Kit P

Mountain passes and river valleys — riding Route 82 in Wales

Hanno Rathmann (CC BY-SA 2.0)

Mountain passes and river valleys — riding Route 82 in Wales

Bike Touring Collection by Kit P

5

Tours

21:15 h

176 mi

12,800 ft

The western side of Wales is a mish-mash of extraordinary landscapes piled upon each other; a collision of rugged, scree-covered mountains, crashing waterfalls and empty beaches. With a long history of mining and freight railways, the possibilities for traffic-free cycling are huge on these disused trails.

National Cycle Route 82 is still being developed but large sections are open, ready to receive misty-eyed cyclists who’ll marvel at the landscape while they sweat up breathtaking climbs and freewheel down heart-soaring switchbacks. Starting in the north-west at Bangor, the route will eventually connect all the way to Fishguard in the south-west of this stunning, rural country.

For now, the middle sections are still under construction, although it’s still very much possible to ride the gaps too. In this Collection, I’ve brought together the open sections of Route 82, each wonderful (and challenging) by itself. Most Tours sit at around 30 miles (48 km) with considerable elevation gain and loss. The final stretch from Lampeter to Fishguard is much longer, at over 60 miles (97 km) but can be broken in two if you’d prefer, by stopping at Cardigan or one of the small towns along the River Teifi.

All the Tours take place on tarmac roads, gravel trails or other firm trails so I recommend using a hybrid, touring or gravel bike. The routes all start and end in towns with excellent accommodation and food options, with the exception of the Bangor to Lake Ogwen Tour. There is a youth hostel and snack kiosk though.

Travelling through Snowdonia and later having the backdrop of the Cambrian Mountains, you’ll always be riding under the watchful gaze of Wales’ wonderful peaks. That does mean, however, that your thighs won’t thank you. There are some outstanding valley sections though, where rock towers above you and rivers rush alongside. No matter where you are on Route 82, you’ll be surrounded by enough beauty to keep you going.

Thanks to the train station at Bangor, you can reach the start easily from Manchester, Birmingham, Cardiff and further afield. Trains at Aberystwyth and Fishguard go to Birmingham and Cardiff respectively, for connections to the rest of the UK.

On The Map

Tours & Highlights

  • Intermediate
    01:36
    10.8 mi
    6.8 mph
    1,175 ft
    200 ft
    Intermediate gravel ride. Good fitness required. Mostly paved surfaces. Suitable for all skill levels.

    This route is largely traffic-free and the few roads you’ll cycle on are quiet and pretty. Start in Bangor, a lively seaside university city which has plenty of shops where …

  • Difficult
    04:36
    33.3 mi
    7.3 mph
    3,075 ft
    3,050 ft
    Expert gravel ride. Very good fitness required. Mostly paved surfaces. Suitable for all skill levels.

    This 33-mile (53 km) Tour has got everything from vast estuary views and rivers to mountains and dense forest. Pedalling along quiet roads and cycleways, you’ll challenge yourself on some …

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  • Difficult
    04:14
    34.0 mi
    8.0 mph
    2,700 ft
    2,725 ft
    Expert gravel ride. Very good fitness required. Mostly paved surfaces. Suitable for all skill levels.

    Starting in the beautiful town of Dolgellau, this Tour is hilly from the get-go with some challenging climbs and outstanding descents. At 34 miles (55 km) long and with an …

  • Difficult
    03:36
    33.1 mi
    9.2 mph
    1,525 ft
    1,175 ft
    Expert gravel ride. Very good fitness required. Mostly paved surfaces. Suitable for all skill levels.

    Starting in the seaside university town of Aberystwyth, this Tour follows a significant portion of a disused railway. 33 miles (53 km) long, you’ll get most of the 1,500-foot (460 …

  • Difficult
    07:13
    64.9 mi
    9.0 mph
    4,300 ft
    4,700 ft
    Expert gravel ride. Very good fitness required. Mostly paved surfaces. Suitable for all skill levels.

    Your final day on Route 82 takes you from the pretty town of Lampeter on the River Teifi, to the coast at Cardigan and then on to the port town …

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Collection Stats

  • Tours
    5
  • Distance
    176 mi
  • Duration
    21:15 h
  • Elevation
    12,800 ft

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Kit P

Mountain passes and river valleys — riding Route 82 in Wales