Steve White has posted a comment on the Eurovelo 2 section of CyclingEurope.org and I think what he has written is worthy of elevation to the main blog. Over to you Steve:
“Back in April I cycled part of the Eurovelo 2 route. From Bangor, North Wales to and across the Severn Bridge on National Cycle Network routes 8 and 42. I thought some route information may be of use to anyone planning to do the route. This is promoted as a ‘challenge route’ by Sustrans. I covered the 225 miles in three days and it certainly was a challenge. The 30 or so miles from Bangor to Criccieth follows mainly old railway lines and closed lanes with good surfaces, no traffic and no steep hills, although a fair amount of height is gained and lost. From Criccieth the route heads to the hills with steeper climbs before crossing a river by an interesting toll bridge before heading for the hills in earnest. After crossing the main road you are faced with the first section of 20% plus climbing after several miles you find yourself high above Harlech on quiet mountain lanes with fantastic views of the coast and mountains including the Snowdon Horseshoe. After the massive climb and views there is a long descent back down to sea level and the run down to Barmouth.
Barmouth has all amenities that should be needed. The railway bridge across the Mawddach Estuary should not be missed, although the cycle path to Dolgellau is not the best having a loose surface and awkward gates that are difficult to negotiate with a loaded bike. For information I stopped at Kings Youth Hostel just outside Dolgellau which I found more than adequate. Again Dolgellau has a full set of amenities.
The route out of Dolgellau climbs quiet lanes and surfaced bridleways around Cader Idris and other mountains to Corris and Machynlleth, a good place to stock up before climbing for the next 5 or so miles to the top of Plynlimon with yet more fantastic views and plenty of fresh air to refill the lungs. After the long descent the road then undulates to Llanidloes, again all services.
My trip this day was cold and wet so at this point I abandoned the official quiet and undulating route for the main A470. Although a faster route definitely not a pleasant one, it was a case of head down and get to Builth Wells with as few lorries passing as possible. En-route Rhayader is well worth a visit. I stopped the second night just beyond Builth Wells at a great B&B, with the largest breakfast ever.
The ride from Builth Wells from to Hay on Wye is pleasant and undulating and warms the legs before the long climb to the top of the Gospel Pass (more 20%+ sections) high in the Black Mountains. Make sure you stop up here to admire the views. The pass runs gently down almost to Abergavenny before the route loops around the base of the Sugar Loaf Mountain before finally dropping into the town. Abergavenny is a pretty town with all the necessary services. From Abergavenny the route climbs out of the town and on to Usk before detouring to take one more big climb through Wentwood, yet more 20% climbing.
Finally the route drops down to Chepstow where there is a good cycle path to take you down to the old Severn Bridge where you can cross on either side, although the Northern path will be more convenient.
Overall I thoroughly recommend this route although with a heavy load 75 miles per day will be pushing things to the maximum. As I said at the start, hopefully this will be useful to someone planning their route.”
I wonder if Steve has ever considered the full length of the route all the way to Moscow… If, like Steve, you have a Eurovelo (or non-Eurovelo) cycling story to tell, please get in touch. I’m usually more than happy to publish what you write.