Cycling in Snowdonia

July 6th, 2017

The Welsh coast’s stunning scenery and beautiful landscape is the perfect place to explore on two wheels; so dust off the bike, pump up the tyres and join us on a cycling adventure fit for the whole family.

It’s true that there is a lot to see all along the Welsh Coast. And it’s not just coastline and beaches, but historic towns, medieval castles, industrial landscapes, spectacular bridges, ancient monuments and lively resorts to name a few of the treasures just waiting to be explored. And all too often, the best of the Welsh coast is missed when you’re whizzing past in a car, so why not take to two wheels instead and explore our fabulous coast by bike?

On ‘yer bike

Since Bradley Wiggins pedalled to an historic win in the Tour de France a few years ago, along with the successes of Team Sky and Team GB, headed by Welsh coach Dave Brailsford, cycling has enjoyed something of a resurrection along the roads, lanes and tracks of Wales. Hopping on a bike to work or for pleasure has suddenly become extremely popular, and in fact, cycling is now one of Britain’s fastest growing sports.

And it’s not just a hobby that’s being taken up by serious lycra clad speed demons, but more and more leisure and family cyclists are taking to their bikes. The health benefits are just one of the reasons that are convincing people of the power of pedals. Cycling is a low-impact activity so it is kind to bones and joints, but is also a complete body work-out. The leg muscles are used to propel the pedals, the abdomen and back muscles help to retain balance and absorb shock from bumps and holes in the road, and arms and shoulder muscles are engaged to support the entire body at the handlebars. Regular cycling will also improve fitness, stamina and sleep quality, and reduce body fat and blood pressure. And that’s not to mention the sense of emotional well-being that comes from exploring the great outdoors, spending time with family and friends and leaving behind the usual daily stresses for an afternoon.

Explore the Coast

Heading out on two wheels is a great way to explore the Welsh Coast, whether or not you live along it or visit regularly. Leaving the car at home and travelling a bit slower is a great way to see things you might otherwise miss, and explore areas that wouldn’t be accessible.

In Wales, there are over 13,000 miles of the National Cycle Network, which is a UK wide network of cycle routes and trails created by charity Sustrans. Currently about 30% of the network in Wales is designated as “off-road” and so are safe for use by the whole family, but Sustrans hope to develop many more in the coming years.

Coastal Routes

And there are plenty of coastal cycling routes to choose from in Wales. The Mawddach Trail is one of the most popular cycle trails in the North Wales, and runs for almost 10 miles between the coastal town of Barmouth and the market town of Dolgellau. The route passes through two RSPB reserves and much of the estuary flats are designated as a Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI). What’s also special about the Mawddach Trail is that it is flanked on the other side of the estuary by the dramatic foothills of Cadair Idris and some of south Snowdonia’s most stunning mountain scenery. And if you fancy a break half way, then the George III in Penmaenpool is a great pub stop to top up the fuel levels. But don’t forget to carry some change – there’s a small toll charge for pedestrians and cyclists who wish to cross the iconic Barmouth bridge, although the spectacular views are well worth the fee!

Another of the Welsh coast’s finest cycle routes is the North Wales Coastal Cycle Route, much of which is traffic free. The route extends between Holyhead on the island of Anglesey, all the way to the Welsh border at Chester. The cycle route is almost 100 miles long, and really is the best way to explore the panoramic coastline of North Wales. Explore the quiet lanes of Anglesey with beautiful views across the Menai Straits, to the bustling resorts of Rhyl and Prestatyn, and call in at the historic town of Conwy with its imposing castle and revolutionary suspension bridge.

The route, which is part of the National Cycle Network Route Number 5, includes a 34 mile stretch of off-road cycle path between Talacre in the north east and Penmaenmawr, so if you’re up for a challenge, try to complete this part in one day! Of course, the coastal views are beautiful, but you’ll also catch a glimpse of the Clwydian Hills, and the squat promontories of the Great and Little Ormes at Llandudno.

What are you waiting for? After all, what better way to explore the Welsh coast than on two wheels, with the wind in your hair, a sense of freedom in your soul and feeling of weary satisfaction over a well-earned drink at the end? Happy cycling!

Cycle Safety

Follow these tips to make sure you stay safe…..

  • To cycle on any UK road you must have: a red rear reflector, pedal reflectors, a white front light and red rear light (for the dark), front and rear working brakes.
  • A helmet is essential (although not a legal requirement)
  • Pay close attention to what’s happening around you.
  • Wear bright clothing in the day and reflective clothing at night to ensure you are seen.
  • When you turn left or right don’t forget to use the appropriate hand signals.
  • Be aware when cycling past parked cars – a door could open unexpectedly.
  • Remember that large vehicles have blind spots, so they may not be able to see you from all angles.