Twinkly Dave – Mud splattered bicycle and pizza enthusiast Growing old disgracefully

December 15, 2008


Filed under: bikes — dgpowell @ 1:39 pm

Yeah, it was good that. The plan to check out how penmachno matched up to other trail centres went off without a hitch, I set off early (for me), met up with richpips in the car park there (after the ubiquitous wrong turn) and did a bit of mid-december shivering while getting kitted up.

Thankfully the trails start with a climb, so the shivering didn’t last long. Neither did the fireroad for that matter, we were swooping though the trees within a few minutes of the car park, warming up nicely as we railed round corners and brushed foliage hanging suprisingly close to shoulders. More fireroad arrived after a nice few minutes of swooping, skipping and thundering through the december gloom in the forest, which gave a chance to discuss the comparitive benefits of anything and everything to do with bikes, trail building, brake pads, support at races and the ben wyvis hotel.

Breath suitably caught, it was back to the singletrack again, wonderfully empty singletrack. The order of the day established itself early; rich would shoot off on his commencal, flowing over the rocks and drops that had sat patiently waiting for someone to skim over them all morning, i chased. He’d get away a bit on the descents, then we’d come back together on the climbs, I’d try to keep up as the trail sloped downwards again, travelling at what felt like “slightly too fast pace” given that i had no idea what was coming up, rich’d still get away. We’d both rip round the corners and splash puddles, tyres would pop as tread fought for battle over slate and grit. We’d push slightly too hard occasionally and “just survive”, with a grin as proof, then back to the fireroad for agreement on how good the still buzzing singletrack was. Nice.

Repeat that, then repeat again. Throw in some friendly locals and a full on winter-epic view or two of the surrounding mountains (with cunningly placed corners on the trail, obviously designed by someone with an evil sense of humour…”hey everyone, look at that vista…HA, caught you out there didn’t I? You missed that left turn didn’t you, HA, you should look where you’re riding…the views nice though, eh?” etc) and that’s, pretty much what penmachno had to offer us.

Suitably soaked through – thanks to some interesting drainage solutions mid way round the 2nd loop – we rolled back up to the cars and met an annoyingly toastie warm looking jason, whose day had not run as smoothly as it might of. He and son had still done enough to warrant singletrack-grins though, even missing out the fastest singletrack drop through the trees i’ve ridden in a long time and a cracking final descent. He recounted their tales of woe as I fought my way out of sopping kit and rich hit the overdrive on his car’s heating system to bring his feet back to life.

Sadly there’s no on-site café (or facilities generally) for coffee and cake stops – though I guess penmachno town (village? hamlet?) centre is only a mile or so down the road – but you can definitely get your fill of swoopy fun out on the hillside*

I’d enjoyed it much more than the altura trail up at whinlatter and it’s very different to places like llandegla, glentress etc – much less trail centre-y and more natural feeling. You’re not going to come whizzing round a corner at full pelt to suddenly find yourself faced with a 10ft drop at any point during the route and i was happy enough with my saddle up at xc height throughout, so if you’re after innerleithen style DHs or stainburn style super-technical trails penmachno doesn’t really deliver, but it is involving, fast, flowing and obviously grin-inducing. I liked it, anyway.

*sorry, that was appauling.


  1. ’tis my favourite.

    Comment by terrahawk — December 15, 2008 @ 4:09 pm

  2. Nice write up that, and one trail I
    haven’t done yet too.

    Penmachno would be a village I reckon.
    Hamlet – no shop
    Village – shop, closes for lunch
    Town – shop, doesn’t close for lunch

    There was a shop in Penmachno when I last visited in 1996…

    Comment by Ian — December 22, 2008 @ 12:48 pm

  3. it’s well worth a trip to, i think the trail’s about 30k long so isn’t over all too quickly…anyway there’s enough natural stuff round there to make a full day up easily enough!

    there’s definately a pub in penmachno (i’m sure it’s called something ingenious like “the penmachno” or similar) and i guess Betws-y-coed’s just down the road too

    Comment by dgpowell — December 22, 2008 @ 1:59 pm

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