245 Miles – 25,000 ft Elevation – 6 Days
I have been daydreaming of this one for a while but had to wait for both my body and equipment to be ready. Traveling the length of Wales from Bangor to Swansea with a mountain bike, self-supported and taking in the three iconic Welsh mountains; Snowdon, Cadair Idris and Pen-y-Fan is quite a task.
My love of mountains, hike-a-bike, natural descents, wild camping and route planning all came together to make this a reality. It was a test for me, to see if my research, fitness and technical ability were up to scratch. Luckily through previous challenges I know I have the right attitude to give it some grit and get it done.
Of a rainy evening, I’ll often be scanning through maps, trying to link up bridleways, old railway lines, canals and roman Sarn Helen, and of course, trying to imagine any off-piste mountain terrain to see what might be ridable. Over the years I have built up a few routes that I adore, the plan was to link these together with some of the intimidating Lon Las Cymru, sections of the Wye valley walk and Glyndwr’s Way to create my very own Trans-Wales route that also included 3 legendary mountains.
The route was made using the OS maps route builder for desktop and then exported to my Garmin for navigation. The intention was that this would be the basic route to hit the goals, but my own route knowledge gave room for options along the way, be they harder or easier, depending on how the legs felt and what mood the weather was in!Wales never fails with some stunning views
I was lucky enough to be able to ride the new Lapierre Zesty 29er for this trip, those big wheels roll easily and the light carbon fibre frame was better on the hike-a-bike sections. The geometry worked well for very steep and technical mountain descents while still climbing well, and the plush, active and efficient suspension helped with the big miles.
I packed as light as possible for the first week of spring when I was expecting it to still be frosty in the mornings (just before the clocks changed) in the last week of March. I had planned to sleep in a bivvy bag but I had bunkhouse options along the way if they were needed. Check out what kit I took with me below.Bike:
2019 Lapierre Zesty AM 5.0 Ultimate - stock apart from low rise Renthal bars.
Garmin Edge Explore mounted to stem
Spare inner tube in bottom bracket area frame storage compartmentBlackburn handlebar roll & 10L dry bag:
Mountain Hardware Lamina Z Flame sleeping bag
Alpkit Hunka Bivvy bag
B&M Inflatable pillow
Mountain warehouse sleeping bag liner
B&mountainsM thermal tights
Craghoppers hiking trousers
Thick Merino Socks
Strapped on top of Blackburn bag is a red dry bag containing
Thermarest Prolite sleeping matBlackburn outpost corner bag:
GoPro chest mount, FeiyuTech Gimbal, USB charging plugsEvoc Race saddle bag:
First aid kit
CO2 + valve
Multi-toolEvoc FR Trail Blackline Backpack 18 L:
Water bladder with around 1.5 L at the start of each day
The 750ml bottle on the bike was used at end of the day to collect wild water to boil before using for dinner/morning coffee
Sea to Summit meals and lots of snacks
Camera with battery packs, leads
Jetboil style cooker/gas/spork
Endura MT500 Waterproof trousers and Madison Flux waterproof jacket
Toothpaste, toothbrush, loo roll and deodorant
Cash and cards
Firelighters and spare lighter
Cheapo tarp/groundsheet strapped to the bottom of the backpack
Tent pegs, spare straps and bungee
Fox insulated jacket in a dry bag
Sealskinz Dragon waterproof gloves
Setting up camp under the stars
If I rode this again I could definitely make the route more efficient, but you could take two weeks hunting every trail along the way, there could be so many versions of this route if time allowed. I'm always planning my next adventure, whether it be in the mountains of France, or at home here in Wales. Check out my Instagram
to keep up with my latest adventure!