Mountain bikes can take us places other bikes can’t – trails through bluebell woods, along skyline ridges, on paths that wind through beautiful remote valleys, away from traffic, immersed in wild nature. With a little investment in basic skills and techniques, these worlds can be opened up for you, too. At Element, this is what our Beginning Mountain Biking Weekend for Women is all about.
During Element’s two-day course in the spectacular Black Mountains, you’ll ride some of the best trails in Britain. You’ll learn the fundamentals of mountain biking: body position, effective braking and gear selection, climbing and descending with confidence over terrain that will neither be too technical – or terrifying.
With our vastly experienced MTB coach Clare, you’ll be part of a small, supportive, all-women group.
You’ll spend Day 1 developing at your own pace, slowly and gradually building confidence, working with your potential and within your limits.
On Day 2, we’ll put together everything we learned on the first day and ride longer trails in the stunning mountains and forests, on routes carefully selected to allow you to ride with confidence and practise your new skills. It will not be a race. Nobody gets left behind. But it will be, we hope, the start of your love affair with biking in the wilds.
We will be based in the barn complex at Llwyn Celyn, a historic 15th century house recently restored by the Landmark Trust and sited at the southern end of the spectacular Llanthony Valley.The venue has showers, a good kitchen and, upstairs, a basic bunkhouse, which can sleep up to six people (see accommodation options below).
A nutritious vegetarian packed lunch will be provided on both days, as well as tea and coffee on arrival. If you have special and complex dietary requirements, then you should bring your own food and prepare it in Llwyn Celyn’s kitchen.
We imagine that you can ride a road bike competently – you should be able to complete a 2-hour ride on the road. We like people to positively challenge themselves, but this is not a weekend for complete beginner cyclists. No specific mountain-bike experience is necessary, but if you have any doubts or worries about whether this course is for you, please contact us and we will be happy to discuss it.
What to bring
You will be given a checklist of what to bring closer to the date. If you do bring your own MTB, it must be in good working order – and should have front suspension.
Please note that we have excellent mountain bikes to rent from our local specialist hire company at a cost of £35 a day (includes helmet). Your bike will be booked and waiting for you when you arrive. Please indicate on the booking form if you would like to hire a bike for the two days and your height, so that we can get the correct size for you.
Can I come on my own?
Absolutely! Much of the joy of what we do is about connecting like-minded women who want to get out in nature, learn new skills in a supportive environment and, most of all, have fun.
Maximum group size. 12
Minimum numbers. We require a minimum of 9 participants to run this course. We are confident that the number will be reached. If it isn’t we will refund you in full.
Because accommodation is such a personal matter, we find it works better for people to choose where they stay. Over the years, we have built up a directory of trusted accommodation in the area, from yurts and shepherd’s huts, to farmhouse B&Bs, to top-end luxury hotels, catering for all budgets. We’ll send you the list on booking.
Bunkhouse: Llwyn Celyn, our venue, has a bunkhouse, which can sleep six people comfortably. It’s nicely done, modern, communal accommodation with the use of a well-equipped kitchen, showers and your own single bed – you’ll need to bring bedding and pillow. The bunkhouse is available Friday and Saturday night at £25 p/p a night. Please email Ruth@element-active.co.uk if you would like to a place. If six people have already booked, then it’s full. First come, first served.
Campervan: The parking of a campervan can be arranged at Llwyn Celyn – you’ll be able to use the showers, toilet facilities and kitchen. We ask for a £10 a night contribution if you’re doing this. Please let us know if this is what you intend doing.
Camping: There is a good campsite four miles up the road: https://www.llanthonycamping.co.uk
Saturday evening: No one gets left alone on Saturday evening – unless they want that! Some people come with friends and book to eat out on Saturday. For others and people coming on their own we help gather groups and make a local pub reservation or if you’d prefer to form a group and cook at the venue we advise where to shop.
A list of local restaurants with details will be sent out with the accommodation when booking.
Covid: In this new and changing landscape we find ourselves in, we can assure you that our weekend will be Covid secure in line with the guidance we receive. If we cannot go ahead, you will always be offered a rescheduled date or a full refund. The choice will be yours.
If you have to cancel, we will refund you (minus a £50 administration fee) if you cancel two months prior to the event. Anything after that date is non-refundable. However, we will happily accept a replacement if you find someone else to take your place and we might have a waiting list for the weekend.