Cyclo-therapy: My wife had her first fall and realised that coming off your bike can hurt, but it won't kill you
Saturday 18 October 2008
Cash strapped by the credit crunch, my wife and I decided to take our summer holiday in Wales this year. To help keep things cheap, we waited till the end of September when the cottage rents came down, and took nothing with us but a few books and our bikes for entertainment.
It turns out – lest you've forgotten – that biking really is the prefect activity when economic times are tough. While we ended up splashing out on a few nice meals, as well as some castle entry fees, one of the very best days of our week away cost us absolutely nothing: a day's mountain biking in the hills around Betws-y-Coed.
Snowdonia really is a mountain biker's paradise, with more than enough trails to keep you going for a week if you've got the energy. Better still, most of the routes are clearly signposted, and there are various options for bikers of all abilities.
The main attraction round Betws-y-Coed is the Marin trail – a purpose built 25-kilometre course that offers some fantastic single-track descents (as well as a number of gruelling climbs) – set within the beautiful Gwydyr Forest, with spectacular views of the surrounding mountains and lakes.
The course has some fairly technical and steep downhill sections on it, which means it's certainly not suitable for absolute beginners. But all of the tough stuff is easily walkable if you're attempting it, as we did, on a weekday when it's quiet. At weekends, however, it can get very crowded – so it's best avoided at these times if you're not a confident biker.
My wife's relatively new to mountain biking, having only taken it up when I bought her a bike last Christmas – so I knew the Marin trail was going to be her hardest challenge yet. And while there were a few moments where she looked like she never wanted to get on a bike again, I think she came away with loads more confidence. Most importantly, she had her first fall – and made the realisation that coming off your bike can hurt, but it probably won't kill you.
One of the best features of the Marin trail is that there's no need for a map, as there are 78 numbered signposts around the course, which not only tell you where to go, but give you an idea of how far you have to go.
It's a must for any mountain biking enthusiast – and if you want more details, visit mbwales.com .
Dolphins ‘deliberately get high’ on puffer fish nerve toxins by carefully chewing and passing them around
Outlander novelist Diana Gabaldon in battle to prevent 'industrial-scale' windfarm being built where travel series is set
Britain's bluebells now face a fight for their very survival
Iberian lynx cubs born in the wild bring hope for the world's most endangered feline species
Morne Hardenberg: 'Great white sharks have a softer side most people never get to see'
- 2 The man who filmed the Freddie Gray video has been arrested at gunpoint
- 4 How the language you speak changes your view of the world
Over 50,000 families shipped out of London boroughs in the past three years due to welfare cuts and soaring rents
EU asylum policy is 'a direct threat to our civilisation', says Nigel Farage
The Rothschild Libel: Why has it taken 200 years for an anti-Semitic slur that emerged from the Battle of Waterloo to be dismissed?
General Election 2015: SNP and its activists 'openly racist' towards the English, Farage says
General Election 2015: UK will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power, Labour warns
Schools forced to act as 'miniature welfare states' with teachers buying underwear and even haircuts for poor pupils
£28000 - £45000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Senior Digital Marketing Cons...
£16640 - £18500 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An Assistant Stores Keeper is r...
£16000 - £18500 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an excellent opportunit...
£17000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Developer required to join a bu...