Big Brecon Beacons Mountain Ride…and then some!

So, here it is. The report into the Big Mountain ride from today, attempted with my better half. Its a bit of a tale of two rides in all honesty.

The first half was a lovely ride from Hirwaun, up over Penderyn moor and on to Storey Arms by Pen y Fan. The wind was strong and buffeting but not enough to detract from the fabulous scenery. We stopped for a quick photo-shoot by the side of the road (and resisted the lure of the burger van)


After this a brilliant descent down the A470 into Brecon. Even though the wind was swirling and at times scary, we hurtled down at an average 30mph for the next 8 miles! Wheel wobble (and fear!) prevented me from attempting to go faster when I was topping out at 40mph! After that descent, we stopped in Brecon for a quick bite to eat and a cup of coffee. Suitably refreshed we started off on the 2nd half of the ride….


I can honestly say that the buffeting we got from the wind as we cycled over the moor by Mynydd Illtud was staggering, well in excess of 25mph. It was incredibly difficult to make headway in the wind. Still, the view was lovely and it couldnt be this bad all the way back could it? Another photo opportunity presented itself


and then yours truly


Well, after the Mynydd Illtud section, we climbed up towards the Crai road by Fan Hir. Climb? Climb?!! Some sections were 20-25% gradients. Legs pumping, sinews twanging, muscles bulging. Made it to the top….to be hit by the rain, and renewed gale force winds..

Coming down by the side of Crai Reservoir, mist descended, rain hammered down (actually horizontally) and the wind was in our teeth. Both of us had trouble seeing in this malestrom of elemental fury. After 5miles of this we decided a quick coffee stop and a breather out of the weather was in order. We stopped off at Craig y Nos Country Park and slumped onto a bench outside of the cafe. Watching the rain and wind swirling around in the valley, we consolled ourselves with a cup of hot coffee and a welshcake.


Sat on our bench we appreciated the view if partially shrouded in mist and rain.


Having partially recovered from our battering, we set off again. The coffee stop seemed to revitalise us and we cycled on despite the conditions. After coming out of the valley, we cycled along the Inter Valley road that passes by Coelbren, Glyneath and Rhigos. Just to test us out at the end, there was a last big climb before decending into Hirwaun and back to the car.

All in all, a tough, hard as nails ride in appalling conditions for over half the ride. The end result? 54 miles, 4000feet of climbing, battered faces, aching limbs but big smiles. Ok, the smiles took a cooked dinner to help develop but now they are there.

About Saddlebags and Backpacks - a brewer's outdoor adventures

I am a keen hiker, camper, cyclist and general all round gear addict..... I also manage to be a professional brewer in my non-spare time :->
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16 Responses to Big Brecon Beacons Mountain Ride…and then some!

  1. Matt C says:

    Has ed sold you a pair of his leggings? ;O)

  2. MrsB says:

    Well done. Shame about the weather but we all know we can’t rely on that in Welsh land, ha!
    Bet you’re feeling good about yourself now though, great achievement!
    Greetings from the North,

    • backpackbrewer says:

      thanks Mrs B!

      Stunning ride just wish the visibility had been better for the second part.

      I would have had problems walking in the weather on the hills yesterday let alone riding in it!

  3. Bob Andrews says:

    I have managed 27mph and could then a car looking to turn onto my disdainfully he saw me.
    My wife compares me to Max Wall. Not the most flattering of clothes at a certain age

  4. Ian Barton says:

    Well done. Puts my 30 mile pootle in almost flat Shropshire to shame!

    • backpackbrewer says:

      not at all. I have lived and breathed mountains since I was a boy and in my long distant youth managed to cycle 5000miles a year continuously. My legs are slowly remembering all the training and conditioning from 30 years ago

      Besides which, 30 miles is a good ride make no bones about that!

      • Ian Barton says:

        Well I did live in the Peak District for almost 20 years, so have been up a few hills in my time – Winnats pass being the ultimate test. However, doesn’t really compare with the gradient profiles of most rides in S Wales.

        • backpackbrewer says:

          You’ll have to try some of the ones I have done recently….there is a small segment in Wentwood Forest called Wentwood Hell – its over 25%!

  5. Robin says:

    I think you need to go on a Photoshop course 😉

  6. northernwalker says:

    Ahh the wind… my favourtie! Great post on an excellent ride.

    • backpackbrewer says:

      thanks for that. We are attempting another ride this weekend and this time the other half is doing the route 😀

  7. PhilR says:

    Nice one a quality ride, good read and a very well earned welshcake. Keep meaning to take the Bike over to the Brecons for a good ride. I do love the challenge of the climbs, curse them while doing them of course. I’m doing the Somerset Hills Fondo this weekend which includes Cheddar Gorge & the evil and brutal Crowcombe climb 20-25% for a mile has been descibed as a wall of tarmac…. Oh joy!

    • backpackbrewer says:

      Cheddar Gorge is really nice for a ride and I know about THAT hill lol

      Come over to the Beacons, there are quiet roads and good quality lanes a plenty if you fancy the hills

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