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Wild Wales Gravel Festival

The Wild Wales event was organised by Wild Cycles, a family business run by John (Dad) and Jon (Son).


Having grown up in South Africa, they bring their experience of camping in the African bush to the UK. The camp was so well set up, we were definitely glamping rather than wild camping with warm showers, kitchen, open fire, homemade pizza…


It was an amazing weekend away and we hope to see you there next year!


bell tent camping in wales

Day 1 - Gravel Loop

48 km | 29 mi from New Radnor feat. Bledfa, Black Mixen & Great Creigiau.


Rating > Difficult

Terrain > Hilly gravel paths, single tracks and some technical descents

Elevation Gain > 1,340 m | 4,396ft


It’s 4 degrees outside when we open our eyes at 7am but a sneak peek of the view through the tent door makes getting up much easier. An hour later and we’re ready to go! As we wanted to take our time & enjoy the scenery, we’ve chosen the medium loop: 47 km off-road with just over 1000 metres of elevation gain.


We quickly form a small group and get rolling. In no time we’re riding on stunning trails with only sheep and cows for company. We were expecting Wales to be green and rainy but it’s actually warm & sunny for the whole ride.



At the food stop, there’s a little truck that serves homemade welsh cakes and coffee so we chill there for a bit before hitting the trails again.


The second part of the ride is just incredible: open rolling hills with the most scenic views. The climbs are great, challenging enough but not crazy hard so we can really enjoy them whilst the descents are just awesome. They’re not too technical either, which is great since we’re a bunch of roadies with limited technique when it comes to gullies and rocks.



We then climb for a few kilometres through a pine forest (we could be in the Alps or even Canada) and at the end of the segment come the gullies! The lush grass covering the trail hides some deep ruts and we lose our balance a number few times but it's all part of the adventure and at least the landings are soft!



After that it’s time to descend all the way down to the campsite on probably the most exciting downhill segment of the day: you feel like you're flying with steep drops to one side and epic views down the valley.


gravel riding descending in Wales

We get to camp just after 4pm and Beatrice, John’s wife, has made a range of German delicacies to purchase: apple strudel, orange cake & open sandwiches (with gluten-free options too!). It’s delicious and we have to restrain ourselves not to go for round 2 (we know there’s pizza for dinner…). Instead, we just sip a few beers, make more friends and enjoy a well-earned warm shower.



Soon the fire starts crackling - we settle down in Komoot deckchairs with our dinner: at this point, warm food feels like heaven.


To finish the day on a high, the very talented trio @angusgeorgeandforbes treats us with an hour of live music which creates a fantastic party spirit. We walk back to our tent feeling like we’ve just had the best day and can't wait for tomorrow.


Day 1 - Gravel Loop
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Download GPX • 1.89MB

Day 2 - Wind Down “Bimble”

21 km | 13 mi from New Radnor feat. Great Creigiau, Black Mixen & Esgairnantau.


Rating > Difficult

Terrain > Steep climbing single track trails with some technical descents

Elevation Gain > 700m | 2,296ft


It’s freezing again when we wake up but it seems that our bodies are getting used to these temperatures and it’s easier to slip out of our sleeping bags. Today’s destination is welsh waterfall, we’re excited!


Whilst getting ready, I promise myself that next year I’ll bring a coffee kit as I am feeling caffeine-deprived, however, with the plan for the day being a “wind down bimble” I should be fine.


bimble /ˈbɪmb(ə)l/, verb: walk or travel at a leisurely pace.


The ride starts with a very punchy climb straight out of camp that lasts for kilometres and we're all questioning if "Brutal" would be a better way to describe the route...



The views are admittedly stunning, a great distraction from the screaming legs. It amazes us how the same place can deliver so many different impressions according to the time of the day, the light, the weather and the mood you’re in. We feel like we’re re-discovering yesterday’s landscape & keep repeating to each other that this part of the world is just stunning (and that we’re incredibly lucky with the weather).


horses in the countryside in Wales

After 16 km of cycling, we’ve already climbed 600 meters… A reminder that gravel riding is not about speed! We’re now at the top of the valley, ready to descend some technical trails all the way down to the waterfall - which was surprisingly dry but still a really cool place to hang out and chew on an energy bar.



Unfortunately, we have to use the main road as a shortcut in order to make it to London on time. It feels like we haven’t touched proper tarmac for ages and the adrenaline rush you get from rolling at pace kicks in again.


Back at the campsite, we make the most of a very handy Muc Off washing station - our bikes are splattered with mud and god knows what, so we’re grateful to have some brushes and cleaning sprays together with a hose. You might think that there is nothing special about this, but for us Londoners who wash their bikes in the shower it’s really close to luxury.


cycling campsite in Wales

It’s 3pm when he hit the road back to London, we've had awesome mini holiday and can't wait for Wild Wales 2023!


Day 2 - Wind Down Bimble
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COMING SOON - Moloko goes Wild ⚡️


If you want to get your gravel on then we've got some exciting news for you...


Together with Wild Cycles, we’re launching a series of 6 gravel adventures this autumn/winter, all in a special location and in partnership with some very exciting brands!


Keep an eye on the "rides" section of our website and subscribe to our newsletter so you don't miss out!




 

Disclaimer

All routes are illustrative only and users take full responsibility for their own safety when following any routes suggested on the Moloko Cycling website or app.

Only follow route if safe and legal to so, local traffic laws always take priority.

Take care to ride safely and respect other road users.




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