Welsh Cycling – Tywyn Peninsula Loop

A recent holiday in Wales provided the opportunity for some cycling adventures.

First, a ride around the Tywyn peninsula: https://connect.garmin.com/modern/activity/2887876512

Unfortunately, this was on the one day of the holiday where the weather wasn’t great. That did mean I didn’t boil, but the views were not what they could have been.

My original plan was to follow small roads and NCN routes 82 and 8. I had decided to not use the mountain pass of NCN route 82, as some Google maps research showed it looked semi off-road. Instead I took the coastal A road round to Llwyngwril, then up into the mountains on a road that at least the google car had been down. The climb up from Llwyngwril was brutal. I was almost immediately into the red and was desperately trying to recover when the grade was “only” 15%. I did stop and push for a few yards when I felt I was about to explode. Annoyingly the 10m or so took me to the top! If I’d known I could have ridden it.

Once up the hill, the section from Llwyngwril and Dolgellau was very quiet (0 cars) and atmospheric. The views would have been awesome, but for the mist. The surface was not great (muddy / dusty patches which would have been fine in the dry), but that was expected. What I hadn’t known about were the number of gates across the road. I think there were more than 10 in the few miles section and for each one I had to dismount, then re-mount on a steep, slippy section. All this meant I averaged about 10mph without any particularly big climbs. At the top of the pass (while opening a gate), I spotted a cyclist coming up behind me. It tuned out he had been over the mountains on NCN route 82 and indeed, it was not suitable for road bikes! We chatted on the ride down to Dolgellau. Turned out, he was also a fan of titanium bikes (Enigma).

The climb out of Dolgellau while not as steep as the first, was pretty long and at a testing gradient. This was all on a decent road, until I turned off onto a cycle track for a few km to the A487. While most of the path was decent, there were a few hundred metres covered in sheep poo. This was treacherous when wet and got all over my cleats when I had to stop for more gates! The final cattle grid on the cycle path before the A487 was abit broken down and would have been dangerous on a road bike. This was the last straw and when I saw the turn off from the smooth tarmac of the A487 heading up a tiny lane into the hills, I decided to ignore it. It felt like I was way behind schedule (not that bad in reality) and I wanted to get back to enjoy and afternoon with the family. This turned out to be a great decision as the A road was fairly quiet (I got passed by about 20 cars) and I had an awesome descent to the Machynlleth turn off.

The section along the Dyfi estuary wasn’t as smoothly tarmacked, but the views were good.

After that, the Happy Valley was a beautiful climb and descent.

Followed by a mini time trial from Tywyn back to the cottage.

You can tell it’s Wales where a 45 mile ride leaves you completely shattered.

The only thing I would change is perhaps using the A road round the coast all the way from Tywyn to Dolgellau as I think it would actually be more fun as a road cycle.

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