The Bear Bones 200 is not so much a route as a concept. Since it’s inception in 2011, the BB 200 has used five different routes, what they’ve all had in common was being a single loop of just over 200KM and starting in Llanbrymair in Powys.
The brainchild of Stu Wright (the man behind Forest Freeride and the Bear Bones bikepacking forum) the BB200 has a simple premise, complete the course in under 24hrs to earn a black badge with blue and green badges as consolation for taking progressively longer time to finish. So it’s simple, ride around at an 8.5kph average and collect your badge with a smile on your face, right? Wrong!
The first clue you might be underestimating the challenge is in the event details, as a sleeping bag and bivi bag are mandatory equipment and the FAQs state that not all the terrain will be able to be ridden……
So what can you expect then? There’s always a warm welcome at the start from Stu and Dee and a cuppa to prepare you for the off. Once on the route you can expect to experience every kind of terrain that Mid-Wales and the Cambrian Mountains can offer, and it’s surprising just how welcome a brief respite from pushing (up and down sometimes!) a quick stretch of fire road or tarmac can be! Outside of the Scottish Highlands Mid-Wales can stake a claim as one of the most remote feeling places in UK. It’s not uncommon that the majority of people you meet on the route are your fellow riders.
While 2014 has passed Bear Bones 200 Folklore as being difficult, even by the event’s standards, Stu can usually be relied upon to create a route that just stays on the right side of enjoyable. It might be that it takes a few hours to register, but whatever people say on the day, the BB200 continues to sell out each year!
So why do it? It’s a significant step up from a 24hr XC race as the course is a single loop so there’s no passing a pit and grabbing more supplies, you also don’t get the chance to “learn your lines” as you might on a closed course event. As hinted at earlier, the Cambrian Mountains make for a stunning setting that really feels like an adventure to ride through, especially with 4-5000 metres of height gain over 200km! The internet is full of tales of amazing rides, the problem being that The Real World© makes jetting off to South America for a month, if you want to challenge yourself and just have a weekend to do it in, the Bear Bones 200 won’t leave you feeling short changed!
Last modified: 18th February 2018