It’s Biker Guide Time; let’s go!
Welcome back Sprocketeers, to another episode of this week’s biker guide. Today we’ll look at a road that should certainly be on your biker bucket list.
We know that Wales consists of rugged mountains, rushing rivers, and picturesque villages. Beyond this, its roads are nothing short of spectacular. However, today I’ll be focusing on one particular road trip that every motorcyclist needs to attempt at least once in their lifetime. Of course, I’m talking about the Devil’s Staircase.
How long is the route?
The Devil’s Staircase is a winding mountain road that runs for 14 miles in the Cambria Mountains in Mid-Wales. The road gets its name from the hairpin bends that make it look like a staircase leading up to the heavens. Now I did hear some rumours about it being named after an incident involving military men dragging supplies to the top – whether this is true or not. However, trust me, the name is almost as exhilarating as it sounds.
The Devil’s Staircase is considered one of the funniest motorcycle roads in the United Kingdom. For a good reason,” The road is incredibly scenic, with endless views of mountains, rivers, and valleys. And, of course, because it’s so popular with motorcyclists, there’s always a great atmosphere on the road.
But what makes the Devil’s Staircase special is the ride itself. The twists and turns are guaranteed to get your heart racing (It certainly made me freak out from adrenaline when I rode up it!). However, don’t expect to be speeding along any time soon. These are the kind of twistiness that are only manageable at lower speeds (think back to your CBT days!). Nonetheless, it’s a fun ride out for both novice and experienced riders alike.
How steep is Devil’s Staircase?
The road is very steep, starting from a 5% gradient and spanning up to a 25% gradient at its highest. The road tops out at Abergwesyn (abba-gyzo-sen I think it’s pronounced? but don’t take my word for that if you get any funny looks from the locals) Pass – where you’ll emerge amongst the dense conifer forests. The forest actually reminded me of the kind of forest you’d find in South Germany! The route eventually lead down to miles of wide, desolate valleys.
The descent will test your brakes to the maximum so make sure your bike is up to scratch and you’re ready to practise those low-speed manoeuvres you learnt back in your CBT days.
Now If you are planning on riding the Devil’s Staircase, there are a few things you should keep in mind.
The roads can be busy
Firstly, the roads can be quite busy during peak tourist season (think Summer, think mid-day!). Make sure to give yourself plenty of time to enjoy the ride without feeling rushed. Be prepared to pull over at the side of the road.
Two bridges across the road just before the Devil’s Staircase disappear underwater when it has been raining a lot.
The road isn’t in great condition
The other thing to bare in mind is that the road can be dangerous in certain sections, so take it slow and stay safe. Keep an eye open for loose rocks and debris. Whilst riding along, you can expect gravel, potholes, and even animals like sheep on the road. This means that you should always be on the lookout for dangers (although you should be doing this anyway). But trust me, the Devil’s Staircase is worth every second
Expect walkers and cyclists on the road
The other thing to bare in mind is that the route is popular amongst walkers and cyclists. So, be sure to slow down and remember that the route is for everyone and so is staying safe.
Now it can be a lot quieter towards sundown or even extremely early in the morning. Due to its popularity, there can be a lot of traffic on weekends. So if you’re looking for a more leisurely ride, we recommend hitting the road on a weekday like Monday or Tuesday.
Another alternative is that you can opt to ride the Devil’s Staircase during the autumn months as I did. During the autumn times, you can expect a completely empty road (although do expect the added fear factor of an icy road).
The Devil’s Staircase is an absolute must-ride for any motorcyclist visiting Wales. The views are incredible, the atmosphere is electric, and the experience is simply unbeatable. So what are you waiting for? Grab your bike keys and off you go!
And that’s our wrap for this week’s guide to the Devil’s Staircase. If you ever happen to find yourself in Mid-Wales, make sure to add this spectacular ride to your itinerary! Until next time, ride safe and stay crazy Spocketeers!