Y Mynyddoedd Duon

Note: This entry has been restored from old archives.

As mentioned in the previous posting I made a trip out to Wales on Monday to go for a bike ride, my destination was The Black Mountains (Y Mynyddoedd Duon in Welsh). I had done a bit of reading about riding in Wales and chosen a few published routes that interested me, in the end I picked route from MTB-Wales.com for The Black Mountains as by this time this was the only OS Landranger map that had arrived from Amazon (it’s cheaper to get the maps from Amazon). The route is amusingly called Mynydd How You Go ! (ho ho!), in case you haven’t picked it the word mynydd is Welsh for mountain. The exact spot I parked the car at and the trail starts is marked on this map, note the nearby town of Bwlch it’s name basically just means pass in English (as in mountain pass).

The ride was good fun and after looking at the map closely and realising that the stretch around Mynydd Troed was fairly flat I regret cutting it short. After getting to the bottom the “Very Technical” descent and wading through mud I’d decided that it was time to loop back. Now I know what “Very Technical” means, I can’t believe people would ride down that (I can really, but it was quite a nasty path). I went down a little way but a combination of expecting I was going to fall off and roll down the hill and the horrible noise my brakes were making convinced me that walking down was a better option.

The disc brakes on my bike are great for stopping really quickly, but they’re painful for checking your speed on a descent. When I hold them on while going downhill they make a terrible moaning noise, I was ashamed to be upsetting the peace of the hillsides. I must find out if there is something I can do about the noise, it really is pretty awful.

I was hoping to also have another ride on a section of the Taff Trail that runs along the east side of the Talybont Reservior but didn’t have the heart for it after cleaning all the mud off myself and my bike so we could get back in the car. I’ll reserve that ride for next time. I’m looking forward to the arrival of my Brecon Beacons, Elan Valley & Builth Wells and Weston-super-Mare, Bridgwater & Wells (not in Wales) maps.

Things I’ve learnt about my bike:

    The moaning the disc brakes make on downhills is really, really terrible.
    I can’t use the second gear ratio, it just doesn’t position properly (I call the cogs at the front ratios and the cogs at the back gears, I have no idea if this is correct when referring to bikes). Whenever I try to go to the second (middle) one it click-clacks and tries to jump onto the smallest one, I think that something probably needs adjusting.
    Fine grit particles from mud get into the tube that holds the fork/handlebars assembly. This seems to be a bit of a worry as I imagine there could be some abrasion problems. I’ll have to see about cleaning it out somehow.
    I think that clipped boots/pedals would be better than hiking boots.

I think I should read up a bit on bike maintenance.

Photo-by-photo details of the ride starting here.