Y Ffordd Galed – The Hard Way … done the hard way. With a sense of spring in the air, a group of adventurous cyclists from VeloAdventuresCardiff and FixedBeers Race Team (from London) set off from the workshop on Saturday 5th of March, to tackle one of Nic’s notoriously hard routes.
At just over 100 miles (175km) with nearly 10,00ft (2800m) of climbing, and the promise of miles of scenic double track forest roads and quiet lanes there was an air of excitement and anticipation as the group headed out of Cardiff, northward towards Gwaelod village. The route heads through several iconic points on the way to Brecon; Llanwonno forest with a spectacular panoramic views of the Brecon Beacons and stunning forest tracks, Rhigos mountain, The Devils Elbow and Sarn Helen.
Arriving in Brecon, with just under 100km ticked off, and having battled a chilly north-east head wind all the way, the warmth of the café, coffee and some hot food was very welcome. The route then meanders along canal paths and quiet lanes, through Talybont and on to Llangynidr, before steadily climbing up a scenic valley to the cwm beneath Trefil quarry. The route then follows a steep, rough and rocky bridleway, making for a difficult climb to make the quarry ridge, with only two of the group not having to resort to pushing. From Trefil the route uses a dismantled railway to reach the outskirts of Ebbw Vale, before climbing to make the ridge and Manmoel common.
As the sun was now setting, the riders were treated to a fiesta of sunset colours, as the orange, red glows reflected off the sparse clouds, the splendour helping to make the memories of the days tough climbs drift away. Reinvigorated, we pressed on, through quiet lanes to Bedwas and Caerphilly and finishing off the ride cruising down the Taff Trail, to the workshop for some hot food and a few beers.
You can keep up with Nic’s ride preparations for the Bristol-Glasgow-Bristol 1600km bikepacking trip on his Instagram account.