Monday, 27 February 2012

Bridgend to Treherbert - February 2012

I crashed at a friends house in a northern suburb of Bridgend and then rode up to Treherbert, expecting the relatively short distance off-road to be a gentle and enjoyable day. It certainly had some good point, but the hills, as ever, were boggy in parts which can reduce even the most composed of us to flipping our 'rigs' over in frustration and cursing the wretched choice of hobby. The locals seem to favour quad-bikes, horses and scramblers. With no engine, I slogged across seemingly endless muddy hills, fighting the gradients most of the way. Although, despite the slog, the panoramic view were fairly excellent and Cwm Saebren was very impressive, fun to ride down and a great way to end the day. Here's the map.
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Ogmore Valley cycle path
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Pen y Foel Trig Point.
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The descent from Pen y Foel, looking southwards. Slippery and fun.
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Trig point on a pseudo-summit of Werfa
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Cwm Saebren
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So, this was pretty goddamn difficult. It might be more fun in summer, when the ground dries out, but this being Wales, that seems unlikely and the traffic from quad bikes and whatever else might just increase and churn the ground up further. If the ground were dry, this would have been a nice morning ride, which could be conquered in a couple of hours or less. In it's current state, I'd avoid this particular ridge-ride and instead get the train straight to Treherbert, and just aim uphill. The village could be circled from the surrounding valley, and that all looks pretty sweet. I'll definitely be heading back to this part of the valleys for some exploration, maybe a overnighter. -C.H.

Monday, 13 February 2012

Merthyr Tydfil to Abergavenny Mountain Bike Ride, Dec. 2011.

This was a ride from december, 2011, between Merthyr Tydfil to Abergavenny. Here's the link to the route-map.
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Phwoar, look at that Tread from the Maxxis Swampthing.
The view toward Merthyr Tydfil.
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Pontiscill Reservoiur.
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Whose that sexy man?
I need a G-Pod.
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This quarry is pretty active apparently. Stones fall down the sides of the quarry and echo. I wasn't freaked out. I'm not a colossal wuss.
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After grabbing a swift pint in Trefil, I headed across the moor (Mynydd Llangatock) north-east towards Crickhowell. The path, initially marked well by, I assume scramblers, soon disappeared completely and I was forced to walk. Then it started snowing.
When I rediscovered paths, it was joyous, however. I rode to Abergavenny along a canal, to avoid the road, althoguh this was pretty dull. The initial half of the ride, between Merthyr and Trefil, was really nice; some interesting terrain and reasonable quality bridalways. The majority of the second half, after leaving Trefil was just a slog across the moorland. For a short day trip, I'd get the train to Rhymney or similar and ride the opposite way I went, going into Merthyr Tydfil, avoiding the slightly draining experience of cycling uphill for a number of miles to escape Merthyr. There are plenty of undulations from quarrying activity that can make for fun diversions from the routes. Additionally, the views towards Pontiscill reservoir, and the various ridges makes for decent views if you're into that kinda thing.