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 .
Snowfalls are now just a thing of the past
Church of England threatens to cease BP and Shell investments over climate concerns
Animal Extinction - the greatest threat to mankind
Organic farming can feed the world if done right, scientists claim
Prince William attacks China over 'ignorant craving' for ivory
- 1 Nigel Farage: Me vs Russell Brand on Question Time – he's got the chest hair but where are his ideas?
- 2 Harry Potter fans can apply to the Hogwarts-inspired College of Wizardry
- 3 Jessica Chambers: 19-year-old woman 'doused with lighter fluid and burned alive' in the US
- 4 Russell Brand calls Nigel Farage 'poundshop Enoch Powell' in BBC Question Time debate
- 5 Orange Wednesdays are no more
Disgruntled RBS worker writes hilarious open letter to Russell Brand after anti-capitalist publicity stunt leaves him hungry
Nigel Farage defends Kerry Smith 'ch***y' comment: 'If you are going for a Chinese, what do you say you’re going for?'
Nigel Farage's approval rating hits 'record low' as popularity suffers in wake of Ukip sex scandal
Pakistan school attack live: Taliban kill at least 132 children in 'horrifying' massacre
Sony hack: Angelina Jolie branded 'seriously out of her mind' in further embarrassing leaked email saga
Panic Saturday: 13 million Britons spend £1.2bn – while 13 million others across the country live in poverty unable to afford food
£20000 - £30000 per annum + OTE £50k: SThree: SThree are a global FTSE 250 bus...
£20000 - £25000 per annum + OTE £40,000 + Car + Pension: SThree: SThree are a ...
£20000 - £25000 per annum + OTE £35K: SThree: We consistently strive to be the...
£20000 - £25000 per annum + OTE £35000: SThree: SThree are a global FTSE 250 b...