Tarquin's cycling pages

21 March 2004 - Taff Trail to Caerphilly

WhereTaff Trail to Caerphilly
(Brecon Beacons and South Wales)
Date21 March 2004
Duration2 hours
Distance11 miles (~18 km)
WeatherSunshine and occasional showers, strong wind at times
Trail conditionsDamp and lots of tarmac
Clare Doran 19 Apollo Terra
GT LTS 2000 (TWJ)
Mark 'Tarquin' Wilton-Jones 23 GT LTS 2000 (TWJ)
Apollo Terra

Trip report

Description by Mark 'Tarquin' Wilton-Jones

This trip, while short, was useful because it showed us how to bypass one steep section of the Taff Trail. The new route was all on tarmac, but for most of the length of it, it had a bridleway running alongside it, so if you want something a little more interesting, you can take that instead.

The trip started as the last Taff Trail trip, with a lot more wind. At the slope down from the first dismantled railway track to the other, we turned right, but stayed on the track, all the way to the beginnings of Caerphilly. On a calmer day, this would have been much more enjoyable on the return, as it is a long downhill section. The track reached an old railway junction with several brick arches and a choice of routes, one into Caerphilly, and the others being just for dog walkers, as they offer no easy ways back to the main trail (one of them would be good for cycling if you wanted to do a loop).

We turned around and headed downslope into the wind. Once past the first bike hurdle, I took the bridleways, and played on a few bike ramps, allowing Clare to take a more leisurely ride on the tarmac. The bridleway is navigable (ooh, big word!) by bikes at all times, and offers a few little challenges, so it's worth wasting a bit of energy to test your bike's suspension, and your own skill. If you feel you can manage it, the bike ramps can test your stunt biking abilities too, so there is something for most cyclists here, just as long as you can convince yourself to leave the boredom of the tarmac.

Sadly, all good things must come to an end, as after passing a few houses, and an alternative route back to the roads, the trail joined the roads at Taff's Well. From this direction, the route is well signposted, and pointed out how we could have used it on the way out, but the incorrect 'end (of cycle lane)' sign was obviously the reason we had missed it.

Once back past Tongwynlais, we stayed on the dirt track instead of using the steep road. This again turns out to be a useful alternative to the road (you will almost certainly have to walk the bike up the steps at the end). In several places, there were areas to the sides of the trail where I tried improving my skills offroad, hoping on and off logs and over ruts and branches. At one point, I also hit a small tree stump and threw myself clean over the handlebars onto my back. My helmet and bag - which was filled only with air - provided a cusion preventing any discomfort at all, so unseen by anyone else, I got back on the bike and continued to try to hop over tree trunks.

Once at the top of the steps, we rejoined the road and cycled back to my house to finish the trip.

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