A classic loop of the Brecon Beacons in the shadow of Pen y Fan — at 886m, the highest point in southern Britain. The trail takes you through the notorious ‘Gap’ between Cribyn and Fan y Big.
That's one climb and one descent
Whilst not strictly true there is a little up and down, although you could look at this ride as one climb to the descent. While this may sound a little daunting it is a bit of an exaggeration. The climb to the gap is fairly gradual with a couple of steeper rocky sections to keep you on your toes.
I'd wanted to do this ride for a while having seen several write ups of various routes. However I didn't really fancy doing it on my own as it is a mountain ride in Wales and the weather could always play into things. So when the @UKMTB_Chat group ride was organised to ride the Gap, I was there.
What a brilliant turn out and perfect weather today for our Gap group ride today☀️— UKMTB_Chat (@UKMTB_Chat) September 8, 2019
Massive thank you to everyone that attended and helped out with the planning and guiding, you’re all stars. It was great to meet so many new faces!
Now to plan the next one... 😏#UKMTBChat pic.twitter.com/KfLyfS0gd2
It was with a little trepidation that I set of early on a Sunday morning to meet up with people I'd only briefly exchanged tweets with. After all what could possibly go wrong? Of course nothing I met up with the rest of the riders, 13 in all set off and 13 returned. It was a mixed group of varying abilities and fitness but there were no egos and no man was left behind. Although there were some that were delayed with punctures.
Riding the gap
The ride itself is very pleasurable, starting with a climb out of talybont on Usk that gains 500m in around 8 km, the climbing continues until a distance of 20km has been reached. At the 20km point the climbing is done and you are at the Gap between Crybin and Fan y big having gained 650 m of altitude. All this climbing does sound a little daunting, but the majority of it is at a steady gradient, there are also a couple of rocky climbs and descents to keep you amused on the way up. The scenery is pretty decent as well, this is providing of course the the Welsh weather is playing ball. We had a great day of sunshine and clear skies whilst not being to hot, I can only imagine what it would be like if the weather closed in.
So having riding for 20km and got all of the climbing out of the way it's time to get down from the heights of the Brecon Beacons. And boy is this a good way to get down! A 4 km descent dropping 400m, rocky with the occasional drain ditch crossing the trail. If you're brave enough you can gain some real speed on the descent, just watch out of walkers, horse and other riders. Once the descent has been tackled it's just the small matter of rolling back through 10km of country lanes (watch out for cars on the narrow lanes) and canal path.
Brecon Beacons gap route
|Starting location||Talybont on Usk|
|Pubs, cafes||The White Hart|
|Parking||Talybont bike hub|
|Route||View route on Strava|
View route on Komoot
View route on Garmin
If you wanted to make a weekend in south wales you could try some of the other options available in wales.
Wales Mountain Biking: Beicio Mynydd Cymru, is a collection of 20 classic Welsh mountain bike rides, between 12 and 50 kilometres. Grab a copy on Amazon now.
Don't forget to check out my favourite Welsh routes!
Did you try this out? Comment here!