Group of cyclists
Roadies on their way to becoming mountain bikers!

Travellers' Tales: A joyful weekend off-road cycling in Wales

Riaz Rashid was one of several beginners who took part in an off-road cycling weekend in Wales.

We paused to take the sea air in Conwy after a morning enjoying dramatic coastal views, not to mention the climbs and descents that had presented them. There were 20 off us, mostly seasoned cyclists of the sensible and clean ‘road’ variety – clearly a different breed to the dirty mountain bikers we were becoming.

We were ready to face the challenge of the Marin Trail in North Wales, being equipped with rugged bikes and in some cases knee pads. It’s easy to label challenges as awesome and inspiring, but these off-road trails were certainly that.

The newbies, including myself, were quickly brought into the fold by the regular riders who had signed up for another CTC Cycling Holidays tour run by Paul Rogers. The group gelled from the moment we gathered at the bunkhouse in Llanrwst on Thursday evening, looking forward to the long weekend. There was good balance of men, women, and different ages.

So why had I decided to join this fixed-base holiday? It’s an amazing feeling to do something that frightens you, heightens your senses, and brings you back to nature.

Riaz Rashid

Then there’s that feeling of being 12 years old again and having that freedom that only two wheels can bring.

lucy.watherston