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United Kingdom

Wales - Monmouthshire and the Brecon Beacons

Guided Road Cycling Holiday

Grade

1
2
3
4
5

Duration

8 days

Prices from

£1,625 P.P.
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Tour de France winner Geraint Thomas honed his cycling skills on the climbs of the Brecon Beacons National Park and now you can too!
 
This challenging yet achievable road cycling adventure in Wales is perfect for road cyclists looking for a new destination in an impressive and largely unexplored corner of the British Isles. 
 
We'll spend the first three nights of this two-centre based, road cycling adventure in the picturesque village of Tintern, on the banks of the River Wye. From here we spend two days exploring the beautiful countryside of both the Usk and Wye River valleys and the easternmost reaches of the Brecon Beacons.
A fantastically scenic transition ride on our third day, takes us to a dramatically different landscape and our second location in the heart of the Brecon Beacons National Park via a network of rural lanes, typical Welsh villages, and picturesque lakeside roads.
 
The bigger, wilder mountains of the Brecon Beacons offer great sweeping views after some satisfyingly punchy and challenging climbing. 
 
After settling in to our accomodation in the town of Brecon we spend the remaining three days discovering the wild, wide-open spaces, vast valleys and natural beauty of the central Beacons region.
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Holiday Highlights

  • The Wye Valley, an officially designated Area of Natural Beauty
  • The magnificent ruins of Tintern Abbey
  • The lush green rolling landscapes and leafy lanes of Monmouthshire and the Usk Valley
  • Taking in the awesome views from Maen Llia after climbing the Devil’s Elbow
  • The wide-open spaces, big skies, and wild beauty of the Brecon Beacons National Park
  • Some of the best cycling in the British Isles

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Itinerary

Day 1
Arrival: Tintern
Non Riding Day

Participants travelling by train will be picked up and transferred from Newport Railway Station. There is ample parking at the hotel in Tintern for those preferring to drive and cars can be left at the first hotel for the duration of the tour since we will be transferring back here on departure.

Situated on the banks of the River Wye, in a designated Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, the delightful village of Tintern is our base for the first half of our trip. Close to the English border, the welsh village is best known for its iconic Gothic Abbey, one of the greatest monastic ruins in Wales.

There is no formal schedule for our arrival day however there is much to enjoy including a short orientation spin around the surrounding roads as we set the bikes up or a visit to the nearby Tintern Abbey.

Day 2
Monmouth and Castles
50 Miles / 80 Kms Approx.
  • Meals: Breakfast, lunch
  • Ascent: 1,250 Metres Approx.

A rolling road leads us away from our hotel and along the Wye Valley. It’s not long however before the road starts heading upwards for some great views and we enjoy a short section of riding on the English side of the border before heading back into Wales where we will remain for the rest of the holiday. After dropping down into Monmouth we cycle over the only remaining fortified river bridge in Great Britain before heading to Raglan Castle for a picnic lunch.

Refreshed, we continue to the beautiful town of Usk. From here the roads climb again, passing Wentwood Forest and then taking us into Chepstow for another castle. A short ride from here, back up the Wye Valley, returns us to our hotel.

Day 3
Usk Loop
51 Miles / 82 Kms Approx.
  • Meals: Breakfast, lunch
  • Ascent: 1,250 Metres Approx.

We start the day with a climb to wake our legs! Up to the village of Trellech where we can pause to view the standing stones. We are rewarded with some splendid views before dropping down through Usk and across to Llandegfedd Reservoir for our lunch stop. Charming country lanes passing through quaint villages – and a few more punchy hills – see us back to the hotel.

Day 4
Tintern to Brecon Transition
48 Miles / 77 Kms Approx.
  • Meals: Breakfast, lunch
  • Ascent: 1,100 Metres Approx.

Having spent three evenings and two full days enjoying some of Monmouthshire’s best riding, it’s time to change locations and scenery as we head off into the heart of the Brecon Beacons.

Climbing out of the valley this morning we head north west to Abergavenny – the Gateway to Wales. As we head through the Usk valley, following the course of the river as it rises gently and meanders we pass through some charming towns and villages before arriving at Crickhowell – a delightful picnic spot. We continue cycling along the river valley, keeping an eye out for the Monmouthshire and Brecon Canal which weaves its way alongside the river. Finally we arrive at our destination town – Brecon, boasting a castle, a cathedral and plenty of restaurants, shops and pubs.

Day 5
The Garth
40 Miles / 64 Kms Approx.
  • Meals: Breakfast, lunch
  • Ascent: 1,350 Metres Approx.

Our first ride into the heart of the Brecon Beacons National Park is a strikingly different experience to last few days as we enter a sparsely populated, wild and open landscape characterised by far-reaching views, huge skies and, what people who don’t ride bikes often describe as, “rolling” hills!

Riding north from Brecon we gradually work our way up the valley and over into Builth Wells. Following the River Irfon we can enjoy some easy pedalling before the main feature of today – The Garth; rising to over 450m with an average gradient of 9%. Once at the top we can enjoy the stunning views before working our way back (and down!) to Brecon across the Epynt military training area.

Day 6
Classic Brecon Beacons
51 Miles / 82 Kms Approx.
  • Meals: Breakfast, lunch
  • Ascent: 1,550 Metres Approx.

We start the day with a ride out onto Mynydd Illtud Common – the local cycling club’s hill climb! From here we get a great view of Pen y Fan, southern Britain’s highest peak. Working our way further into the beacons we ride into a steepening valley with no obvious exit. This is the Devil’s Elbow and the road is just visible high above us on our right! Short but with sections reaching 15% this is a testing climb, rewarded with fine views back down the valley and beyond.

Continuing on quiet lanes we work our way through Waterfall Country before turning north and another cheeky climb or two. Passing Fan Hir we climb back through the beacons before dropping into Sennybridge for a gentle finish along the river valley back to our hotel.

Day 7
Hay on Wye
60 Miles / 97 Kms Approx.
  • Meals: Breakfast, lunch
  • Ascent: 1,600 Metres Approx.

Our last day riding takes us to Hay on Wye – World renowned for literature, having over 20 bookshops and being the location of the Hay Festival. A relatively flat start to the day allows for one or two hills after Hay before we drop into the Wye valley and follow the river to Builth Wells.

After another hill out of Builth we are rewarded with a long descent back to the River Wye where we cross over and follow the river downstream. Leaving the river at Llyswen we have a couple of short climbs before our final descent back into Brecon.

Day 8
Departure: Transfer to Tintern
Non Riding Day
  • Meals: Breakfast

Alas we have reached the end of our adventure and all that remains is to enjoy a final breakfast and transfer back to the starting point of our trip. We’ll make a morning transfer to the train station in Newport and then head back to our first hotel in Tintern where drivers can collect their vehicles and begin the onward journey.

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The Cycling

Terrain

This tour explores two rather different regions of Southern Wales, each with its own contrasting terrain characteristics, ranging from short and sometimes steep climbs, to more evenly graded longer mountain ascents and gentler, rolling hills.

Road surfaces can vary quite dramatically within just a few miles and whilst many are generally good, as is the case in all rural regions, it is not uncommon to encounter occasional gravelly sections, potholes and some poorer surfaces in some areas. Similarly, cattle grids, wandering sheep and other livestock are frequent features.

For the most part, small, quiet country lanes have been chosen however we do occasionally venture onto larger busier roads. Traffic levels are generally low but can increase during holiday periods and rush hours. The two-centre-based nature of this particular tour dictates that we will ride out from, and back to, our hotels via the same few roads on multiple occasions. Whilst we will do our best to schedule the riding to avoid rush hours it may be impossible to avoid short periods of heavier/fast moving traffic on occasions. 

Good bike handling skills, a reasonable level of fitness and competency/experience in traffic are required.

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Road Cycling Grade

1
2
3
4
5
Grade 3 : Moderate

45-60 miles / 70-95 kms per day

For riders with experience, good fitness & a decent level of skill

Some features that may be experienced more frequently in a higher grade tour

Most days include a couple of significant climbs

Some long days & some steep to very steep sections

Not for beginners

Our grading guidelines have been carefully created based on our many years of cycling experience, as well as customer feedback from our trips. Of course, if you're still struggling to figure out where you fit on the scale, do feel free to give us a quick call and we'll be more than happy to help!

For more information about our grading system click here.

Is this suitable for you?

You’re definitely not a novice rider, you’re fit, you ride regularly at weekends, sometimes staying on the bike for much of the day, you love your bike! You also enjoy a challenge and if you haven’t already done so you’re keen to attempt a semi-serious to serious mountain pass or two. You’re as comfortable with the prospect of descending from the top of a col as you are with the idea of climbing it and you’re confident that you have the skills to do so safely. You’re not necessarily a “racer” but you can crank up the pace a little when it’s necessary and you don’t mind forgoing a coffee stop if the schedule demands it occasionally. You probably own and use clipless pedals. You have good control of your bike and can take a drink from a water bottle without having to unclip and put your feet on the ground. Whilst you find a full day in the saddle fulfilling you’re not obsessed and as much as you are looking forward to the riding on your holiday, you’re also looking forward to a little local culture and cuisine. Grade 3 would be a good option for you.

For more information about the grading of this holiday in particular, please check out the terrain section which will give you some specifics of what to expect on this tour.

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Dates & Prices

Secure Your Holiday With A Deposit

Book now with a £200 deposit and nothing more to pay until 60 days before departure. Choose a date to start your booking and see all prices, including bike hire and single room supplements.

Select a date to view prices and book
Start Date
End Date
Duration
Price p.p.
Start Date
20/09/2024
Contact Us
Return Date
27/09/2024
Duration
8 days
Price
£1,625.00

Whats Included Tick

A) Accommodation (shared twin / double en-suite rooms)

B) Meals as per the itinerary (B=Breakfast, L=Lunch, D=Dinner)

C) Full tour service, including Skedaddle guides

D) Unless stated, at least one leader qualified in first aid

E) GPX files available on request

F) Support vehicle and luggage transfers

G) Train station transfer on scheduled arrival day from Newport Station

H) Train station transfer on scheduled departure day to Newport Station

I) Financial Protection through ABTOT

What's not Included Cross

A) Bike rental (available if required)

B) Flights and charges for travelling with your bike (if applicable)

C) Meals not stated in the itinerary

D) Single room (available if required)

E) Travel insurance

F) Personal clothing and equipment

G) Personal expenditure (souvenirs, bar bills, hotel facilities etc)

H) Entrance fees to museums and other attractions en-route

I) Train station transfers on days other than the scheduled arrival / departure days

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Private Departures

Private Departures

Are you keen to only travel with your family or friends? Struggling to find the right date? Well, we can organise a private departure for this tour and tailor aspects to suit your group's specific needs. Contact our friendly team and we'll help you turn your dream into reality.

The Essentials

Travel Options

The arrival point is Tintern where, if you choose to drive, you will be able to use the free parking at the accommodation and leave your car for the duration of the trip. If travelling by train we ask that you arrive into and depart from Newport Train Station. Train station transfers are included in the holiday cost and there will be a Skedaddle transfer at 17.00 from the train station to our accommodation.

At the end of the holiday there will be a morning group transfer back to Newport train station, please do not book a return train before 12.00. From the train station we will then return to our first hotel in Tintern so that drivers can collect their cars.

Please contact us before making any travel arrangements, to make sure we have reached the minimum number required to guarantee your holiday and to ensure your arrangements fit with our scheduled transfers and logistics.

Please note – If you make alternative travel arrangements, which fall outside of the group schedule, there may be an additional charge for individual transfers.

Accommodation

In the UK we use good quality 3 or 4 star hotels, B&Bs, inns and family-run guesthouses that are cycle friendly, located close to the cycling route and showcase the style and hospitality of the area you are visiting.

Where possible we prioritise locally owned businesses and those offering locally sourced food, drink and speciality products. This all promotes sustainability in-line with our responsible travel policy.

All our UK trips are operated on a double/twin-share basis. Single occupancy rooms can be provided for a supplement and are subject to availability at the time of booking.

Bike Hire

If you don’t own a suitable bike or would prefer to avoid bringing your own we have road bikes available to rent.

These bikes are typically full carbon Giant Revolt / Liv Devote, great bikes with good quality components. Bikes are set up tubeless on 700×28c or 700×32c tyres. They provide a comfortable riding position and wide range of gears, running a 2×11 drivetrain with 32/48 chainrings and 11×34 cassette. They are fitted with hydraulic disc brakes.

If you do decide to rent and would like us to provide a helmet, please let us know at the time of booking, otherwise you should bring your own helmet with you.

Please also let us know if you plan on bringing your own clip-in pedals, or if you will use the flat pedals which our rental bikes come fitted with.

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