Saddle Sore – Reviews, Rides & Rablings – Cycling Blog

Cycle Up Snowdon

It had been a while in planning and I’d fallen out of cycling a bit while my bike was out of action with a broken ‘brifter’ but we’d set a date and although I wasn’t really up for it we left Gosport at 18:00, Friday evening (25/07/2015) on a 2 stop strategy to Snowdonia.

The bike I chose was the only bike I have, my Kinesis Decade Tripster ATR. I did swap the tyres from Marathons to Sam Plus.

First stop was Cherwell Servives on the M40/A43 north of Bicester. We had it our way at BK.

Second was an industrail estate near Oswestry about 11:50. We had KFC.

It was raining on and off all the way and that combined with various diversions and in a campervan that isn’t happy going faster than 60mph meant we were well behind schedule.

We finally hit Llanberis at 01:30 and found the 24 hour car park closed so we back tracked to a nearby layby and went to bed around 02:00.

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It rained most of the night and the sheep were bleeting from the earliest hours. We were due up at 05:00 but I think it was more like 06:00 by the time were fully awake.

Breakfast was those prepacked porridge pots and Weetabix breakfast drinks. Tim pissed about with his bike (a hardtail MTB) for an inordinately long amount of time.

It was 06:50 by the time we got on the road as we cycled the road from the layby to Llanberis village.

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Tim needed the toilet, all the public conveniences were locked but as luck would have it there was a bank of portaloos lined up for an event that weekend.

With the portaloo suitably destroyed we finally got climbing at 07:15.

It starts on a tarmac lane that gets pretty steep pretty quick and I struggled even on my wide range cassette. Tim on his MTB gearing seemed to be ok.

After the tarmac you pass through a gate and start on the Llanberis route proper (07:30).

All research on the route beforehand suggested that around 70-80% is rideable, and despite some early pushing this proved to be about right.

My ‘road bike’ gearing was not ideal but it was just about workable, while Tim on his MTB was naturally more suited.

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On the way up we passed a few walkers and a single cyclist decesending.

The weather was alright until the Halfway House at which point the mist rolled in and we lost the sun. It got a bit cold and as always I hadn’t taken gloves (take gloves!).

We summited about 09:20 which meant we only had 40 minutes to get back down before the voluntary bike ban between 10:00 and 17:00.

After photos and putting my spare socks on my hands we set off down the mountain. The mist was beginning to clear and breaks in the cloud allowed for beautiful photo opportunities that was disappear as soon as you got the camera out.

The path was filling up walkers and the decent was slow. It was no easier going down than coming up, I still couldn’t cycle the parts I couldn’t cycle when ascending. I sensed it was a little easier for Tim; though having said that he did come off his bike.

By 10:00 the track was full of feet and even parts that we could’ve cycle we couldn’t because of the shear number of people. It took about 1hr 15 mins to get to the bottom.

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I’d been to Pete’s Eats on a previous Snowdon visit and had fond memories so I forced Tim there and was a little disappointed. Maybe I had romanticised my last visit but this time we had over an hours wait for average food. I’d still go back.

Back at the van we loaded up and were on our way home by 13:00. We took a different route home taking in the views across the Menai Strait to Anglesey from the North Wales Express Way (A55). We didn’t get back until about 19:30.

The Tripster ATR did itself proud again, going where it shouldn’t really go and doing it well.

The cycle up…

The cycle down…

 

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Matt

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