Cycling in Carmarthenshire

By | Category: Travel destinations

This year the Tour of Britain began in the Welsh county of Carmarthenshire. For the event a large green bicycle was attached to what was the castle perimeter and  and is now the outer wall of the county council building.

After a Welshman, Geraint Thomas, won the Tour de France, Wales has – almost without realising it – boosted cycling appeal in the country.

The county where the Tour of Britain started and where Thomas’s family hailed from is pitching to become the cycling hub of Wales.

It has launched a collection of six new road routes- giving visitors the chance to follow in the footsteps of the tour professionals- but it has also re-opened its historic velodrome and built a new closed-circuit cycle track that provides a safe environment for budding cyclists to practice. Which is just as well given that many of the narrow lanes that exist in the county are quite unsafe for cycling especially during the summer tourist season.

Late last year Carmarthenshire re-opened its velodrome at Carmarthen Park following a refurbishment, 117 years after it staged its first race. The 405 metre track (the oldest in Wales, having first opened in 1900) once consisted of more than 200 concrete panels but has now been replaced by a new surface which will host many training events and competitions. Those visiting in Autumn will be able to cycle there free of charge.

In addition, the county has built South Wales’ first closed-circuit track at Pembrey Country Park on the south coast. The 1.9km circuit has been designed to meet British Cycling standards and is now officially the best in Wales, providing a safe traffic-free environment for those taking part in training sessions and time trials. Although open to the public most days, the track will also host numerous cycling and athletic tournaments such as the HSBC British Cycling National Youth Series.

Those looking to follow in the footsteps of the Tour of Britain professionals can also take part in 6 new road cycle routes, each outlined in great detail with distances, directions and places to stop en-route: from cycle-friendly cafes to scenic pots to unclip and take in a great view. The routes are also available to view on Plotaroute, enabling riders to download each route to Garmin, GPS or Google Earth.

Routes vary from about 46 to 90 kilometres but one in particular will test riders. The Big Hills and Big Views, route starts in the old mining town of Ammanford and climbs up to the top of Black Mountain in the Brecon Beacons, which is 2,000 metres above sea level.

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