In August we decided to plan a multi day off road biking adventure. A journey from A to B, camping, pedalling and carrying all our own stuff. We chose Wales as our destination and decided on a coast to coast trip, Conway to Cardiff to be exact.
Our planned route went something like this…Betws y Coed – Blaenau Ffestiniog – Trawsfynydd – Dolgellau – Machynlleth – Nant y Arian – Dologau – Pontrhydfendigaid – Sugar loaf halt – Penrhiw – Brecon – Maes mawr – Tredegar – Hengoed – Cardiff. For a more visual perspective check out our WC2C map.
The trail in front of you, best friend beside you and your world on the back of your bike. It doesn’t get much better than that!
Not part of the plan
We were about an hour away from lunch at Nant yr Arian cafe on day four. I’d just chosen to go a head of Patrick and lead the way along the bridleway (essentially two parallel sheep tracks) as it gradually descended towards a farm track at the head of the valley. I was possibly a little tired after already climbing over 3,000ft that morning and… well, I can’t really explain why…but I began to loose my balance and decided to abort my bike. Unfortunately, after jumping my left foot made contact with the ground whilst I was still spinning and I over rotated my knee. This was indicated by the popping noise/sensation and the intense pain that followed. I rolled around on the ground for a while and shouted quite a few expletives. A knew instantly the trip was over. After about 30 minutes I composed myself enough to know we needed to get to the nearest road which we could see in the distance was about 1km away.
I hobbled, leaned on my bike and rode it without pedals when possible. When we got there we realised the road wasn’t really a road, more a track. It wasn’t an easy decision but Patrick decided to call 999. No signal. Nothing. My hear sank as I knew I had to gather myself to begin hobbling again. We looked at the map there was nothing close by in any direction. We chose a route (in hindsight probably the wrong route) and hobbled. To cut the story short we found multiple abandoned properties, bog bashed through knee deep bog, I was carried for 100 metres or so and got pushed and pushed myself along for a further 3+km. It felt very epic. It took us about 5 hrs to travel the 4km to Nant-y-moch reservoir where we found some guys fishing. It was now about 6pm and Patrick asked them for a lift to a telephone. Fortunately they were awesome and said yes. We dumped the bikes and trailer in the woods and the guys gave us a lift all the way to Aberystwyth A&E!
So now I’m home. I’m waiting for an MRI scan of me knee to tell me the full damage but it’s all connected to my ACL and MCL ligaments.
We probably chose the best weather window anyone could imagine and I’ve still got brilliant memories from the first four days of our trip so I decided to stitch together the photos and sounds of our initial adventure into a video. I regret not getting my camera out during our epic hobble and at the hospital so I could tell the full tale but sometimes life (and pain) takes over.
Wales by bike and bothy
I’ve got the multi-day bike adventure bug. I’ll definitely do the trip again when my knee sorts itself out. For more info about mountain biking in Wales visit MBWales.com