No Place Better…

I tend to have those place that, despite not being all that technical, I still want to go and ride my mountain bike there. After visiting Llyn Brenig and the Alwen reservoirs multiple times for Wales Rally GB, they have been on my list for a rather long time. Arriving without a yellow helicopter dodging trees and rally cars doing the same, it felt rather quiet! Granted there were still plenty of people around, just not as many as when the WRC spectators pay the reservoir a visit.

I wasn’t expecting the routes to be anything near what I’ve ridden in the past. I was only expecting fire roads really, but I just wanted to see more of the place after only being able to see minimal parts of it at the rally. We started off on the fire road that goes around Llyn Brenig. I was happy just being in the Welsh countryside on my mountain bike. No pressure to go a certain speed or ride a certain way, just being out in the sunshine.

Opening and closing the multiple gates, we found ourselves at a junction of trails. Back to the Llyn Brenig Visitor Centre or to the Alwen Reservoir. After a climb that was a lot tougher that it looked, I was so close to saying let’s just head back, but with the sun out what better place is there to be? We’d only get home sooner to do well….not a lot! Me and my brother don’t get out on the bikes together much, so we may as well make the most of the rare occasion of us both having free weekends to ride our bikes.


Going round¬†Alwen was something I didn’t regret either, as it was definitely closer to single track than Llyn Brenig. We were riding in and out of the forest too, which gave us a break from having the sun warming our backs. The trails were so quiet apart from a few walkers and young families out riding bikes. We couldn’t go particularly fast because of this, but it meant we could fully take in all of the amazing views around us. Those amazing views also meant taking lots of photos, which my brother wasn’t too pleased about ha!

In some sections the trees were that big we could have mistaken ourselves for being in Canada or somewhere in the Alps.

 
“As amazing as the Alps in the snow are, nothing quite beats Wales in the Spring”

 
Riding across the bridge over the pitch black Alwen, I somehow had to put all my faith in a bridge that was no doubt quite old…

Riding over the moorlands and coming to realise just how big the reservoirs were.

It was refreshing to see somewhere new and make the most of this sunny weekend.

Avoiding Pine Cones & Hill Climbs


When I first started doing more cycling on the road, you’d normally find me in the hills. They were the roads I knew most and at the time were what I thought to be the most accessible. When the longer miles were a lot tougher for me, the promise of a good view would always keep me pedalling!
This weekend we returned to the hills on, not a route I’d previously ridden, but through some areas I knew fairly well.

Apparently up the ‘easy’ side of the hill we were climbing…it was a long way up! From what I can remember, there was one small section you could briefly recover before it turned into a long slog up again. I could tell I’d not ridden steep hills for a while!


Following Ryan’s rear wheel, I was actually enjoying the route. It was just good to be out under the blue skies amongst everyone else enjoying the sunshine too. I kind of feel like Mother Nature knew the UK needed a weekend of good weather with everything that’s been going on lately.

Coming up to a junction in he completely wrong gear, riding up the hill around the corner was interesting to say the least. It was an ‘out of the saddle’ sprint just to get up it without having to stop…and I somehow managed it!

What goes up must come down, and approaching a descent Ryan told me I wouldn’t need my brakes, I was desperately trying not to reach for the brakes. Despite doing Downhill MtB for a few years, descending isn’t exactly a skill of mine yet. On closed roads free of potholes I’d probably be a little more confident, but the reality is obviously the opposite!

All the way down, all sorts was going through my head:

‘Don’t touch the brakes, just don’t touch the brakes’

‘Gah you just had to touch the brakes didn’t you’

‘Pine cones….yep definitely need to avoid those!’

I was glad to get off that road….

The ride was quite eventful in some ways to be honest. Riding along a country lane and a bird hunting for food swoops down from a tree above me. It was one of those surreal moments because it so rarely happens.

The time passed fairly swiftly just like the miles. I wasn’t expected the 24 miles my Garmin showed after I pressed the stop button!

Springtime Cycling

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We’d not done a ride with a cafe stop for a while. I just prefer getting back home to a warm drink rather than stopping half way round, but it just felt like the type of day where a cafe stop was a good idea. No record timings were required either with Ryan racing the following day!

With a cafe set in a little Cheshire village in mind, off we went.

Any ride out into Cheshire is a favourite of mine. I just love how there are so many country lanes that intertwine to make up so many different routes.

We even decided to film this ride, so I’ll let the video show you where we ended up.

Let me know what you think!