by Menai Holidays
I first came across mountain biking when I lived in the French Alps one summer. There you can put your bike on a chairlift and get taken up the mountain all for the sole purpose of letting gravity and your two wheels hurl you down. Since moving to the mountains of North Wales last year I have come to realise I have moved to one of the best mountain biking spots in Britain. With around 5 purpose built trails and trail centres spread across the region including Britain’s oldest trail centre, there is plenty to pick from and a huge variety of terrain. Now we are coming into winter this is the perfect time to get on your bike and have some muddy adrenalin-fuelled fun. Let me introduce you to a few of my favourite North Wales mountain biking trails and you decide for yourself whether North Wales is the Mountain Biking Capital of the UK?
Britain’s first dedicated trail centre which was originally selected as a potential downhill race course site in the 90’s. Now a thrilling trail centre offering kilometres of singletrack trails from gentle 3km loops up to 38km aiming to suit all kinds of riders. I have met riders who have travelled here from all over the UK to experience the buzz and none have left disappointed. This centre is one of my favourites and as a thrill seeker, I would highly recommend the MBR trail to experienced riders. This covers a selection of different terrains from rock drops, rock gardens, beautifully carved out burms and well kept table top jumps. This is a real treat for riders who love all styles of riding. Don’t fear if you have never tried mountain biking before as there are trails tailored especially for those who are new to this sport, or have never tried it at all. The shop can hire out bikes suited for all the trails on offer here.
This trail is absolutely stunning, set in the mountains behind Betws Y Coed. Expect big climbs and fast, rocky descents. A friend recently chose the top of the first climb as the place to propose to his fiancé. A tranquil spot where the forest opens out to reveal the whole valley far below. She later exclaimed that she was so excited she didn’t know how she managed to get to the bottom in one piece. Only one trail is on offer here. It’s tricky, fluid and gets the heart racing.
This is a very special experience heading up the highest mountain in Wales. Most of the trail up is rideable, with some sections that require a push. The first time I rode this, a friend and I picked the most beautifully clear, sunny Wednesday evening. As we reached the summit of the mountain we were met with views over Anglesey all the way to Ireland with the Isle of Man and the English coastline by the Lake District clearly visible. This may be one of the most striking views I have ever been met with. Of course we were on a mission and picked the rangers path which provides a fast rocky descent with some tricky loose scree sections. This route requires gusto, enthusiasm and prior mountain biking experience. It must be mentioned that there is a mountain biking ban over the summer months between 10am and 5pm. Riding this route is only possible outside of these hours and of course this route is shared with walkers so respect and vigilance is also a necessity!
This post has only scratched the surface of opportunities for mountain biking in North Wales. There are many more places to explore including the trail centre Llandegla and the uplift services at Antur Festiniog and Revolution where you can really let rip down the mountainside.
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