Biking at Abercelyn, Bala, Gwynedd, North Wales
Cycling on quiet roads, mountain passes, car-free roads and Mountain Biking
There is excellent routes for biking around Bala for mountain biking, car-free trails and cycling on quiet roads and mountain passes.
The following bike-related facilities are available at Abercelyn:
- Bike Store (lockable) with work facilities
- Bike Wash
- Drying Room
- Biking Guides and OS Maps
- Ample parking in the grounds
Information on biking from Abercelyn
There are several quiet local roads for cycling. There are also many excellent locations for Mountain Biking in the Berwyns and the Penllyn Forest close to Bala or slightly further away at dedicated mountain bike centres, e.g. Coed-y-Brenin Forest Park near Dollgelau and Gwydyr Forest Centre (2-miles north of Betws-y-Coed).
Biking routes (on roads or car free trails)
There are many quiet roads locally, e.g. Bala to Llanuwchllyn along the back of the lake or Bala to Llandderfel and Cynwyd along the Dee Valley. Bala is the home of the Wild Wales Challenge a demanding tour, of around 80 miles, over mountainous roads held on the August Bank Holliday Sunday each year - organised by Merseyside CTC.
Marked “Bike Routes around Bala” on roads (see leaflet available from the TIC and Abercelyn):
- 11: Bala - Llanuwchllyn (16 km, 10 miles)
- 12: Bala - Llanuwchllyn - Lake Vyrnwy - Bala (37 km, 23 miles)
- 13: Llanuwchllyn - Trawsfynydd (22 km, 14 miles)
- 14: Llanuwchllyn - Dolhendre - Llanuwchllyn (6 km, 4 miles)
- 15: Bala - Rhyduchaf - Parc - Bala (13 km, 8 miles)
- 16: Bala - Llandderfel - Cynwyd (18 km, 11 miles)
A Bala Round (2½ hours, 16 miles, 26 km): this ride affords an easy introduction to the lovely countryside around Bala including Lake Bala (Llyn Tegid). The road, pleasant and well surfaced, runs parallel with the narrow-gauge railway before taking you into open countryside, dominated by the stark profile of Arenig Fawr. Bike hire available in Bala from R H Roberts. (South Gwynedd Leader Network)
Mawddach Trail is car free and runs from Dolgellau to Barmouth (18 km, 11 miles one-way). The Mawddach estuary is considered to be one of the most beautiful in the country and is also a bird sanctuary. The trail (tarmac/gravel) was previously a railway line and is therefore flat! Start at Dolgellau and have lunch in Barmouth (cross the estuary via the wooden railway bridge) and then return to Dolgellau. Call at the George III (17th) Hotel Penmaenpool, for lunch or refreshments. Bike hire available in Dolgellau. Sustrans info. The CTC Mawddach Trail circuit follows quiet roads and the Mawddach Trail to provide a circular ride of 22 miles (36 km). It includes Cregennen Lakes and is described as one of the best short rides in Wales.
Cadair Idris circuit route: Dolgellau - Cregennen Lakes - Dysynni Valley - Abergynolwyn - Tal-y-llyn Lake - Dolgellau. This circuit takes in some splendid scenery including Tal-y-Llyn. Its a challenging ride of 51 km (32 miles) with 1,200m (4,000 ft) ascent on roads and tracks with plenty of climbin- see CTC info.
Lake Vyrnwy: the 12 mile (19 km) shoreline provides one of those rarities in mid-Wales - a long flat, circular road. The journey around the lake is becoming even more enjoyable by the creation of a sculpture trail (Cycling in Rural Wales)). There is also a bird sanctuary, bike hire and refreshments available or try the Tower Tavern at the Lake Vyrnwy Hotel. Bike hire available in Llanwddyn (near the dam). Information.
Llyn Brenig: a 11 mile (18 km) route around the lake mainly on tracks with a short distance on a road. The CTC route starts at Llyn Brenig and is a 30 mile circuit on quiet roads.
Alwen Trail: a 7 mile (11.5 km), easy, off-road trail round the Alwen reservoir in the lonely Hiraethog moors. Can be extended to Llyn Brenig (see above) making a 14 mile (22 km) "Two Lakes" route.
Various routes suitable for family cycling in the Hiraethog area, including Llyn Brenig and the Alwen reservoir.
The extensive forest tracks (250 km) and Fun Route at Coed-y-Brenin are suitable for hybrid bikes.
The following are more strenuous hill climbing routes, using quiet roads over mountain passes with excellent views:
- Bala to Lake Vyrnwy via Cwm Hirnant (460m).
- Llanuwchllyn to Trawsfynydd via Lliw vallet (531m).
- Llanuwchllyn to Llanymawddwy via Bwlch Groes (545m) the highest road pass in Wales
- Lake Vyrnwy via Eunant valley to Bwlch Groes (545m)
- CTC route: Bala to Lake Vyrnwy (34.5 miles, 600m+ ascent) via Bwlch Groes (545m) with return via Cwm Hirnant (460m).
South Snowdonia Greenway: Making use of trails, forest tracks and quiet back-roads of up to 43 km through the heart of South Snowdonia. Travel down from the lake at Trawsfynydd via open moorland and forest down to the coast of Cardigan Bay at Barmouth. Shuttle bus runs on some days pre-booking required and several restrictions!
Trawsfynydd Lake Circuit: 8 miles around the lake on cycle/walking tracks, minor roads and the A470 (cycle provision). There is one steep part on the trail with a loose surface, which goes for around 400meters about 600 meters form the main dam.
Bikes can be rented from:
- Bike shop, R H Roberts, 7/9 High St. Bala, Tel: 01678-520 252 (see below)
- Gro Cycles, Erw y Gro, Sarnau, Bala (on A494, 3.5 miles north of Bala), Tel: 01678-530 415 or 07867 984 314
- Coed-y-Brenin Visitor Centre (north of Dolgellau on the A470), Tel: 01341 440742 (reservation recommended in main season)
- Trawsfynydd Holiday Village Mountain Bike Hire, Bronaber, Trawsfynydd, near Coed-y-Brenin, Tel: 01766-540219
- Beics, Beddgelert Forest Campsite (A4085) Tel: 0800 298 5835
- Dolgellau Cycles, The Old Furnace, Smithfield St., Dolgellau, Tel: 01341-423 332
- Llanwddyn village (near the dam), Lake Vyrnwy
Local Bike shop & hire: R H Roberts (7/9 High St. Bala) Tel: 01678-520 252
Full-day hire (8 Hours): £12 per bike
Half day hire (4 Hours): £ 6 per bike
Junior Cycles & Trailer bikes are charged at 50% of the above rates.
Prices include helmets, tool kit, pump, locks, route info & loan of OS map if required.
Local Bike Hire: Gro Cycles, (on A494, 3.5 miles north of Bala), Tel: 01678-530 415 or 07867 984 314:
- Mountain bikes or road bikes (adult or child)
- Full day hire: £14 per bike
- Half day hire: £ 9 per bike
- Child: £8
- Trailer/"bug": £8
- Parking & refreshments available
If the above are not enough, it is also possible to ride in the Machynlleth & Dovey Forest area (MBWales), around 50 minutes by car.