Top to Tail Wales Cycling Challenge - Adventurous Ewe

Top to Tail Wales Cycling Challenge

Highlights

  • An epic top to tail journey through Wales conquering a whole country from North to South in just 3 days
  • From Conwy Castle in the north to Cardiff Castle in the south and three mountain ranges inbetween
  • Bike 195 miles with 3550m of ascent traversing the best countryside Wales has to offer to a cyclist
  • Climb mountain passes, wizz through spectacular Welsh countryside and quiet rural lanes and swoop past lakes on thrilling descents
  • A fantastic journey full of history, wildlife and beautiful landscapes from Snowdonia to the Brecon Beacons full of history
  • Adventure with purpose as we support the fantastic work of the Snowdonia Society and Cool Earth
  • Join us for this wheely wild Welsh cycling adventure
  • New safety and well-being guidelines are in place for this adventure.

Registration fee: £125 per person, payable on signing up and is transferable
Remaining balance: £490 per person, payable 6 weeks prior to the challenge start date

Overview

Branch out and discover an entire country from a new vantage as you pedal from the top to tail of Wales. This tough two-wheeled journey traverses the country’s most mountainous landscapes from the Brecon Beacons to Snowdonia but the support of your crew and fellow team-mates will see you experience the wonders of Wales in a new and authentic way.

From Britain’s most complete walled town of Conwy your Top to Tail Wales journey begins at the historic landmark of the World Heritage–listed Conwy Castle. Your route will wind along country lanes taking you through the picturesque landscapes and undulations of Snowdonia National Park from north to south.

Leaving Snowdonia you’ll enter the mountains and reservoirs of Mid Wales and the beautiful Elan Valley. This incredible traverse has been nominated as one of the best cycling routes in the UK embellished with spectacular scenery.

Continuing along idyllic countryside steeped in history you’ll conquer some iconic mountain climbs before sweeping down the quieter Taff Trail to enter Cardiff. The buzz of excitement will reverberate through your legs as you reach your final destination of Cardiff Castle in the medieval heart of Wales’s capital city. This is a cycling trip for those who are up for a challenge and keen to discover the diverse delights of Wales. 

We look forward to welcoming you to our home-land soon.

What’s included

Pre-trip:
  • Personalised event support in the lead up to your trip from Adventurous Ewe
  • GPX file of the route
  • Cycle training programme
  • Discount code with Joe Brown & The Climbers Shop and ashmei sporting apparel; both online and in store
  • Trip info supplied via mobile travel app, Vamoos, containing all the info you need to know before your challenge
  • Digital trip briefing sent before your arrival in Snowdonia
  • Public liability insurance
  • Risk assessment and emergency management planning
On your trip:
  • Cycle leaders, support crew and bike mechanic
  • Support vehicle and luggage transfers
  • Full back-up support including first-aid qualified staff and first-aid supplies 
  • Entrance permission to national parks 
  • Snacks and water station checkpoints including antibacterial hand gel
  • 3 nights accommodation (twin share basis)
  • Meals per your itinerary (3 x breakfast & 3 x lunch)
  • All challenge management before, during and post trip
  • Donation made to our environmental charity partner, Cool Earth

Can be included at an additional cost

  • Hire bike and helmet including delivery, hybrid bike hire and collection at a cost of £85 per person
  • Single room supplement at a cost of £45 per night per person (depending on availability)
  • On completion of your Top to Tail Wales ride, there is a return shuttle service to Conwy for a cost of £85.00 per person including your bike. 

Not included

  • Bike insurance 
  • Clothing and equipment listed on your Kit List
  • Getting to the start and from the finish of the trip
  • Evening meals to allow you the flexibility to order what you wish following a long day in the saddle
  • Accommodation on the last evening to allow you the flexibility to stay in Cardiff or return home
  • Any costs incurred with leaving the trip early, ie. accommodation, travel, etc.
  • Personal spending money.

Itinerary

Day 1

Arrival in Conwy and overnight stay

Arrive in the early evening to the walled market town of Conwy where you will overnight after receiving a full trip  briefing and the chance to meet your Cycling Leader and fellow team-mates. A pick-up service is available from Llandudno Junction train station on request.

Included

Accommodation:  Hostel

 

 

Day 2

Cycling Conwy to Machynlleth: 62 miles / 1560m ascent

Starting from the coast at the base of Conwy Castle your route winds through the stunning green farmlands of Conwy Valley to the picturesque Welsh village of Betws y Coed.

Pedalling along the spine of Snowdonia National Park you will tackle the first of your big climbs at Crimea Pass 440m which take its name from the Crimea war dating back to 1854. You’ll welcome the sweeping descent into Dolgellau which is known for its wild and beautiful countryside and places of historical interest. Another climb leaves Dolgellau in your shadows with your final destination for the day in view.

Descending down to Machynlleth you’ll be in awe of the scenery as this historic town  sits at the mouth of the Dyfi estuary in the heart of the UNESCO Dyfi Bioshere, an area of outstanding natural beauty and diversity. Day one in the saddle done!

Included

Meals:  Breakfast & lunch
Accommodation:  B&B or hostel 

Top to Tail Wales | Cycle Wales

Day 3

Cycling from Machynlleth to Tal-Y-Bont on Usk: 93 miles / 1420m of ascent

Leaving Machynlleth behind your day starts with a climb to the highest point of the of ride – Bryn y Fedwen at 509m. Following the scenic Lon Las Cymru Cycle route, there’s steady decent to Llanidloes before winding along the undulations to Rhayader. This spectacular trail climbs past three reservoirs in the heart of beautiful, mountainous Mid Wales.

Following the line of the old Birmingham Corporation Railway, which was built to help construct the Elan Valley reservoirs, these are a string of four narrow lakes running north-south. From the Elan Valley Visitor Centre the route climbs past Caban Coch and Garreg Ddu Reservoirs with their fine dams and an ornamental water tower, to the end of Penygarreg Reservoir. When the reservoirs are full you will be rewarded with the sight of millions of gallons of water cascading over the dam walls.

The tunnel near to Rhayader is a nature reserve for rare bats. The trail is also right in the heart of Red Kite country so be prepared to see these magnificent birds with their distinctive forked tail wheeling in the thermals above you.

After 10 miles you’ll rejoin the Lon Las route to Builth Wells. The afternoon brings a welcomed gentler route skirting the Black Mountains and winding through the Brecon Beacons National Park. Here lies your overnight stay in the quaint canalside village of  Tal Y Bont on Usk. There’s 3 pubs in the village and you’re assured of a warm welcome as the village goes out of its way to cater for visitors.

Included

Meals:  Breakfast & lunch
Accommodation:  B&B or hostel

Cycle Lon Las | Ride Wales

Day 4

Cycling from Tal y Bont on Usk to Cardiff: 45miles / 570m of ascent

You final day in the saddle. Leaving Tal Y Bont on Usk following the shores of the reservoir is your final big climb of the challenge ascending 354 metres. With the highest peak in South Wales, Pen Y Fan, behind you its down hill into Cardiff.

Following the river Taff on the Taff Trail to avoid the busy roads entering Cardiff you’ll pass the Principality Stadium the home of Welsh rugby before reaching your final destination at Cardiff Castle.  The sense of achievement and pride of knowing that you have cycled the length of a country will be reverberate through you as you celebration your accomplishment with your fellow team-mates and crew. Knowing that Tour Du France legend Geraint comes from Cardiff is a fitting end to your two-wheeled adventure.

On completion of your Top to Tail Wales ride, there is a return shuttle service to Conwy for a cost of £85.00 per person including your bike. 

Included

Meals:  Breakfast & lunch

Ride Wales Top to Tail

Essential Information 

Bike

Your two wheeled journey will take you from the top to the tail of Wales along the spine of Snowdonia National Park, through spectacular rural countryside, along quiet idyllic roads, passing through the Brecon Beacons and arriving in Wales’s vibrant capital city, Cardiff. You will journey over mountain passes with fantastic hill climbs and be rewarded with vast views and sweeping descents into beautiful quaint Welsh villages.

Cycling is a brilliant way to travel. Moving at a slower pace, you can engage more deeply with the amazing places you are passing through. Wales is a land known for its natural beauty and stunning landscapes and this is the perfect adventure to discover and enjoy the length of this diverse countryside.

With regards to what type of bike to use, we strongly recommend a road bike or touring bike in the first instance followed by a hybrid bike. We would suggest only using a mountain bike, if you are used to long distances and hill climbs on such bike. We would recommend you fit road tyres and perhaps bar ends to give a more comfortable cycling position if you opt to use your mountain bike.

If you wish to hire a bike, we do have hybrid bikes and helmets for rent at £85 per person which includes delivery, hire and collection costs. We will also have spare bike/s in the support vehicle if needed.

Pre-adventure info

On booking onto this cycling journey, you will receive all the exciting information via our mobile travel app, Vamoos. You’ll have access to all your adventure info, training guide, countdowns, live updates, contact info, weather forecasts, kit lists and much more at the touch of a button 24/7 via your mobile phone. No more unnecessary use of reams of paper and the need of carrying around documents with you. The app is free to download and all info is customary to your adventure ahead.

Pre-adventure support

With being a small family business we pride ourselves with providing personal, professional and friendly service. We appreciate that everyone has different levels of experience and reasons for wishing to embark on this challenge and therefore require varying levels of support and guidance.

We’re here to help you every step of the way from the moment you join the flock all the way through to completing the challenge and beyond. Jim and Sue’s knowledge and expertise stems from dozens of years of travelling and exploring the UK in order to fully support you in the lead up to your adventure, especially in our own homeland of Wales.

Safety and wellbeing

Adventurous Ewe puts the safety and well-being of you, our leaders & crew and the communities we visit at the centre of all our operations, always. Your safety and well-being is our top priority. This Top to Tail Cycling Challenge requires individual preparation as this two-wheeled adventure is designed to take you out of your every-day comfort zone and achieve something great. Rest assured we have a thorough Safety Management System, in-depth risk assessments, risk management systems in place together with new health and wellbeing procedures. 

Leaders and support crew

You will be accompanied by certified Adventurous Ewe Cycle Leaders together with a support crew including a bike mechanic. They’re a friendly bunch with a huge level of care, though rest assured they are fully experienced and remote first aid qualified. They will be ultimately responsible for the running of the itinerary and the safety of your group.

Leaders will carry safety equipment and first aid kits with them at all times. Please note, these kits are for emergencies only so please come prepared with your own personal first aid items.

The Leaders and Crew will also be in constant radio communication with the support vehicle throughout your journey

Group size

We pride ourselves in small group travel to minimise the impact on the environment, to maximise your safety and wellbeing and to make your experience more authentic. The minimum group size for this trip is 10 people and the maximum group size is 18 people.

You are most welcome to join this Top to Tail Cycling trip as a group of friends, family or colleagues or as a solo traveller. You are also welcome to use this trip as a fundraiser for the charity of your choice.

If you have a group of over 10 people, we would be more than happy to run a private trip for your team, your charity or your company.

For any further info or to chat about running a bespoke trip, we’d love to hear from you at info@adventurousewe.co.uk or call 01492 588 069.

Level of difficulty

The Top to Tail Wales Cycling Challenge is graded as ‘Tough’ due to the mileage over 3 days and undulating terrain.

Preparation is key to help you get the most enjoyment and reward from this adventure. A good level of fitness and endurance will help you conquer the ascents and descents together with long days in the saddle. A training programme will be provided to help you reach the start line knowing that you’re set to enjoy the adventure ahead.

Training

A bespoke training programme will be provided when join this adventure to help you with your preparations. This includes info, videos and an exclusive discount code for a 28 day kettlebell training programme & app which is ideal for strength and endurance training. There are some long days in the saddle and some good hill climbs, so the more you are prepared, the more you will enjoy the challenge.

Our motto is: Train hard, smile harder and enjoy the journey!

Kit

A full kit list will be provided when you register for this challenge. Good kit can make the difference between a fantastic adventure and an uncomfortable one. We strongly recommend you train in your cycling kit in varying weather conditions so you know your kit is both suitable and comfortable for this trip. 

An exclusive Adventurous Ewe discount code will be provided for the independent outdoor retailers Joe Brown, The Climbers Shop and ashmei athletic apparel on registering for this challenge.

A hire bike and helmet can be provided at an additional cost of £85 per person. Rest assured any equipment that we supply will be hygienically cleaned and sanitised and was not used 72 hours before you use it and then will not be used for the next 72 hours.

Weather

The weather in Wales can change rapidly in Wale so it is essential that you are prepared for all conditions including rain, wind and heat. We recommend checking the Mountain Weather Information Service at http://www.mwis.org.uk/. The Leader/s reserve the right to change the itinerary at any time should the conditions require it.  In these circumstances we will make the best alternative arrangements possible that maintain the integrity of the original itinerary.

Getting there and back home

You will need to make your own way to Conwy, North Wales by car or train. There is free car parking at the hostel. The closest train station is Llandudno Junction which has direct links from London Euston, Crewe and Chester. A pick up service can be organised for you from the station to your hostel.

For your return home, you can catch the train from Cardiff or opt to book the return shuttle service to Conwy for yourself and your bike at a cost of £85 per person. Further information will be provided once you book onto this adventure. 

Accommodation

Three night’s accommodation is included in this trip in hostels or B&B’s. The rooms are based on a twin or multi-share basis however if you would prefer a single room, this can be organised for you at an additional cost of £45 per person per night, depending on availability. We ensure that the accommodation places we use have updated their health and hygiene procedures following COVID-19.

What food and drinks are included?

Three breakfasts and three lunches are included in this trip together with snacks and drink refills at checkpoints. We recommend that you bring your own snacks, both sweet and savoury and electrolytes for your bike journey. Dinner is not included to allow you the flexibility to order what you wish following a long day in the saddle.

Please let us know prior to the challenge start date if you have any specific dietary requirements or allergies.

Water-To-Go Bottles

The impact of single use plastic is having on our landscape, wildlife and oceans, it is now more important than ever that we all make changes in order to help our planet. We may not be a huge global company but we’re passionate about playing our part and trying to make a huge difference collectively. Together we can dramatically reduce our consumption of single use plastics and support our responsible travel ethos of ‘Take nothing but photos, leave nothing but boot-prints, keep nothing but memories.’

You can make a difference too with taking part in one of our UK events and purchasing one of these environmentally friendly reusable alternative bottles compared to single-use plastic water bottles. Grab a Water-to-Go bottle through Adventurous Ewe and receive a 15% discount. Even better, Water-to-Go will donate a further 15% to our charity partner, Cool Earth. For more info please visit https://www.adventurousewe.co.uk/water-to-go-bottle-partner-sheep/ or email us at susan@adventurousewe.co.uk to buy your Water-To-Go bottle.

Adventure with purpose – what we do to help protect environment

Locally, we help support the vital work of the Snowdonia Society who since 1967 continues to work tirelessly to ensure that Snowdonia is well-protected, well-managed and enjoyed by all.  

We are also very excited to have teamed up with leading climate change charity Cool Earth, who share our mission to protect the planet’s precious environment in a sustainable manner. The future of rainforest protection is where everyone makes a difference to climate change! We invest a % of our revenue into supporting critical conservation projects around the world through Cool Earth. You are most welcome to help make a difference too by sparing a few pennies. Please give what you can and help save the world’s rainforests today by visiting https://www.coolearth.org/campaigns/28292/adventurous-ewe/. Just £2.50 will save 10 trees and lock up 10 tonnes of CO2. Together, we can all make a difference in helping preserve this precious and wonderful planet. Thank-ewe

Payment info 

Deposit of £75 per person is required on booking.
Remaining balance of £540 per person is due for payment no later than 6 weeks prior to the trip start date.

Please note, if you need to change your booking 60 days or more before the start date you can make flexible date change, subject to availability, without incurring any admin costs. If you need to cancel your booking 60 days or more before the event start date, you will be issued with a credit note to the value of your payment that you can use for another event of your choice, subject to availability.

You are welcome to fundraise for a charity of your choice if you wish to do so. All sponsorship monies are to be sent directly to your chosen charity.

Top tips

  • Train in your cycling kit in varying weather conditions so you know your kit is both suitable and comfortable for your trip. Make sure you include some good hill training and mileage on the bike
  • Ensure your bike is set up correctly. Speak to a specialist at your local bike shop if you are unsure
  • Have your bike fully serviced before this trip
  • Get you butt used to being in the saddle for consecutive days of cycling
  • Be self sufficient and ensure you have everything you need with you on the bike ie. puncture repair kit, spare inner tubes, snacks, electrolytes, mobile phone, bike light/s, etc.
  • Know how to change a puncture. The crew will be there to help if you experience more technical bike issues
  • Be fully aware of the Cycling Highway Code
  • Have two bags – a small bag to leave in the support vehicle with any additional items of clothing, spare bike parts, snacks etc. and your main luggage/travel bag which will be transferred from hotel to hotel
  • Bring your own facemask (optional) and hand sanitiser (essential)
  • Bring your own water bottles that you can refill at the checkpoints and avoid plastic bottles
  • Most importantly……ENJOY THE ENTIRE EXPERIENCE

Ride Wales Top to Tail

Responsible Tourism

We are very excited to have teamed up with leading climate change charity Cool Earth, who share our mission to protect the planet’s precious environment in a sustainable manner. The future of rainforest protection is where everyone makes a difference to climate change!

We have also invested in Water-to-Go products so you, our valued flock, will be healthier whilst also helping to make the World a better place! Together we can dramatically reduce our consumption of single use plastics and support our responsible travel ethos of ‘Take nothing but photos, leave nothing but boot-prints, keep nothing but memories.’

As part of our commitment to helping the planet, members of the flock who join us for a big overseas expedition will receive an Adventurous Ewe Water-to-Go bottle. This is our way of saying thank-ewe and also making a difference to the consumption of single use plastics in developing countries.

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