Having done a few trails now and being a bit more confident riding off road I decided to take a guided tour this weekend with a friend of mine around southern Snowdonia with Ride The Wild.
I met up with my pal Wil at the motorway services whom I met through the TRF last year and we hit the road towards Wales on a busy Friday night. We arrived at the Railway Inn , Lichfield Terrace, Abergynolwyn, Tywyn, where we were staying by around 7pm and unpacked and settled in for the evening after some well earned dinner.
We met up with Phil and Helen in the morning and they explained what we were going to do for the day and then we hit the road.
I had changed my tyres over from my road ones to my Anlas Capra X which are my favourite 50/50 tyre and in my opinion the best out there for my bike and these kind of trails. They are so good on the loose gravel, mud, river crossings and over the ruts and rubble that we were about to ride over, so I was confident the bike would hold its own easily.
Ride The Wild was set up by Phil & his wife Helen this year to take out inexperienced and experienced riders around some of the best trails and tracks that Wales has to offer, and boy do they know their way around.
The weather was typical of Wales on a cold October morning which obscured some amazing views (so we were told), but to be honest, I was here to ride and learn! I try not to take my eyes off the road ahead of me when riding trails as things come way too fast and accidents can happen all too fast.
The trails were amazing. Phil gave us a briefing upon the start of each trail and told us what the hazard points were, what kind of terrain to expect and what ruts to ride, as some of them led to a puddle full of dead sheep, or hidden deep holes withing the puddles which could take us out and ruin the day!
So with that in mind we took each trail as it came and had fun getting through them. before we knew it, it was time for a late breakfast/lunch which we took in Barmouth at a very pleasant cafe, talked about the trails, general biker banter etc, then hit the roads again to get put on more trails.
We met locals along the way who were out on smaller dirt bike and vintage Land Rovers such as the one above/below.
I went through quite a few puddles and my boots got a good soaking once or twice, but loved every minute of it. The whole day went very quickly indeed, although we stopped a few times to take in the view, have snack or a drink and we had so much fun, I fell off a few times on a few ruts and in a river when my cylinder head hit the side of the rock sending me over. Classic. By the end of it I was happy to have a hot bath and rest my bones a little.
The next day we were up and out early again and hitting the trails. This mornings challenge was a hill climb, which didn’t look too bad, but boy, after a getting half way up then going over at the same point a few times I decided to give my clutch a rest and let Wil battle it out, to which I eventually heard the FUCK FUCK FUCK when he went over near the top, caught out by the same rut again. we turned the bikes around after a little rest to let the sweat to evaporate then headed down the same path and then on to another one nearby. The day just got better and better. The weather picked up a bit allowing us to see some of the great views that were blocked out the previous day.
We stopped for a little lunch then carried on riding trails until around 4pm before having to pack up the bikes for the journey back home………..
What I really liked is that Phil and Helen let us take the trails at our own pace at our own ability in our own time. If we wanted to stop or take a break, take a photo we could do so and no one got annoyed. Phil would give advice and guide us if our riding was wrong or needed tweaking, and he gave that advice in a really good constructive way. I felt perfectly at ease with him. “It’s your day guys, at your own pace. Go and enjoy it.”
You can scroll down here and see some of the videos we took that weekend to see what it is like for yourselves!