Passes the Lairig Ghru and Lairig an Laoigh. Highest points very rough. Lairig Ghru becomes boulder field at its highest point and the path disappears. Good, clear trails otherwise. Inadvisable in winter. REMOTE
Kingussie is perhaps not the first port of call one might make when mountain biking in this part of the world - although it speaks volumes about the area that there are plenty of prime opportunities for mountain biking here. There are plenty of places
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 for a few miles. The route then drops down towards the reservoir, before turning back on itself and running down to the dam. From here, it follows the Caerfanell downstream a short way before yet more climbing up to the northern Talybont Forest (confusingly, there is more than one!). There are a variety of fine trails here, but on the slopes of the hill as they are, you’ll need to work to find them!Eventually, the route begins to wind back to the village, where refreshments await. Talybont is a pretty little place, and it’s the best place to start and end the ride; there are a few shops and a couple of decent pubs, and there are places to park. In terms of access, as usual, public transport is hard to come by - the nearest station is Abergavenny, which is quite a ride away, so this one is best reached by car.
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 names after the principal component - Sarn Helen - an old Roman road which runs under Fan Llia and Craig Grrig Geisiad, although that’s not the only Roman road the route follows. There’s nothing hugely technical to be found along the route, although naturally things get a little more tricky if there’s been rain!Starting from Sennybridge, the route drops due south, past Defynnog, and broadly follows the Afon Senni upstream before climbing up to meet the Afon Llia at the base of Fan Llia. From here, it joins Sarn Helen, a Roman road which in this instance is very bendy but mercifully free of drastic gradient changes. It is broadly downhill for most of the route’s duration, though!From here, the route kicks out west, before heading up and over another Roman road, the Heol Cefyn-y-gaer, back through Defynnog and back to the start.Sennybridge is a natural starting point; although it’s a small village, there’s a pub and a couple of shops for refreshment. As is so often the case, though, there’s little public transport availability!
Riding the Gap is probably a rite of passage for mountain bikers to the Brecons - you can't really consider yourself a veteran Brecons rider until you've done it. There are a few permutations to get to the Gap itself - Bwlcy ar y Fan, 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 an eye on the weather.From Talybont on Usk, the route gains height as it passes the Talybont reservoir, before heading down an occasionally boggy and then rocky descent to the Pentwyn and Pontsticill Reservoirs. Then it's up, up, up all the way to the Gap itself, and the delectable descent (rough going at first, becoming easier) north.Even then, he descending's not over, though. The Three Rivers Ride section towards Llanfrynach is a great little section of trail that's not to be missed, and the wind down along the canal back to the starting point means that you often arrive in Talybont on Usk with a real appetite.This ride starts in Talybont, or you could start it in Pencelli with the canal section as a warm up. If you're approaching from the south, Pontsticill, or the carpark at the reservoir, is probably your best bet. The nearest station os Merthyr Tydfil, but it's not the most pleasant ride to reach the route - this one is probably best approached by car!