Road Ride around Mount Snowden, Wales, UK

Wanted to tell people about this 33 mile ride as it is apparently quite a challenge including some steep ascents and descents. It has been running a few years and is well organised with course marshalls and free meal of hot soup in local pub included in the entry fee of £8. the date for the event is weekend of 7th and 8th March 2009. Unicycles are welcomed and the details are:

You will be mainly cycling on ‘A’ class roads, so please be aware of other road users and ride safely. The ride is not a race, but a challenge and a day to enjoy. There will be marshals on the route to help with any problems. If you leave the event before the finish please phone details to the Cwellyn Arms on 01766 890321 to avoid search teams looking for you! Some last minute checks: Is your bike in good working order? Have you a drink and some energy food? Are you wearing bright clothing?

If you are interested in taking part in the event, please E-mail your name and address to: Contact: Cwellyn Arms, Rhyd Ddu, Gwynedd, LL54 7YS on 01766 890321


Route: Leaving the Cwellyn Arms go left on the A4085, dropping downhill to ride alongside Llyn Cwellyn. Here and for a few miles you may see or hear trains on the Welsh Highland Railway.

Climb up the hill into Waunfawr, then take the second turning on the right, to Llanrug. This narrower road takes you up to a crossroads before levelling out, with fine views over Anglesey. As you reach the few houses at Ceunant the road descends steeply, with left then right hand bends and a narrowing road before the run in to Llanrug.

Turn right on to the A4086 to head for Llanberis. You will notice more traffic now, the road fairly flat until it climbs a little to pass above Llyn Padarn. Snowdon comes into sight as you drop down into Llanberis. Take the route through the village if you would like food or drink. Otherwise stay on the main road

Leave Llanberis for the village of Nant Peris, with fairly easy riding before climbing the dramatic Llanberis Pass to reach the road summit at 359 metre high Pen y Pass.


You may wish for refreshment at the cafe before starting the descent. The drop will test your brakes again – watch for the first sharp left hand bends after leaving Pen y Pass. Turn right on the A498 at Pen y Gwryd then enjoy the twisting descent on a narrow tree lined road to Llyn Gwynant. The road becomes fairly level now, passing through Nant Gwynant, with the chance of refreshment at a converted chapel on the right. Pass Llyn Dinas to reach Beddgelert with its hotels, cafes and shops.

You have to stop at the road junction in Beddgelert. The A4085 from Porthmadog comes over the bridge on your left. Do not go this way, but go straight ahead in the direction of Caernarfon. From here the road climbs for a couple of miles, before levelling out after the forest. Snowdon is now in view on your right while ahead is the welcoming sight of Rhyd Ddu and finally the finish at the Cwellyn Arms.


Then, it’s time for rest, a bowl of the Landlord’s soup, a drink, your certificate and a chat with other riders. All with a great sense of achievement, for you and for the good cause that you are supporting.

Well Done!

I’m quite keen to have a go. Is anyone with me?


I’m buying my first 36er this week and expect to ride it on that. I live in Wales and know the route quite well. I expect I will get some friends to run a support vehicle just in case…

i cannot imagine anyone willing to ride the ascent to pen-y-pas, from either side

I can think of a few people who would try it…

If the mountain won’t come to Mohammed…

Could you put that into perspective? Is it impossible? Dangerous? If so in what way? Can a unicycle negotiate this successfully? No criticism intended, I simply want to know to tell my support vehicle were on the route I will most likely be lying on the road :frowning:

Gah, your timing sucks worse than something that sucks a lot!
I’m going to be in Canada that weekend.
Sounds like a fun ride though.
Hard work too, especially if you’re only just getting your Coker soon-ish.
Get as much training riding in as you can.
It’s a hard route.
Basically you’re riding around the base of Snowdon.

Bon chance mon ami.

It’s a big climb, but it’s far from un-rideable. It’s been a while since I’ve been there, but I remember it being very long rather than very steep. The traffic might be a challenge, but hopefully people will be expecting to see cyclists.

Choose your cranks carefully and fit a brake (and learn how to use it!). When I did my first BIG coker ride (London to Brighton 2005) I went and had a go at the biggest hill before the event to convince myself I could do it, worth considering as part of your training.


Well I’m just going to suck it and see :slight_smile: It’s the element of doubt that does it for me - can I do it…can’t I do it? Been doing some uphill riding lately in preparation but only on a 24" beginner. Hell, if life’s worth living I might as well live it :smiley:
Have a good time in Canada

Thanks for the useful feedback! Yeah the uphill section isn’t that steep but very long. I was using 150 cranks and although I have a brake I will have to learn how to use it effectively. Great advice - I will actually go to the route beforehand and try a section or two. I have organised someone to video things and look forward to showing this.

it’s just incredibly steep for quite a considerable distance, the route down to llanberris being the worse of the two and having many sharp turns between narrow stone walls. Down the other way is more open but has low barriers and several hundred foot drops over the edge. In all seriousness I’ve no doubt that there are unicyclists who can and will ride the pass, I just know that I would never get even a tenth of the way up.

Really appreciate the feedback. I will be refreshing my memory by visiting the route next week. Also I will be assessing how the support vehicle may bail me out on any critical section. I think there is enough rideable mileage on relatively level roads to make it worth doing. Your warning has just helped me see the sense of getting support if/when I need it.

You can see the height profile of most of the ride on

It doesn’t even get to 1 in 10 from Llanberis. On the other side it doesn’t go much steeper than 1 in 20. Nothing that is super steep. I’d possibly drop into lower gear on the Schlumpf for the steep side. It might be a bit steep for a beginner, but you’ve got some time to get practice in.


ooh, I’d quite like to do this. My grandparents lived in Nant Peris (between Llanberis and and Pen-y-pas) and I knew the area pretty well.

Thanks for the link Joe and the route assessment. It helped to put things in perspective. I will be really pleased if I make it all the way round without using the support vehicle.

Wow that sounds like it would be a blast! :slight_smile:

Yeah I think so - and I’m intending to get some comprehensive video footage and digital photos to put online!!

Did anyone do this? I was hoping to, but I wasn’t in good enough shape.

I did it, but unfortunately not on the 36er. Instead I had to opt for my tandem :o Can’t say I wasn’t forwarned by people though. I did a trail run before the event and, as someone already said, it wasn’t the gradient as much as the distance that it went on. I was in good shape but I decided I would be walking most of that section. Actually on the tandem it was still a beast of a route with torrential rain on the day. Now booked in for the North Wales Bike Ride in May, 30 miles that will be flatter and bit warmer by then.

wow that route sounded so cool, I would definitely ride it, I couldn’t careless if it takes ages or kills my legs lol. I’ve wanted to ride parts of that since I first went to wales!