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Open country routes (S. Wales)

jimothy78jimothy78 Posts: 1,407
edited November 2012 in Routes
Hi all.

am finding my local trails, which are mostly in woodland, to be constantly wet and muddy, and as I'm still learning the ropes, I'm struggling to build up my confidence. The constant threat of all those trees means there's very little margin for error, too, so am trying to find some open (moorland or similar) routes to session to build up my skills in a more tollerant-of-mistakes way.

Any suggestions? I'm based in cardiff, so particularly after anything in the immediate area.

Thanks,
Jim

Posts

  • welshkevwelshkev Posts: 9,690
    jimothy78 wrote:
    Hi all.

    am finding my local trails, which are mostly in woodland, to be constantly wet and muddy, and as I'm still learning the ropes, I'm struggling to build up my confidence. The constant threat of all those trees means there's very little margin for error, too, so am trying to find some open (moorland or similar) routes to session to build up my skills in a more tollerant-of-mistakes way.

    Any suggestions? I'm based in cardiff, so particularly after anything in the immediate area.

    Thanks,
    Jim

    hi mate, check out www.halfwayupmtb.com

    the club's based in blackwood but there's riders from all over. i was riding with a guy from cardiff last night :D

    where do you usually ride? caerphilly mountain?
  • stealfstealf Posts: 49
    Hi Jimothy78
    Try exploring up and around the moor above and around Castle Coch, excellent ground and a damn good playground for 3-5 hours. Admittedly it's better in summer months. Don't be afraid of the trees though, they don't move that much and it's the rocks that you 'may' fall on that will hurt more......
    keep trying and think of your mates saying MTFU - Any pain is only your brain telling you that riding in the wet is too much fun to quit and it is only temporary
    A bicycle ride is a flight from sadness.
    James E. Starrs


    Current Bikes
    1999 Trek 6000 still looking mint
    2007Spesh StumpJumper FSR Elite
    2012 Sabbath September - Ooohhhh is that Titanium?
  • jimothy78jimothy78 Posts: 1,407
    welshkev wrote:
    hi mate, check out http://www.halfwayupmtb.com

    Hi kev - checked out their site after you linked it in another thread a while back - looked a bit advanced for me - am very much beginner.
    where do you usually ride? caerphilly mountain?

    no - haven't been that way - mostly the woods around Castell Coch and Forest Ganol (which I can ride out to from home in just a few minutes). Is the mountain worth trying, wasn't sure what access would be like ?
    stealf wrote:
    Try exploring up and around the moor above and around Castle Coch, excellent ground and a damn good playground for 3-5 hours.

    Didn't know there was any moorland up there :oops: - I've only got as far as the woods. Will check it out, thanks.
  • welshkevwelshkev Posts: 9,690
    jimothy78 wrote:
    welshkev wrote:
    hi mate, check out http://www.halfwayupmtb.com

    Hi kev - checked out their site after you linked it in another thread a while back - looked a bit advanced for me - am very much beginner.
    where do you usually ride? caerphilly mountain?

    no - haven't been that way - mostly the woods around Castell Coch and Forest Ganol (which I can ride out to from home in just a few minutes). Is the mountain worth trying, wasn't sure what access would be like ?

    .

    we're planning on introducing beginner rides for people like yourself mate, my bro and another friend are total noobs :D but there's a huge range of fitness levels there and they always wait for the last man (usually me :lol: )

    which way do you ride up to castle coch? there's a few ways to get onto the mountain and loads more trails than i know of :D
  • jimothy78jimothy78 Posts: 1,407
    welshkev wrote:
    we're planning on introducing beginner rides for people like yourself mate, my bro and another friend are total noobs :D but there's a huge range of fitness levels there and they always wait for the last man (usually me :lol: )

    well that's good to hear - will keep an eye on the website.
    which way do you ride up to castle coch? there's a few ways to get onto the mountain and loads more trails than i know of :D

    I live in Tongwnlais itself, so my usual approach is up the main drive to the car park, then up the track on the right at the castle itself. From there, I've so far tried the "Sir Henry" route that loops along into the edge of the Forest Fawr area and then back down to the bottom of the drive (another time I also took a steep descdent about halfway along, which was very badly rutted).

    Have also followed the main paths round and down through Taffs Well (but the return along the lower Taff Trail was very dull) I chickened out of a steeper descent from the top path on which I was struggling to stay in control - looked like fun, but earmarked for when I'm a bit more experienced.

    Today I had a couple of hours to myself so headed up to the "bomb holes" at the top of Forest Ganol /Rhiwbina Hill and spent an hour or so trying out as many different routes round there as possible - feel like I made fairly decent progress and came away feeling quite positive, despite wiping out on one of the kickers on the way back down.
  • welshkevwelshkev Posts: 9,690
    The road that goes down to rhiwnina there's a bridal way that goes up to the left (coming from castle coch) follow that up through the golf club and what looks like someone's garden. This comes out on the Caerphilly mountain rd. go over the road and you'll see another bridal way on the left. Follow that and you're up on the ridgeway ride :-)
  • jimothy78jimothy78 Posts: 1,407
    Thanks for the tip, just to check, is this the way you mean?

    ridgeway.jpg

    if so, can you recommend a decent way of turning it into a circular?
  • welshkevwelshkev Posts: 9,690
    Yeah that's the one, when I've done it I've gone all the way to rudry - to the maen llywyd pub - and then just turned around and ridden back. But there's tons of trails up there so there's bound to be a circular. Sorry I can't be of more help.

    Do you know castle bikes in Caerphilly? I know they ride up there a lot do it may be worth going there just to pick their brains :-)
  • jimothy78jimothy78 Posts: 1,407
    welshkev wrote:
    Yeah that's the one, when I've done it I've gone all the way to rudry - to the maen llywyd pub - and then just turned around and ridden back.

    sounds a bit far for me - generally my riding has to take place in a three-hour window that includes dropping my daughter off at playgroup, lunch, ride, shower and return to playgroup :roll:
    Sorry i can't be of more help

    nonsense - you've been very helpful, thanks. Will definitely give it a go - will pack the OS map and see how i get on.
    Do you know castle bikes in Caerphilly? I know they ride up there a lot do it may be worth going there just to pick their brains :-)

    No until now, no. I'll look them up.

    thanks again,
    jim
  • jimothy78jimothy78 Posts: 1,407
    Just a quick reply to say thanks, Kev, for the tip.

    Got a couple of hours to myself yesterday afternoon and rode up through Forest Ganol and onto the ridgeway via the golfcourse. Nice ride and looks like there's plenty more to explore. Nice to be riding with a view for once. Time constraints meant that I only got as far as the gate just East of the old quarry/tip (in fact almost exactly where my blue line ends on the map above).

    The round trip from Tongwynlais to this point and back (about 13.5km, 280m climb, judging from the map) took me 2hrs, I'm guessing I'll get faster as I get a bit fitter.

    14425_10152206532785316_55325079_n.jpg
  • welshkevwelshkev Posts: 9,690
    no probs mate, glad you enjoyed it :D

    since this post i've actually been up there again and found a nice little circular route with a mate of mine.

    give us a shout if you fancy it sometime, my bro wants to get out riding and he's quite unfit so it may be a good chance to show him some stuff as well :D
  • jimothy78jimothy78 Posts: 1,407
    welshkev wrote:
    give us a shout if you fancy it sometime

    Absolutely - in fact, anytime you're heading in this direction, just let me know. I won't necessarily be able to join you, as my free time is sorely limited by work and family commitments, but I'd definitely like to ride out with some more experienced types if the opportunity arrises.
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