Starting out from the public car park in Llanfoist, just a short ride from the centre of Abergavenny and National Railway, you will begin a 9 mile ascent on the former Merthyr, Tredegar and Abergavenny Railway towards Brynmawr. This is now the Sustains National Cycle Route 46, paved and a gentle climb averaging 2-3%. Crossing the Monmouthshire and Brecon Canal Path and through the first station, Govilon. Continuing up the side of the valley past Gilwern station, a double platform with stairs on one platform. The track deviates from the cycle route onto a narrow lane for about two miles through two switchbacks for a short steep section and then re-joining the railway which has now been made into a road. Over a viaduct at Clydach and the remains of the station. The route circumnavigates the two railway tunnels that are now bricked up and disused. Clydach quarry workings appear on the left with much evidence of derelict buildings.
On towards Brynmawr via the newly opened cycle path and passing the Jack Williams Gateway Bridge, named after Company Sergeant John Williams (known as Jack), a local boy from Nantyglo, who was awarded a Victoria Cross in WW1 after storming a machine gun post.
The route meanders up to the top of Llanelli Hill. Crossing the Blaen-Afon Road it continues onto the National Cycle Route 492 (Brynmawr to Pontypool Railway). The route takes on grass paths with plastic mesh sunk into the ground and non-slip decking boards which assist with traction during inclement weather.
The Garn lakes appear below, and beautiful scenery opens with occasional reminders of a once industrial age. The Pontypool and Blaenavon Heritage Railway is reached and at weekends runs vintage steam locomotives. An ideal and well deserved tea stop and refreshments are available.
From here it’s possible to freewheel (No pedalling required!!!) all the way down to Pontypool! Cutting through Pontypool Park we reach the Monmouthshire and Brecon Canal via a very small section of road. This is approximately 11 miles of flat canal path on a mixture of gravel and loose soil. Penelope’s Café at the lovely Goytre Wharf is about 5 miles from the finish and offers indoors and outdoors sitting with tasty foods and refreshing drinks, ideal to recharge for the final pedal back to the car park at Llanfoist.
33miles 1400ft Climbing. The ride is predominantly off road on a mixture of hardpack and asphalt surfaces. The last 5 miles of canal path can be a little boggy in places if it's undergone some recent precipitation, so Gravel bikes, CX Bikes, MTBs suitable. Hybrids with a bit of traction should be fine. Electric bikes welcome.
All participants are expected to bring:
• A bike in good working order with tyres pumped to the correct pressure. If in doubt, have it checked over by a local bike shop or qualified mechanic.
• A cycle helmet
• Carry at least a spare inner tube, pump and tyre levers.
• A cycle lock for use at the refreshment stop.
• Dress for the expected weather on the day.
• A drink and snack Refreshment stops as decided by the participants.
BRITISH CYCLING RULES FOR POST LOCKDOWN RIDES
• Please only sign up if you are sure you want to ride.
• Keep a social distance between yourself and others whilst not riding.
• Don't share anything. This means that if you have a puncture, you need to be able to fix it yourself.
• Make sure you bring your own tools – spare inner tube, tyre levers and pump. Also bring your own hand sanitiser, tissues and anything else you may need for the ride.
• Please bring a face mask/covering although there is no need to wear one on the ride.
• Don't ride if you feel unwell or have symptoms of Covid-19.
• Don’t ride if you have been told to self-isolate.
• Inform the leader if you develop symptoms or test positive after the ride.
• If you've not managed to sign up for the ride, please do not arrive at the designated meeting point.
• Please make sure your details on your profile are up-to-date, in particular that we have a phone number for you. If you don’t have a mobile, put your home number in the mobile phone box space provided.