Rocks and roots

Snowdon

Biking down Snowdon feels like a rite of passage for a mountain biker. This was certainly the impression we got from chatting to other people doing it the same day as us - a huge variety from full on downhillers to cross country riders who decided that diluted Bells was the ideal isotonic drink (much to Rich's surprise when he was offered some...)

The way everyone seems to say to do it (and that we would certainly recommend) is up the Llanberis path, down the Ranger Path and Telegraph Alley. Note that there is a voluntary ban on riding on Snowdon from 1 May to 30 Sept between 9am and 5pm. We chose the middle weekend in April, which happened to be the weekend before Easter. The weather was unseasonably good so it was probably a good choice (not too cold on the top), though I was shocked by how busy it was. The other option would be to do it before 9pm or after 5pm, though this would leave less room for mechanicals and tiredness!

The Llanberis Path is actually surprisingly rideable for the first two thirds. Then it becomes a soul destroying push. There was plenty of banter from other riders and walkers to keep us entertained. It took 3.5 hours (and despite clear skies all the way up, there was cloud just at the top, grrr). The first part of the descent along the ridge to where the Ranger Path leaves is nice and technical. However it was far too busy to ride to we ended up riding along the railway (very frustrating, especially as people thought we were wussing out cos it was too hard, not cos it was too busy). Starting to descend the Ranger Path was heaven again after the crowds on the summit. It starts not too steep, though a little loose - just enough to keep you on your toes. then the switchbacks start - they are much more technical. I think I walked about 6 sections of about 5m each, but rode the rest. If you aren't a technical rider I probably wouldn't recommend it as it is long and remote, and it's nice to enjoy the descent after the long push! Once it flattens out you need to look for a bridleway heading right at. Just when you thought the pushing was all over, there's about 100m more ascent to the top of Telegraph Valley, which you descend into Llanberis. It is singletrack, but smooth and with drainage channels to jump.

Rating: 3, "Good riding, worth travelling to".
Added: 2014-03-15 , Last updated: 2014-03-15
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