North Wales Bikepacking Event

The inaugural North Wales 400/300 Bikepacking Event will take place during the August Bank Holiday Weekend in Summer 2023 . It will feature a "group finish" and finish line celebration in Mold, Flintshire on Monday 28th August 2023 from 2 pm. It is expected that those who enter the event will join the finish line celebration. Riders will be free to start the event from Mold, Flintshire (exact location TBC) when they like but must finish before the official end time of 4 pm on 28/08/23 in order to be listed as a finisher. There is an unoffical group start at 7.00 am on Saturday 26th August 2023 but riders may start at any time on any day. Riders can choose to complete either the (approximately) 400 km or 300 km route. The event will follow the rules listed below.

To enter the event, please email me (Tom) at tombruce86@gmail.com. At this stage you don't need to commit to riding the 400 or the 300 but if you already know this, please let me know. I'm really excited about this event and I intend to run it every year with slight variations on the two routes below. The actual route will be sent to those participating in the event at the start of August 2023 and may be slightly different from the GPX files shared below.

Distance 412 km

Elevation gain: 10,800 metres

NW400 route link: GPX

NW300 route link: GPX


Link to photos


The NW400 is a bikepacking route around North Wales, designed by Tom Bruce as a training route for the Highland Trail 550. It is a difficult route, with over 10,000 metres of climbing in just over 410 km. The route is designed to start and finish in Mold, Flintshire, which is very accessible but it can be started and finished at any point on the loop. The loop is to be ridden anticlockwise.

The NW300 has over 7,000 metres of clumbing in just under 300 km and follows much of the same route as the NW400, also ridden anticlockwise. The purpose of suggesting this shorter route is so that it can be completed within the bank holiday weekend for those who do not feel they can complete the 400km within the time limit and to make the event more accessible - that being said, it is still a brutal route and should not be taken lightly.

The intent is to ride either route as fast as you are able while adhering to the set of rules listed below. You are expected to navigate the unmarked course entirely on your own. There are no waymarkers or checkpoints on the course, only a downloadable gpx file. Map navigation is not part of the challenge, so for efficiency and safety a GPS unit is recommended.

It is an unofficial challenge that is not sanctioned in any way, with no organisation, and no support. All this website provides is the route, the rules, a suggested start time, and a list of riders who have completed the challenge. A maximum time limit (for both the NW400 and NW 300) is set at 72 hours for your ride to be included in the register of successful completions below (although this time limit should not discourage you from entering the event as more leisurely route attempts are encouraged!).

Highlights of this stunning route include:

  • The Clwydian Range and Dee Valley AONB

  • Many of the most beautiful lakes in Wales

  • Trails through the UNESCO World Heritage Slate Landscape of Northwest Wales

  • Snowdonia, including an ascent of Snowdon

  • The Snowdonia coast between Cricceith and Porthmadog

  • 5 world class mountain biking trail centres on the NW400 at: Penmachno, Gwydir Mawr, Coed y Brenin, Dyfi Forest, Llandegla

  • Bwlch y Groes, the second highest road pass in Wales (NW400)

  • The Berwyn Range

The route takes you over some very challenging terrain including an ascent to the top of Snowdon, at an altitude of over 1,000 metres, which can provide a very challenging climate. There are hike-a-bike sections and some technical descents, so the use of a mountain bike is recommended. If taking on the NW400, please take some cash to put into the honesty box at penmachno trail centre as you pass - it helps funds trail maintenance.

RULES

  1. Complete the entire route, under your own power - no drafting

  2. Be completely self-supported throughout the ride - absolutely no support crews, absolutely no gear sharing

  3. Only use commercial services that are available to all challengers - no private resupply, no private lodging

  4. If you have to leave the route, you must rejoin it at the exactly same spot

  5. No caches of any kind

  6. No third-party sag-wagon offering an easy bail-out option

  7. No pre-arranged support, which means before you begin your ride - e.g. booking a B&B

  8. No travel by any motorized means during your ride - by all means do so if necessary, but understand if you do your attempt is over

  9. Gear - nothing required, nothing prohibited

  10. The Snowdon Voluntary Cycling Agreement must be adhered to, so plan your attempt accordingly: https://www.cyclingnorthwales.co.uk/pages/snowdn_volunt.htm. If you arrive at Llanberis at the wrong time to attempt Snowdon and don't wish to wait for an allowed time of day, you could divert via the telegraph valley route to continue your ride, however your attempt will not be counted as a completion

  11. The Llandegla forest trails should be ridden only during trail centre opening hours unless by pre-arrangement with One Planet Adventure (https://oneplanetadventure.com/). An alternative route from the Offa’s Dyke bridleway on Ruabon Moor, to the far side of Nercwys Forest is available here if you arrive at Llandegla forest when the trail centre is closed (your attempt will still be valid should you take this alternative route).

  12. While riding any of the trail centre routes, temporary closures or diversions may be in place. Please follow these diversions and rejoin the official route at the first opportunity, your attempt will be valid. Please email tom (tombruce86@gmail.com) with any news of diversions on the route.

Completions

NW400

Tom Bruce: 49 hours, 58 minutes, 40 seconds



NW300