Where to Ride - North Wales
North Wales is blessed with some of the finest coastal and mountain scenery anywhere in the UK and is readily accessible to the vast majority of the country, making it a fantastic destination for cyclists looking for a great day out.
The trouble is, there's so much to choose from that it can be bewildering and overwhelming deciding on where to go. However, there are some great resources out there for all kinds of riders that will make planning your trip to North Wales quick and painless.
But first we've got our own recommendations for the best family, mountain bike and road ride in North Wales.
Family - Mawddach Trail, Dolgellau
An 18 mile out and back ride on a sublime former railway path with fine views and points of interest, plus plenty to keep the kids occupied. This is the essence of North Wales riding, with a mixture of seascapes and mountain backdrops.
The most comprehensive trail centre experience in North Wales, not to mention the longest established centre in the Uk - it also boasts top notch facilities and the biggest choice of trails. We sample the Red graded Tarw Trail.
Road - Bala - Lake Vyrnwy Loop
At 33 miles, a short sharp blast with the highest road pass in Wales, two exhilarating descents, two magnificent lakeside rides and a great café stop. No roadie could ask for a better half day ride.
For leisure riders, whether long distance tourists or families out for a great day ride, www.sustrans.org.uk offer mapping on quiet or traffic free routes taking in railway paths, riverside, coastal and canalside routes. The flagship route amongst these is Lon Las Cymru. The Lôn Las Cymru North stretches from Holyhead on Anglesey to Llanidloes and the Severn Valley in the heart of Wales. It takes riders through Snowdonia National Park and the Cambrian mountains along traffic free railway paths, minor roads, forestry tracks and ancient coach roads.
Sustrans' new map details how to undertake the entire 137-mile route - and accompanies the Lôn Las Cymru South which continues to Cardiff and Chepstow - as well as providing numerous options for a day ride. The map also highlights most of the other walking and cycling paths in north-west Wales and includes all the major tourist attractions. The full trail map can be ordered from www.sustransshop.org.uk
Cycling Wales offers routes for one day breaks, cycling holidays and info on cycling hire/tour operators.
The foremost authority on mountain biking in Wales is www.mbwales.co.uk which features a comprehensive listing of all the Welsh trail centres, plus information on other recommended routes.
MTB Wales is a North Wales based mountain bike community that boasts over 2000 active members
The best web resource detailing road rides in north wales is Cycling in North Wales site, which also includes the classic Bala - Lake Vyrnwy route detailed above. Another great way to get to know road routes is to look for sportive events in the area. There's nothing like discovering new routes with the company of a few hundred like minded souls and with the backup of an organised event.