For a cyclist, Wales is criss-crossed by country lanes and perfect for exploring, with thousands of miles of superb riding conditions. Relaxing forest routes and valley trails to get away from it all; the adrenalin rush of ultra technical mountain descents; or tortuous hand carved single track - it's all here in Wales.
And for mountain biking, Wales’ landscape is the perfect setting with its mountains, wooded valleys and rugged trails. There are eight purpose-built mountain biking centres and eight bases.
The National Cycle Network
The National Cycle Network in Wales (Sustrans) includes over 1200 miles (1931 km) of country lanes, canal towpaths and disused railway lines. Exploring by bike is a great way to experience the wonderful Welsh countryside as well as combining visits to attractions, historic sites, towns and of course well deserved pub and café stops in all areas of Wales. There are so many routes to choose from which can be found on their route directory. Each route can be sorted depending on region, route type and distance to match your clients' requirements and energy level.
MBW Centres (Mountain Bike Wales)
These centres are purpose-built mountain bike complexes with excellent facilities, designed to provide thrilling riding regardless of the track standard your clients seek – black, red, blue and green.
Afan Forest Park, near Swansea
The trails at Afan Forest Park have been carved out of hillsides once surrounded by coal mining and has been transformed into a biker’s heaven. The park is home to five world class trails boasting over 62 miles (100 km) of single track trails. There is also the Afan Bike Park which allows riders to improve their riding skill and have hours of winding, swerving fun with berms and jumps.
Antur Stiniog, Blaenau Ffestiniog
The park at Antur Stiniog offers six downhill trails graded blue to black with mountain bike uplift. Mountain bike coaching is also available to riders at all levels. The park has a state of the art fully equipped downhill centre complete with café, shop, showers, bike maintenance and bike wash. There is also an outdoor shop and an information centre in the centre of Blaenau Ffestiniog.
Beics Brenin, Coed y Brenin, near Dolgellau
As the UK's first dedicated mountain bike trail centre, the single track network at Beics Brenin has gradually evolved from natural forest trails to the extensive network of all-weather routes. The gradual refinement of trail construction techniques here, along with a stunning location and mix of broadleaf trees, means that the routes retain a very natural ‘old school’ feel, which is unique to Coed y Brenin. This isn’t your average, gravel trail network, weaving through densely planted Sitka spruce.
BikePark Wales, near Merthyr Tydfil
Find the UK's largest and most diverse selection of descending mountain bike trails at BikePark Wales . The 1200 acre site has over 28 descending trails organised in a similar manner to a ski resort. Built in the heart of the South Wales Valleys, BikePark Wales offers mountain bike trails for intermediate to pro level riders. There is also a beginners trail. Not just for downhillers, this park is best enjoyed on a trail bike, where swooping blues and rocky, rooty red trails are a perfect step up for trail riders. The park offers a mini bus service which transports bikers and bikes to the top in between rides, providing your clients' legs with a little rest before the next descent. For those who wish to reach the top under their own steam there is a single track climb to the summit.
Bwlch Nant yr Arian, Aberystwyth
Located in the forest on a mountain not far from the coast of Aberystwyth, Bwlch Nant yr Arian offers stunning high-level wilderness riding. With trails heading out into the epic scenery of the Cambrian Mountains, this is a fantastic area for those who like their riding rugged. Just be prepared for everything from true mountain climbs to river crossings and technical rocky descents. There is a visitor centre, shop and a café on site.
Cwmcarn Forest, near Newport
The fastest way for southern based riders to get their fix of single track fun and downhill action, Cwmcarn Forest is less than 30min from the Severn Bridges and 10min from the M4. Both red graded trails will keep your clients firmly focused on their riding and whilst stopping for a breather will see views towards the Bristol Channel.
Oneplanet Adventure, Coed Llandegla, near Wrexham
With more than 25 miles (40 km) of carefully graded way-marked trails with a range of trails to suit all abilities, Oneplanet Adventure suits the complete beginner, a seasoned pro for their next adrenalin fix or a family outing. The park has an experienced staff shop, and a café.
Revolution Bike Park, near Llangynog
The park is Uplift only by 10 seater landrovers and custom trailers. There’s a 300 metre (984 ft) vertical drive to the summit followed by miles of trails ranging from smooth freeride to extreme natural downhill. Highlights of Revolution Bike Park include ‘top to bottom Red Freeride trail’ offering three minutes of flow riding with every type of jump imaginable and the world famous 50/01 Pro Freeride, one of the biggest jump lines in Europe.
The variety of trails means that mountain bikers of all levels can have a fun days riding. Average runs per day is about 13-15 with the record being 26.
There are also eight mountain bike bases. These are areas that have cycling routes, mapped trails and natural cross country trails. Many of these centres are in the most stunning areas of Wales making a great location for cycling. Visit Mountain Bike Wales for more information.
New for 2021
Elan Valley, near Rhayader, Powys
The reservoirs, Victorian dams, and open hills is the perfect location for mountain biking and cycling. The extensive network of trails at Elan Valley weave in and out of mountains, valleys and woodland. The graded trails range from red, blue and black loops from 5.6 miles (9 km) to a more enduring 37 miles (60 km), depending on your clients’ skill and endurance. For cycling, follow the Elan Valley trail. Bike hire is available for all abilities, including a selection of e-bikes. There is a visitor centre and a café on site.
Llys-y-Frân Lake, Pembrokeshire
There are 8.7 miles (14 km) of trails at the lake including the purpose built Pump Skills Track for mountain biking enthusiasts. The three trails range from the easy Family Route and the more difficult Reservoir and Woodstock routes. The mountain bike trails are designed to suite all abilities and to challenge and build confidence in the sport. The routes are waymarked and colour coded. Cycle hire is available at the Outdoor Activity Centre and Waterside Cabin, along with changing rooms. There is also a repair shop and a bike wash station.