I have been daydreaming of this one for a while but had to wait for the body and equipment to be ready. The length of Wales from Bangor to Swansea with a mountain bike, self-supported and taking in the three iconic Welsh mountains of Snowdon, Cadair Idris and Pen-y-Fan.
245 Miles – 25,000 ft Elevation – 6 Days
My love of mountains, hike-a-bike, natural descents, wild camping and route planning would all come together to make this a reality. It was a test for me, to see if the research, fitness and technical ability were up to scratch. Luckily through previous challenges I know I have the right attitude to give it some grit to get it done.
Of a rainy evening I’ll often be scanning through maps, trying to link up bridleways, old railway lines, canals and roman Sarn Helen, and of course, trying to imagine any off-piste mountain terrain to see what might be ridable, so over the years I have built up a few routes that I adore, the plan was to link these together with some of the intimidating Lon Las Cymru, sections of the Wye valley walk and Glyndwr’s Way to create my very own Trans-Wales route that also included 3 legendary mountains.
The route was made using exactly the steps shown in the planning section. Using the OS maps route builder for desktop and then exported to my Garmin for navigation. The intention was that this would be the basic route to hit the goals, but route knowledge gave room for options along the way, be they harder or easier, depending on how the legs felt and what mood the weather was in!
I was lucky enough to be able to ride the new Lapierre Zesty 29er for this trip, those big wheels roll easy, the light carbon fibre frame will be better on the hike-a-bike sections, the angles work for very steep and technical mountain descents while still climbing well, and the plush, active and efficient full-sus should help with the big miles.
Packing as light as possible for the first week of spring when it was still frosty in the mornings (just before the clocks changed) in the last week of March, sleeping in a bivvy bag but having bunkhouse options along the way should they be needed. Kit check at the bottom of the page.
I’ll let the video do the talking for the trip, I really hope you enjoy!
Sure I would change the route if I rode it again, but you could also take two weeks hunting every trail along the way, there could be so many versions of this route if time allowed. As always I’m very happy to chat about any element of this trip, and help with your route if you’re thinking of something similar, just gimme a shout,
2019 Lapierre Zesty AM 5.0 Ultimate – stock apart from low rise Renthal bars.
Garmin Edge Explore mounted to stem
Spare inner tube in bottom bracket area frame storage compartment
Blackburn handlebar roll & 10L dry bag containing
Mountain Hardware Lamina Z Flame sleeping bag
Alpkit Hunka Bivvy bag
B&M Inflatable pillow
Mountain warehouse sleeping bag liner
B&M thermal tights
Craghoppers hiking trousers
Thick Merino Socks
Strapped on top of Blackburn bag is a red dry bag containing
Thermarest Prolite sleeping mat
Blackburn outpost corner bag containing
GoPro chest mount, FeiyuTech Gimbal, USB charging plugs
Evoc Race saddle bag
First aid, CO2 + valve, space blanket, multi-tool
Evoc FR Trail Blackline Backpack 18 L containing
Water bladder with around 1.5 L at the start of each day, 750ml bottle on bike was used at end of day to collect wild water to boil before using for dinner/morning coffee.
Sea to Summit meals, all snacks, coffee, spares, pump, compass etc
Camera, battery packs, leads, GoPro Session, phone
Jetboil style cooker/gas/spork
Endura MT500 Waterproof trousers and Madison Flux waterproof jacket
Loo roll, deodorant
Cash and cards
Firelighters and spare lighter
Cheapo tarp/groundsheet strapped to bottom of backpack
Tent pegs, spare straps and bungee
Fox insulated jacket in drybag
Sealskinz Dragon Eyewarm/waterproof gloves
Usual winter/spring riding kit/layers from Madison/Troy lee/ION/Five Ten/Santini
If you would like to see a more in depth kit list for the next article please let me know!