The Brecon Beacons and the Black Mountains are home to some truly fantastic riding, but they are often considered somewhat confusing. For one thing, there’s the Black Mountain on the west side of this large range of hills and the Black Mountains (which geographically seem slightly smaller) on the east. The Brecon Beacons sit in the middle of the two. Even more confusingly, the whole lot, Brecons and both Blacks, fall inside the Brecon Beacons National Park, and so can justifiably be referred to as the ‘Brecons’. It's enough to make your head spin.
But disregarding such etymological bafflements, the riding really is awesome. It shares some characteristics with the riding to the north in Snowdonia as well as further south in places such as the Quantocks and Exmoor. There are long, grinding climbs, white-knuckle descents, smooth and easy going trundles as well as hell-for-leather routes, all under the glorious (if frequently wet) skies of South Wales.
Some of these routes offer little in the way of respite if the weather does turn, so it’s a good idea to plan ahead and take spares, snacks and waterproofs with you. While there are few actual honest-to-goodness mountains, the weather can turn on a sixpence. But many of the Tours are rideable in all weathers, if you’ve got the enthusiasm and (importantly) the legs!
South Wales is easily accessible from the majority of the UK via the M5 and M50 (head to Ross on Wye and keep on going), or from the M4 if you’re coming from the south. The best place to use as a base is probably Abergavenny for its accessibility: i’s the closest to the motorway, and it’s the only place in the area with a train station. Brecon itself is a little harder to get to, but if you want to start riding from your doorstep then Talgarth is a great spot.
Riding The Gap is probably a rite of passage for mountain bikers in the Brecon Beacons. There are a few permutations to get to The Gap itself, the saddle between Cribyn and Fan Y Big, but this one is a classic. It'll likely take longer than three hours to ride it, though. And, as ever, it's best to keep…
Not to mince words, but this is a huge ride. If you fancy some epic riding, some Alpine-like ascent meterage and white-knuckle descents, then this is the route for you. It's best to allow an entire day for this one, and it takes you to some pretty exposed places, so it definitely pays to be prepared…
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This is a ride which takes in perhaps some of the lesser-known aspects of riding in the Brecon Beacons and the Black Mountains, as it circles Llangorse Lake (Llyn Syfaddan).
Although a lot of the ride is relatively low level, it does occasionally wind its way up the open hillside, so best to pack a rain…
Nay-sayers may try to tell you that Blorenge isn't even in the Brecon Beacons, but a quick look at the map will disabuse them of that notion. You may have to concede that it sits on a little spur of the National Park all of its own, though.
Don't be fooled - Blorenge has much to offer beyond being the…
This is an easy spin starting from Crickhowell, which is good for a post-prandial pedal, or a family ride. There is a small climb at the very beginning, but there's nothing too taxing!
The route starts with a climb up from Crickhowell towards Coed Cefn. It's pretty straightforward, though, and the reward…
This ride is a bit of an epic. It’s a full day out with plenty of ups and downs to enjoy, although all those hills are spread out over quite a long distance! The Tour is named after the principal component - Sarn Helen - an old Roman road which runs under Fan Llia and Craig Grrig Geisiad, although that…
Talybont on Usk is the starting point for a variety of awesome riding. This Tour is no exception, including as it does some cracking descents, some stiff climbs and a whole lot of Welsh mountain biking fabulousness.
From the village, the route strikes south along the old Brinoire Tramroad, gently climbing…
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