Although the countryside is not exactly flat around Gliffaes a bike ride along the lanes of the Usk Valley can make for an enjoyable couple of hours. Sitting up on a bike means you can see over the hedges and engage with the countryside, wrapped up in your car, windows shut and air conditioning on, your purr through the lanes filtering out most of what is so special about the landscape in early summer.
By looking over the hedges I have kept track on a pair of curlews who nest every year in the same field, watched a sheep dog trial, even joined in with an auctioneer and several farmers walking over pasture they were keen to rent and seen countless red kites, buzzards and owls as I have passed quietly through the woods and lanes around Gliffaes.
Don’t Have a bike? Can’t fit in the car?
No excuse – we can either arrange to have rental bikes here ready and waiting for your arrival from the very helpful Kieth at Bikes and Hikes in Brecon (we just need to know how tall you are) or you may borrow the hotel’s very own tandem. We bought the tandem a year or so ago and it has proved very popular. We can give you a picnic to put in the bag on the back and send you on your way with a suggested route. Around the Talybont reservoir or along the back lanes to Brecon, both of these routes involve very little climbing and within the capabilities of any reasonably fit person.
If you are a little more keen on just pottering along and are up for some longer more challenging rides then the Black Mountains and the Brecon Beacons is the place to head for. Wales is recognised as having some of the best mountain biking in the world and their is no shortage of routes in the Brecon Beacons and surrounding countryside. The Brecon Beacons National Park has designated a number of villages as mountain biking ‘hubs’ and has mapped and marked several routes radiating out from these villages. You can buy a pack of their routes from the hotel. They have also set up a dedicated website for mountain bikers coming to the park.
Those keen on road riding will not be disappointed either with some truly epic climbs around here including the ride up ‘The Gospel Pass’ towards Hay-on-Wye. If you are preparing for some of the big cyclo-sportive events then a couple of days riding here would be excellent preparation. Gliffaes recently hosted Daily Telegraph travel writer, Charles Starmer-Smith, as he got in some preparation for the Etape d’ Tour (see his blog post) under the guidance of local cycling expert Rob Penn. Rob is running two more training weekends based at Gliffaes for those getting ready for big rides this summer. ( 11th/12th June and 18th/19th June). You can find out more on what the weekend includes on his Etape Training website.
I have described a couple of routes on this blog, just have a look under the ‘Walks & Bike Rides’ section. If you want any help with bike hire or have any questions then please do get in touch. We have plenty of safe storage for bikes, most tools, a pressure washer and a few basic spares at the hotel.