Touring around an area can be great fun if you have decent routes to follow and those routes take you to new places that you may not see unless you are able to tap into some local knowledge.
I know that when I go away with Jan on holiday, it always pays to try and find some routes recommended by the local residents of the area.
If you are lucky enough to find such routes they can make a good ride into a memorable trip.
I have not always been successful and probably missed some special rides for want of a bit more research prior to the trip.
I have put together a few thoughts following some very successful rides around North Wales over the last few weeks.
It all started when Nigel approached me some months ago about putting together a weekend event for Elite Wings, of which we are both members.
The weekend was to be a hotel based event as that is the Elite Wings preference.
Nigel and I were to plan some routes for the visitors to see the best that Snowdonia can offer.
As it turned out, we had unintentionally planned the event to fall on the Jubilee celebration weekend and it was a 4 day weekend break for most of the attendees.
This meant that we had to plan three days riding around Snowdonia, preferably with as little duplication of routing as possible, while making the routes long enough and interesting enough for the riders to enjoy the scenery and roads.
I have to admit that my involvement in the organisation and planning was definitely the minor role, with Nigel really setting himself up to ensure a smoothly run and well planned event.
Of course, all this setting up meant that we had to go and test the routes to ensure that they were viable and fit for the trips. ( Any excuse with nice weather predicted – what a choice – work or ride!)
Nigel persuaded Ian M, our rides co-ordinator, that part of one of the routes selected should be tried by the club members as part of one of our GNW club rides. This ride I had to miss due to a bad back problem which prevented me from riding my bike on the day.
I was rather miffed to find out afterwards that the route they had followed had taken in two of my favourite routes, the A470 road from Betws Y Coed to Blaenau Ffestiniog, also known as the Crimea Pass, and the B4391 road from Llan Ffestiniog to the junction with the A4212 Road west of Llyn Celyn.
Luckily, there were more rides that needed testing out and I was fortunate enough to be able to book two days leave from work during the week and subsequently went off riding these routes to test them.
It was worth doing these test rides before the weekend event as there were hazards and roadworks which showed that it was necessary to amend the routes to ensure a good trip.
By careful re-blending of the previously tested routes, Nigel was able to prepare three really good routes with the absolute minimum of duplication, yet still giving full coverage of the best routes to ‘see’ and ‘feel’ Snowdonia for those wanting to do as much as possible in three days of sensible rides.
These routes are not intended for fast sports bikes but are meant for touring bikes at sensible (and legal) speeds.
Accordingly, the three routes are available for everyone to try if they want to have a go.
The routes show a start at the Beaufort Park Hotel near Mold as that is where our group were staying but this does not stop anyone from joining the route anywhere they want.
The routes are in Garmin downloadable format as .gdb files.
Each ride is split into 4 sections as that was the best format for us on our weekend.
Routes are available for download in CNE NT2013.1 format here (HINT: right-click and select ‘Save As…’ or ‘Save Link As…’):
The rides are intended to give about 5 hours actual riding, with plenty of time for tea and coffee breaks at the locations where the first three legs of each day’s rides stop. Each leg should not exceed 1 1/2 hours at the most with most being shorter, based on reasonable and legal speeds. Our group worked on 3 hours of breaks during the day which worked out as a nice balance.
The maps above are not particularly large but give the rough routing for those who want to try programming them into other makes of sat-nav.
Pictures taken from our weekend ride can be found on the Elite Wings web-site here
I hope that you do take the opportunity to try these routes. If you do please let us know what you think of them.