring clothing appropriate for the weather conditions.
Image credit  Rough Guides (https://www.roughguides.com/)
Image Title Guardian of the Valleys