Sat 8 Jun 2019
Even the fittest riders need a place to relax, refuel and carry out repairs. Our expert knows the best bike-friendly hotels and B&Bs in cycling hotspots
Brecon Beacons, Wales
In a great spot overlooking the Cefn Coed viaduct, halfway point on the 90km traffic-free Taff Trail, The Grange is a well-appointed guesthouse run by cycling fanatics Gethin and Nikki Pearson. The choice of local rides is immense: lonely mountain roads and bridleways crisscross the Brecon Beacons national park and include big-name road climbs, such as the Rhigos and the Tumble, as well as the Gap off-road route. The mountain bike trails of Bike Park Wales are a few minutes away, and a network of gravel tracks along the ridges above the valleys of the south Wales coalfield is ripe for exploration. The set-up is geared to looking after cyclists: Gethin and Nikki maintain a Strava library of recommended routes, there’s a secure lock-up, bike workshop and pressure washer, they serve hearty home-cooked dinners and can arrange transfers and emergency pick-ups.
• Doubles from £85 B&B, thegrangecefncoed.wales
Nevis range, Scotland
For Londoners, there’s no better start to a Scottish cycling holiday than a night on the Caledonian sleeper, being rocked to sleep as the train trundles north, bike stowed in the guard’s van. It arrives next morning in Fort William, at the end of the West Highland Way and the Great Glen cycling routes. The mountain biking possibilities are unlimited, from gentle family-friendly trails to cross-country marathons and the extreme downhill trails that featured in the UCI World Cup (1-2 June 2019). On the meadows and woodland of an organic farm at the foot of the Nevis range, but only four miles from the station, Great Glen Yurts is an outdoorsy alternative to a hotel or B&B. The yurts, shepherd’s huts and cabins are all cosy and have their own wood-burners, plus there’s a rustic shared kitchen. Bike hire and route advice are available from Nevis Cycles.
• Yurt for four from £70 a night, shepherd’s hut for two from £60, greatglenyurts.com
The 19th-century Romantics who flocked to Wales fell in love with the Mawddach estuary and its broad tidal reach ringed by craggy hills. The old railway line is now a traffic-free cycling and walking path, and just the beginning of the good cycling in this corner of southern Snowdonia. A short ride from Morfa Mawddach station, Graig Wen has rooms and self-catering cottages in a stylishly renovated former slate-cutting shed, plus yurts and a small campsite on a wide expanse of salt marsh, meadow, pasture and oak woodland. There’s good mountain biking on the trails at nearby Coed y Brenin and plenty of quiet country lanes and gravel tracks on the flanks of Cadair Idris, in the Dovey valley and the hills around Bala. For dinner, the George III at Penmaenpool is an easy ride along the estuary, and further upstream is the handsome, granite town of Dolgellau.
• Doubles from £83 B&B, Camping pitches from £15, graigwen.co.uk
Girona, Catalonia, Spain