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Black Mountains & The Elan Valley

Windmill Cycle Club Special Event

Black Mountains & The Elan Valley

Event Status:



Mike Higgs (with initial plans by Scott Morrell)

Start Date:


September 4, 2020

Ride Start:

See Event Day descriptions below.

Start Time:


This event is now fully booked for 2020 - We'll be back, so please check these pages regularly.

Differently to the reccy ride of 2019, this weekend will now start with a visit to The Black Mountains in the Brecon Beacons National Park. We did this route as part of an Afan weekender and everyone involved agreed the 'Black Mountains Classic' was one of, if not the best all-day routes they'd ever ridden!

We'll then drive to the Elan Valley, set amongst a spectacular backdrop of Victorian dams & reservoirs, open hills, old railways and woodlands, the scenery in this part of Wales is as much a reward as the sweeping valley descents.

Each ride offers something different, from the famous 'Monks Trod' to technical singletrack and rocky dam edged tracks that leave you in awe of the surroundings you find yourself in.

You'd be forgiven for thinking you were in America or Canada! As this is Wales at its natural best.


Day One

Friday 4th September 2020

Ride Start Location: Llanbedr, Crickhowell NP8 1SJ

Leave Hitchin around 7am to allow for a 3.5 hour drive to the start, which is a residential street in Llanbedr (see Google Map link)

Please bring sandwiches for a packed lunch.

The Black Mountains Classic is tough, no doubt, but rewards are there in bucketloads with huge views from the top of the biggest ascent. From there, enjoy almost six miles of gentle downhill riding with lots, LOTS, more in between.

Friday Dinner – We will eat in the Hotel on Friday evening.

Route Overview Video
Google Map Link to Ride Start:

Plotaroute Map Details

Please click here


Day Two

Saturday 5th September 2020

Ride Start Location: Elan Visitor Centre LD6 5HP

After breakfast, we head back to the Elan Visitor Centre for our biggest ride of the weekend. Some challenging climbs await us today. The reward however is stunning views across the valleys, Claerwen Reservoir & Dam and the infamous 'Monks Trod'.

At 31.5 miles long with 1250m of ascent, today's ride will truly give us an insight into just how remote and isolated this part of Wales can be.

We then drive back to our accommodation to freshen up for our evening meal, which will be in a nearby pub.

Route Overview Video
Google Map Link to Ride Start:

Plotaroute Map Details

Please click here


Day Three

Sunday 6th September 2020

Ride Start Location: Elan Visitor Centre LD6 5HP

Another brilliant route heading out from the same start location as the previous day, but offering a completely different 'feel' for those with energy left for day three.

As with all WCC BIG Weekenders, there's no pressure to ride on the last day, or any day for that matter, so if you fancy a stroll in the Elan Valley before heading home, that's perfectly fine.

Just don't miss the opportunity to take in what is an amazing part of this wonderful country.

Route Overview Video
Google Map Link to Ride Start:

Plotaroute Map Details

Please click here
Event Accommodation Details:

Address: Highland Moors Guest House, Wellington Road, Llandrindod Wells LD1 5ND

Highland Moors offers a superb venue in the heart of Mid Wales. The guest house has spacious rooms for groups of mountain bikers. The rooms have been refurbished to a high standard and continue to be improved with each passing year. Highland Moors has won the Certificate of Excellence 5 of the last 6 years.

​Enjoy a drink and a game of pool or head into the garden and try the zip wire. Take advantage of the secure lock-up, secure spacious car park and catch up with friends or work with the free WIFI. They offer a fully licensed bar to compliment the dinner menu.

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Additional Useful Event Information: Each event is different, so this is a general 'heads-up'.


Service your bike, or at a minimum check that it has newish brake pads and the gears are fine. Fingers crossed for sunshine, or at least not pouring rain – this trip will anyway go ahead regardless. Just check the weather forecast before heading off, and adjust your clothes accordingly
Try to get as many cycle miles in as you can, pre-trip.
Bring some warmer clothes, and a spare layer/rain jacket to carry on the ride. Weather can quickly change, and don't underestimate the potential for a cold wind on top of the hills. Given a lot of the riding is fairly remote, make sure you ride with enough water and snacks.

What to bring

Must have spare bits for your bike:
Rear mech hanger (this tends to be unique to your bike, and can easily be damaged by a rock); chain link (hard to fix a broken chain without it); inner tubes; pump; if running tubeless tyre patch/stans fluid/CO2 inflator & cartridges.
Nice to have spare bits:
Extra set of brake pads, spare gear cable; oil lube; cycle energy gels are great for tired legs on long rides. They really can make the difference between finishing a ride or crashing out. Always have some spare with you.

We've built up a great list of essential equipment through trial, error and experience out on the trails. Click here to visit out Essential Equipment page.