Cycling in Gwynedd, Anglesey and Snowdonia

There are great trails both on and off-road in this part of Wales
Cycling in Gwynedd, Anglesey and Snowdonia
Cycling in Gwynedd, Anglesey and Snowdonia

Cycling in Gwynedd, Anglesey and Snowdonia

Looking for information about cycling in Gwynedd, Anglesey and Snowdonia? Cycling UK's guide to cycling in Gwynedd, Anglesey and Snowdonia gives you routes, events, clubs and advice to inspire you to cycle in the county.

Snowdonia and the north west coast offer some fantastic road and family cycling, as well as renowned mountain bike trails at Coed-y-Brenin, north of Dolgellau. The mountain, lake and sea views are spectacular, and Welsh culture thrives here: you’ll hear yr hen iaith (‘the ancient language’) spoken everywhere.

One of Britain’s very best family rides is the Mawwdach Trail (part of NCN8), running 10 miles from the seaside town of Barmouth (which has a mainline station) to the outdoor hub of Dolgellau. It crosses the Mawddach Estuary on a remarkable Victorian wooden bridge – a wonder in itself – and then runs scenically alongside the water. Further north, a similar length stretch of NCN8 south of Caernarfon is another child-friendly railtrail. A speciality of this part of Wales is heritage railways – the Ffestiniog for example – and most take bikes and make a good family trip.

That NCN8 actually runs from Cardiff to Holyhead and is the Lôn Las Cymru, the Welsh top-to-bottom whose 250 miles gives a thrilling overview of the country in all its guises, geographical and social. It’s a great week’s challenge for the tourer. One highlight is the crossing of the historic Menai Bridge, after which quiet roads take you to Anglesey (and the ferry to Ireland) by way of a selfie stop at Llanfairpwllgwyngyllgogerychwyrndrobwllllantysiliogogogoch.

Road cyclists will love the mountain and reservoir roads around south Snowdonia. Highlights include the pass of Bwlch-y-Groes, east of Dolgellau, rising to 580m (1,900 feet); the remote roads north east of Coed-y-Brenin; and the circuits of Bala and Vyrnwy lakes. The area round Tywyn is great too (but you need a full-suspension mountain bike for NCN82). These are possibly more pleasant options than cycling central Snowdonia itself, where roads are few and busy (such as the awesome Llanberis Pass) and it’s primarily walking rather than cycling country.

Cycling groups and clubs in Gwynedd, Anglesey and Snowdonia

Chester and North Wales CTC (Chester)

Rides of all types in some of Britain’s finest scenery

CMC Adventure (Llanbedr)

Enabling young people to have outdoor adventures in amazing scenery

Beicio Bangor (Bangor)

Campaigning for cyclists in our area / Cefnogi beicio yn ein ardal ni

Arriva Buses Wales Mountain Bike Club (Wales)

Holyhead Cycling Club / Clwb Seiclo Caergybi (Holyhead)

Sunday club rides and more for riders of all abilities

What to take with you on your ride 

The only thing you really need for cycling is a bike. And maybe a phone, and credit card: in Britain you’re only a call away from any service you might need.

But unless money is no object, it’s wise to take a few things with you on a day ride. A saddlebag or rear rack and panniers are best for carrying stuff. A front basket is second best. A rucksack is third best. Your sweaty back will soon tell you why.

Cycling short distances in jeans and t-shirt is fine, but on a long or strenuous ride – over ten miles say, or in hills – those jeans will rub and the t-shirt will get damp and clingy. Shorts or, yes, lycra leggings and padded shorts will be much comfier, and merino or polyester cycling tops wick away the sweat, keeping you dry and comfy. (They don’t have to be lurid colours.)

If rain’s in the air, pack a rainproof top. If it might turn chilly, take a fleece or warm top. But the thing you’re most likely to forget is the sunblock. 

It’s remarkable how often you enjoy being out on the bike so much that you suddenly realise it’s getting dark. So take lights (which are legally required at night). They’re price of a sandwich, take no space, are easy to put on thanks to tool-free plastic clips, and the batteries last for ever.

Take a puncture repair kit (with tyre levers) and pump. Make sure it fits your valves, which will be either ‘Presta’ or ‘Schraeder’ – realising they don’t match is a very common roadside discovery! Carrying a spare inner tube (make sure it matches your tyre size) makes puncture repair much easier: mend the old one back at home. If you do get in trouble, some kindly passing cyclist will probably stop to help.

Using a helmet is a personal choice – they’re not legally required.

Cycling makes you thirsty, so take lots of water. Long-distance riders talk about ‘the bonk’ – a sudden loss of energy rendering you almost stationary. It’s miraculously and instantly cured by eating something sweet. On short rides you’re unlikely to run out of energy, but just in case, take a snack like flapjack, banana, chocolate or jelly babies. 

Taking a packed lunch or picnic will save you money, though that hot drink and cake in a cosy cafe could yet prove very tempting!

Your phone GPS could be invaluable for showing where you are when lost; you can download free detailed UK maps and GPS software before your trip. 

Paper maps are still useful, though, so take one: no power source or wifi signal required, and they’re great for suggesting possibilities or changes of plan.

What have we missed? Recommend your favourite routes using the comments box below. 

Cycling routes in Gwynedd, Anglesey and Snowdonia

Snowdonia, Coed-y-Brenin, Mawddach Trail and leisure routes

Cycle A-way’s list of routes. maps and resources for Gwynedd, Anglesey and Snowdonia

Journey Planner

Lonydd Glas Gwynedd Recreational Routes

Snowdonia National Park, Cycling and Mountain Biking

Copper Trail, North Anglesey Cycle Route

Cycling events in Gwynedd, Anglesey and Snowdonia

Check out our events calendar to find a ride that suits you

Make sure your bike is working
(from our partners, Halfords)

Creaking cranks, wobbly wheels or slipping saddles are the last thing you want, but Halfords' guide to basic bike maintenance will keep you rolling smoothly. Whether you’re a regular commuter, a leisurely weekend rider, or prefer to tear it up on a serious MTB trail, signs of wear and tear might keep you off the saddle from time to time. Whilst we can’t promise to banish those roadside mishaps, we can help keep your bike tip top with our top tips!

You’re heading out on your lovely bike, with a pannier packed with your essentials. A glorious route lies ahead, but then you run into a spot of bother! Most of the time there are handy hacks you can do to tide you over whilst out and about, and we’ve taken a look into the most common bike problems and solutions…

Clicking saddle? Check that the bolts connecting the saddle to the seat post are not loose. Tighten until the saddle is firmly secured using an allen key from your trusty toolbox!

Squealing brakes? This could be down to dirt or oil on the brake pads. Give it a quick wipe down, then when you get home take the brake pads off and readjust.

Squeaky derailleur? A little lube should help. Remove any excess.

Creaky pedals? Dry pedal bearings, loose crank arms or a worn bottom bracket could be the culprit. Once home, remove and lube the pedal bearings, tighten and lube the crank arms, or replace the bottom bracket if it’s still making a fuss.

Problem areas

Some of the problems you find with your bike might need a closer look, and here’s where we can help!

Wobbling disc rotors, spongy brakes and rattling bolts needn’t be as pesky as they sound for long enough to keep you off your bike! Call and see us with your two wheels at your local Halfords, or with any other bike bothers you might have.

From as little as £15 a year, Halfords will take the labour out of looking after your bike. Halfords offer a range of care packages, they provide free fitting on all parts and accessories bought from Halfords, and even include an annual service worth £50 as part of the plan!

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