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Posted on 26/04/2016 by David

North Wales is like paradise to a biker; with mountains, peaks and country roads a plenty. Whether you’re an intermediate rider looking for a challenge, or a professional who will take these routes in your stride, there are some seriously tough mountain bike routes right here in North Wales. 

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Here are 5 routes that will really put your cycling abilities to the challenge…

1. Llandegla Black, Coed Llandegla

This route challenges even the most seasoned of bikers, with steep downhill stretches and technical features, where a biker may be expected to navigate the path without hesitation. If you’re not physically fit, this may be a toughie for you. The mountain bike centre allows bikers to rent a mountain bike if your current model isn’t up for this sort of terrain – but don’t try the black route without having a thorough practice on it first! Try it if you dare!

2. Dolgellau to Barmouth via Cadair Idris

There are tough rides… and then there’s the Dolgellau to Barmouth ride which passes by Cadair Iris.  With an approximate ride time of around 8 hours and running at around 58km, it’s not one for the faint hearted or those who have not yet broken in their bike seats! It does, however, have fantastic views with miles and miles of scenery to be seen on a good day. This route is a mix between steep inclines and fast declines, so you have to be quick on your bike to navigate the twists and turns! 

3. 'Tough at the Top', Hiraethog

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Hiraethog is a region between Conwy and Denbighshire, and is a great area for cycling of all abilities. If you fancy a casual bike ride, coupled with a lakeside picnic, the cycle around Llyn Brenig is perfect. If you’re angling after something which will put your stamina to the test, why not try the ‘Tough at the Top’ route which sees you climb 1500m across the grassland before you meet with the Clocaenog Forest. Or if you feel the need for speed, why not challenge yourself technically with the racing trails at Foel Gasnach, which involve a rapid descent. Perfect for thrill-seekers!

4. Bwlch y Groes, Gwynedd

Bwlch y Groes, known in English as Hellfire Pass, is one of the toughest rides in the UK, as well as North Wales. It is known for its steep pitches and will really test even the most professional cyclers’ endurance. The saving grace for this particular route is its length – it may be tough, but at 3.56km it is the shorter of our picks when it comes to these challenging rides. Recovering from this climb is the issue, as once you reach the summit; the only place to go is down. If you want to combine this short, cardio-intense ride, with a longer ride to wind down, there are many country roads to have a go at in the area! Why not spend a week in North Wales? You can call it ‘training’ to get to the peak! 

5. Trawsfynydd, Blaenau Ffestiniog

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Starting at the Lake Centre, this route is guaranteed to provide some spectacular views. Give the Trawsfynydd route a go - the benefit of this particular route is that there really is an incentive to get the top of this peak; the view of the lake is well worth the effort. The steepest part of the trail ascends for around 400 metres.

Are you ready to push yourself to the limits? If you’re a keen cycler, or want to get into cycling, there are plenty of routes in North Wales to ease you in to begin with. If you’re coming to North Wales with your family, why not take a look at these fantastic family bike routes.

If you want a week of cycling, why not take a look at our cottages found within the midst of great, challenging cycle routes!