Travellers' Tales: Biking the Brecon Beacons

Neil Scarse and his ‘disagreeable’ friends headed to Wales for some summer sun

The Disagreeables, many of whom are Cycling UK members, are a group who cycle together most weeks along the quiet lanes of Kent, Surrey and Sussex. A couple of times a year, we go further afield.

Last year [2015], we took the mountain bikes to the Brecon Beacons. We knew the trails and scenery would be stunning, we knew the quality of the banter would be high, but we packed for a deluge. Instead of the rain, however, we experienced four days of perfect weather in an area justifiably popular with road and off-road cyclists.

Setting out early from our homes in south London, we headed for our base in Talgarth – The Tower Hotel – and stocked up on cycle maps from the Tourist Information Centre. We had an easy-paced afternoon ride at the foot of the Black Mountains.

The next day was our big ride. Starting from Brecon, we cycled along the canal before picking up the Brinore Tramroad, an early 19th century horse-drawn railway that used to run between Talybont-on-Usk and Trevil. It provided great views of the Talybont Reservoir – and a chance to catch our breath.

We knew the trails and scenery would be stunning, we knew the quality of the banter would be high..."

Neil Scarse

We had another big climb up to our lunch stop before an even longer, and this time rocky, climb to the top of Pen Y Fan. After a dramatic mechanical, which left our friend Ian with four fewer spokes, no derailleur, and the need for a quick conversion to a singlespeed, we cautiously headed back down to Brecon where a local bike shop pulled out the stops to fix Ian’s bike.

The next day was another stunning and tough day in the saddle. Yet we barely scratched the surface of what Wales has to offer.

Given its nice cafés and pubs and friendly locals, we’re sure we’ll be back – and I’ll still pack my waterproof, just in case!

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