Route: The Short, Sharp Shock

Sometimes you need to get out for a training ride, but you don’t have a lot of time. It could be at the end of the working day, or you could be fitting rides in between family or work commitments.

This route has a few slightly unpleasant junctions to navigate, which is why we can’t recommend it for beginners, plus it has a couple of significant hills too, so it is one for the keener cyclist…with a lack of free time.

The Route

Once again starting at Plan2Ride, you head up the hill towards Castell Coch and keep on going to the fork at Blaengwynlais. Take a left and continue uphill towards the golf club before taking the left turn down Blackbrook Road at the Black Cock.

Enjoy the descent down Blackbrook Road, but at the end you’ll need to make a choice. You can either follow the route as we’ve plotted it, or you can take the Penrhos Cutting down to the pelican crossing on Nantgarw Hill (effectively joining the Taff Trail north). If you wish to take the Cutting, take a left before the main road, if not, take a left onto the main road and follow it to the roundabout.

At the roundabout, take the second exit to join the Old Nantgarw Road. Follow this road all the way down, until you reach a junction with a stone wall ahead of you. Take a right here and follow the lane all the way along.

This lane gets quite narrow in places and you may confront some traffic, but it should be fairly quiet. Eventually you will emerge at the Upper Boat roundabout. If you are lucky the signals will be on, but if not, wait for safe opportunity to join the traffic and aim for the 2nd lane. You want to go straight ahead, where the left lane will take you onto the estate.

Make your way around the roundabout and head across the bridge over the Taff. Keep going straight on (technically left as the prevailing traffic bends to the right). Follow the road along, past the units either side and follow the road around to the left towards Treforest Estate train station. Keep going along this lane until you see a bridge appear to your right. Shift down here, there’s climbing to do.

Had enough already?

If you really are short on time you can start turning back by keeping left as the lane forks into two, taking you past the Gwaelod pub. The right hand lane is the one we are taking –yes, the really steep one.

On Strava this little hill is called the Chain Stretcher and it is one we are particularly fond of. We spoke about it before in our climbs post. It’s a tough one, but the worst of it is at the start. It will gradually level off before descending into Efail Isaf.

At Efail Isaf, just keep going left. Take a left as you join the main road and left again at the pub. There’s more climbing to do here as you head towards Pentyrch. There are a few steep sections but arguably the worst is over now. You will eventually drop down into Pentyrch where you can take a left and head down Heol Goch to return to the start.

If you have more time, you could go around again…

In reverse?

If you wanted to, you could reverse this. You could head toward the Gwaelod pub and take the steep lane to the left, navigate the hairpin and take a right at the end of the road to climb towards Efail Isaf. You will unfortunately need to do an almost complete circuit of the horrid roundabout at the top of Nantgarw Hill, unless you take the Penrhos Cutting up to Blackbrook Road.

However, as the winter begins to lose its grip for another few months we’ll spend a lot more time trying to come up with new routes for you to try. If you have any requests, suggestions or other comments, please let us know.

Grab the GPX file from RidewithGPS.

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