Wanderer March 2014
YHA The Wanderer
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The Wanderer, Issue 15, March 2014
 
 
The Cycling Edition
 
The Tour de France is coming to our shores in the summer and, with a whole host of cycling events happening around the UK this year, 2014 is all set to be the year of the bike. With that in mind we think it’s time to start planning some serious saddle time of your own. Whether you’re an enthusiastic leisure cyclist or have the calf muscles of a pro you’ll find a range of routes and a terrain to suit with this month’s suggestions.
 
Want to track back through some previous editions of The Wanderer? You can do so here.
The Cycling Edition Map  
 
 
YHA WYE VALLEY
 
 
YHA Wye Valley
 
  Freewheeling through the forest  
 
 
Set in 25 glorious acres and right on the edge of the Royal Forest of Dean, this former Rectory is the perfect place to base an activity break. Step out of the front door and you’re on the Wye Valley Walk; and just four miles away, Symonds Yat affords magnificent views of the Black Mountains.
 
 
 
Wye Valley
 
Wye Valley
 
If you’re itching to get in the saddle we recommend you head straight for Cannop Cycle Centre. The kids are in for miles of smiles on the Family Cycle Trail. The going is easy and the scenery beautiful on this circular, surfaced and waymarked route, making it suitable for all ages and abilities.
 
“Experts can take it to the next level with the red Freeminer Trail; expect twisty sections, a rock garden and killer switchback climbs.”
 
If you want to ramp up the intensity of your ride then give the Verderers’ Trail a go. Suitable for intermediate and experienced cyclists, this blue route is enormous fun with its mixed surfaces, humps, fast corners and exhilarating final descent. Experts can take it to the next level with the red Freeminer Trail; expect twisty sections, a rock garden and killer switchback climbs. Finally, if you have advanced technical ability, a good quality bike, helmet, body armour and nerves of steel then take on the nine steep Cannop downhill trails. Rocky and rooty sections, table tops, jumps and thrilling drops ensure a white knuckle experience.
 
If you are a keen cyclists looking for a challenge this May then look no further than The Wiggle Wye Valley Warrior. You’ll follow the River Wye out past the iconic Tintern Abbey, and then it’s into the Forest of Dean, over the border to Wales and into the foothills of the Brecon Beacons before returning to Monmouth and finishing at Chepstow. The standard route is 86 miles long and breathtaking in more ways than one!
 
 
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Insider tips from Hostel Manager, Linda:
 
  1  
Canoe the River Wye from the Hostel’s very own launch.
 
 
  2  
Visit the Westons Cider Mill and Cider Bottle Museum in Ledbury and discover the techniques and traditions of local cider making.
 
 
  3  
Take a walk and admire the views from the top of Coppitt Hill. On a clear day you can see 7 different counties.
 
 
 
 
YHA Dalby Forest
 
 
YHA Dalby Forest
 
  Mountain biking doesnt get better  
 
 
This charming and fully refurbished old village school in a rural North Yorkshire hamlet is a ‘Green Beacon’ venue offering a great standard of accommodation that’s also environmentally friendly. It’s a must visit for anyone wanting an outdoorsy holiday in the North York Moors National Park and the place to go if you want access to some of the best mountain biking trails in the UK.
 
 
 
Wye Valley
 
Wye Valley
 
Dalby Forest itself boasts 35 miles of track in 8,600 acres of woodland and has a variety of routes to satisfy everybody - from families looking for an easy ride out to world-class bikers seeking an adrenaline high. If you’re with the family, start your adventure at Dalby Bike Barn. The cycle hire centre offers a range of rides including hybrid and electric bikes – just ideal for the less energetic amongst us. From the Bike Barn, embark on the Ellerburn Family Cycle Route. This relaxed route takes you into the heart of the forest and offers access to the Ellerburn Pond and wildlife hide.
 
“Dalby Forest itself boasts 35 miles of track in 8,600 acres of woodland and has a variety of routes to satisfy everybody.”
 
Dalby Forest World Cup Cycling Trail offers an altogether different experience. This severe, challenging route combines steep climbs, obstacles, variable terrain and extreme descents to bring expert riders a thrill ride they won’t forget in a hurry. Special mention must also go to Dalby’s Red route. The sheer length of the trail, an extraordinary 21 miles long, has enthusiasts returning time and time again. Predominantly single track, the route clings to the edge of hillsides and requires a lot of concentration and physical skill. Well worth the effort, the Red route will leave you exhausted but exhilarated.
 
 
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Insider tips from Hostel Manager, Jenny:
 
  1  
Socialise whilst you’re cycling with Dalby Bike Barn’s Tuesday night rides. Build up an appetite with a two hour group ride before heading to the local for beer, banter and a bite.
 
 
  2  
Enjoy a tree top adventure at Dalby Forest Go Ape! Award winning high ropes, tunnels, bridges and zip wires await. And the great news is, as a YHA member, you get 10% off!
 
 
  3  
Lace up your boots for a ramble around the Hole of Horcum – a 400ft deep hollow in the valley of the Levisham Beck.
 
 
 
Cotswold
 
 
Discover the outdoors by bicycle
 
Getting out on two-wheels is a great way to explore the outdoors. Whether cycling your way to a city break or hitting the open roads, Cotswold Outdoor has the kit to get you there. Their free, in-store boot and rucksack fitting services are also great for finding the right kit for time spent off the bike. From cycling to walking, camping to trail running, Cotswold Outdoor have been bringing you the most innovative kit, expert service and the best range of top quality brands every year since 1974.
 
YHA members receive 15% off 1 clothing and equipment, shop online or at nationwide stores.
 
 
 
 
  Escape Ordinary  
 
 
Unleash your inner Mo Farah and head to YHA Castleton on 24/25th May 2014 for our inaugural RUN YHA trail running festival. We’re hitting the trails and offering entry to 3 races and 2 nights B&B for only £70. Places are limited, so claim your place today.
 
 
  Run YHA  
 
 
 
YHA Manchester
 
 
YHA Manchester
 
  Track and (Fallow)field  
 
 
This ultramodern canal-side accommodation is bold, bright and matches the verve of this most buzzing of northern cities. Manchester’s famous sporting venues, nationally acclaimed museums and nightlife are all within easy reach. There are so many attractions we could recommend, but we’re here to talk bikes.
 
 
 
Manchester
 
Manchester
 
The National Cycling Centre is a 25-minute cycle ride from the Hostel and is a great place to start your adventure. Track sessions are open to all, regardless of ability, so if you’d like to follow in the tyre treads of Sir Chris Hoy and Laura Trott, why not book in and take a spin. Want to give BMXing a go? Starter sessions at the £24 million purpose built indoor BMX complex offer rookie riders an opportunity to learn the basics. If you’re visiting over the weekend of the 18 -19 April, don’t miss the chance to check out the bravery and skill of the world’s best at the UCI BMX Supercross World Cup.
 
“Track sessions are open to all, regardless of ability, so if you’d like to follow in the tyre treads of Sir Chris Hoy and Laura Trott, why not book in and take a spin.”
 
The brand new Clayton Vale Mountain Bike Trails and Skills Zone start at the National Cycling Centre. Four trails of varying difficulty will put you through your paces in this area of green space running through the Medlock River Valley Corridor. There are also a number of superb and largely traffic free routes in and around the city. Perhaps start with the Fallowfield Loop Line, part of Sustran’s national cycle network. If you’re up for the challenge, entry is still open for this year’s Great Manchester Cycle (29 June). Join thousands of fellow enthusiasts for a 13, 26 Or 52 mile cycle around the city-based circuit.
 
When it’s time for a refuel, kick back and relax in the Hostel restaurant with a tasty meal. Overlooking the canal, it’s a lovely place to people watch and plan your next challenge.
 
 
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Insider tips from Hostel Manager, Olly:
 
  1  
Take an underground tour to explore the WWII bomb shelters and disused canals beneath the city streets
 
 
  2  
Indulge in a little retail therapy in the Northern Quarter. You’ll find lots of vintage and independent shops, cool bars and cafes and some amazing street art.
 
 
  3  
Take a stroll (or ride a bike) down the ship canal to Salford quays to visit the Imperial war Museum North, The Lowry and Media City, the new home of the BBC.
 
 
 
 
YHA Dolgoch Bunkhouse
 
 
YHA Manchester
 
  Ride the wilds of Wales  
 
 
If you fancy taking the cycle path less travelled then head out into the remote wilds of the Towy Valley. (And when we say remote, we really mean it – the nearest shop is nine miles away so do make sure to bring all your victuals with you.) Recently refurbished to incorporate a solar-powered lighting system, this traditional Welsh farmhouse offers simple but comfortable accommodation that’s in harmony with its surroundings.
 
 
 
Manchester
 
Manchester
 
Once you’ve settled in, jump straight on your mountain bike and pedal your way to the unspoilt Doethie Valley. Admittedly, there are tricky sections to this trail – the climb to the top is punishing at times and the wet Welsh weather can make certain stretches particularly boggy – but your efforts will be rewarded with cracking views from the summit and a relentless, thrilling descent with plenty of roots, rocks and obstacles to negotiate.
 
“In August, the World Mountain Bike Bog Snorkelling event takes place on the outskirts of the town and sees competitors cycle two lengths of the Waen Rhydd bog underwater using snorkels.”
 
Just four miles from the hostel, and nestled in the Cambrian mountains, is Llyn Brianne reservoir. The 23 mile cycle circuit around the reservoir affords riders the opportunity to drink in the spectacular scenery of the area known as ‘Little Switzerland’. Also close by is Llanwrtd Wells. It may be a tiny town – in fact it is Britain’s smallest – but it’s big on bikes; the town is surrounded by a number of waymarked trails that provide pleasant pedalling for all levels of ability. In August, the World Mountain Bike Bog Snorkelling event takes place on the outskirts of the town and sees competitors cycle two lengths of the Waen Rhydd bog underwater using snorkels. Entry to this unique competition is still open – best of luck!
 
 
  book now  
 
 
 
Insider tips from Hostel Manager, Marilyn:
 
  1  
Simply enjoy the silence and the sight of red kites soaring overhead.
 
 
  2  
Leave the bike behind and walk straight from the hostel along one of the footpaths or, for the more energetic, to the higher land which has open access.
 
 
  3  
As we’re so far from light pollution, be amazed by the brilliance of the stars in the dark night sky.
 
 
 
 
  Competition time  
 
 
Competition time
 
Competition time
 
We’re beside ourselves with excitement. Why? Because there’s now a YHA bike. Sheffield-based manufacturers Planet X have produced the YHA-branded Planet X Kaffenback 2 Shimano Tiagra Road Bike, and we have one to give away! To be in with a chance of winning this extraordinary prize, worth £799.99, simply forward The Wanderer to your friends. We’ll pick a winner at random and announce the result on Facebook and Twitter.2 Best of luck!
 
The Planet X partnership is fantastic news for us; with every YHA branded Kaffenback sold, Planet X will donate 10% to our charitable fund Breaks for Kids. If you want to get your hands on a great value bike, and do your bit for charity while you’re at it, please quote code ‘UKYHAKAFF’ when you order.
 
And just while we’re on the subject of raising money for Breaks for Kids, if you’d like a charity place in the 2015 Prudential Ride London then get in touch with fundraising today and secure your spot in Team YHA. Whether you want to participate, donate or simply cheer us along on the route, we’d really appreciate your support.
 
 
 
Competition time
 
  Money off maps for members!  
 
 
When you’re out and about, exploring the glorious UK countryside you need a map that can cope with whatever the elements throw at you. SplashMaps are washable, wearable, lightweight and durable and we’re delighted to have secured our members a 10% discount on this innovative product3. To claim your discount, enter code ‘YHAMaps’ when you buy online.
 
 
 
 
  Dartmoor Cycle Training Camp  
 
 
Want to get in shape and improve your road cycling skills for the 2014 Sportive season? Join us for a week’s residential cycle training camp at YHA Dartmoor between 22 – 27 April. Local specialists will first assess your fitness before guiding you through a programme of classroom tutorials and training rides through Dartmoor National Park. Find out more.
 
 
 
 
Next month:
   
 
  The Hazy Days Edition  
 
 
Spring is in the air, we’ve seen a little sunshine and we cannot wait for the better weather. With that in mind, next month we’ll be taking a look at some of the events and festivals that might just make this one a summer to remember.
 
 
 
Next month: The Hazy Days Edition
 
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