WHEN: +iCalSat 20th May 2023 06:00 - 22:00 Sun 21st May 2023
WHERE:Bulwark Community Centre Laburnam Way Bulwark, Chepstow, NP16 5RF
The Classic End 2 End. Legend has it Bryan Chapman would cycle the length of Wales and back to go see his mechanic; come follow in his pedal strokes!
The Classic End 2 End. Legend has it Bryan Chapman would cycle the length of Wales and back to go see his mechanic; come follow in his pedal strokes!
The classic Bryan Chapman Memorial is the 600 randonnée to do to qualify for Audax Club Parisien’s Paris Brest Paris 1200km.
Published start time is 06:00.
Additional start times will be used from 04:00 so please factor this into your planning for travel/accommodation.
Your start time/group will be based on your selected average moving speed and be provided 2 weeks before the event.
This long distance cycling event is a journey the length of Wales from Chepstow to Menai Bridge and back.
Heading north into the Usk Valley you’ll make quick progress as the adrenaline rushes you up and over the Black Mountains to Honey Cafe for the first control. Then follow the Wye Valley, on the old Mid-Wales Railway track bed in places, to Llangurig and its Village Tea Rooms for control two.
Shortly the fun begins as you ride up to Llyn Clywedog reservoir and over the Machynlleth Mountain Road with views of Cadair Idris on the horizon; perhaps one of the best roads in the UK. Cross the Dyfi then another climb with more mountain views and perhaps a low flying RAF plane as you join the Mach Loop round to Dolgellau.
A third done and you are at Kings YHA, the third control; don’t forget to engage the granny gear as you turn off the main road!
From here you head across Barmouth Bridge on the shared path and hug the coast past Borth and Harlech Castle into Snowdonia. Climb Pen y Pass nestled under Snowdon‘s peak before descending to Menai Bridge Scout & Guide Hut for the fourth control.
Half way, now back you go; this time to the west of Snowdon and then up past Llyn Trawsfynydd for a cracking descent, probably in the dark, before back to Kings YHA, fifth control. Here the route changes for 2023. Early arrivers will be encouraged to push on to the next control around the coast at Aberdyfi for their sleep stop freeing up beds for the midfield at Kings YHA; it is an easy 30km on and two thirds distance.
From here it is off to control seven at Newtown with a gradual climb from the Dyfi & Twymyn valleys into the Carno. Then the biggest climb up and over to the quiet Teme Valley passing through Knighton & Prestigne and back into the Wye Valley once more; a final control before finishing off passing Tintern Abbey and back to the finish.
- Food & drink provided at start, Kings YHA in both directions, Menai Bridge, Aberdyfi & the Arrivee.
- The ‘menu’ will be provided later with the final ride details.
- Every endeavour will be made to cater for all dietary requirements.
- However if you require specialist provision any precooked meals you provide can be transported from the start to the controls.
- Bag drop provided to Kings YHA, Menai or Aberdyfi.
- Sleep facilities provided.
- Option to sleep at Menai Bridge in the back room with your own kit.
- Beds @ Kings YHA.
- Option to camp at Kings YHA with your own kit that will be transported for you.
- Airbeds @ Aberdyfi.
Camping Friday night: £7 tent | £10 van
Parking Saturday & Sunday: £5
Places to discuss with other riders:
Could you be a helper?
Hopefully we’ll have all the helpers sorted but if we are short would you be able to help? There will be a helpers’ ride starting on the 6th with hopefully a sleep/food stop around 350km provided.
If so select the HELPER ticket. If you are needed you will be notified 1 month prior to the event and a full refund will be given if you are still available.
Once full I’ll run a waiting list with the same criteria I’ve used before: you join the waiting list as if you enter; if someone drops out you are automatically added in order of joining; if a space becomes available after the Wednesday before the event I’ll contact you to check first and if not pass it on to the next; a full refund will be given to all that don’t get a space from the waiting list.
Like or loath* it? Let others know.*Whilst I like to think I can affect the weather alas that is beyond my control...
What others think.
The best BCM yet
Superb. Enjoyed the route even more than my 2 previous BCM’s, particularly the ‘morning’ (for me) section around the headland to Aberdovey. Although the night section shortcut through Rhyd was one kicker of a climb I’d happily avoid next time. The run back through the lanes around Weobley was far more enjoyable than previous routes down through Llandrindod Wells, even if it was a little slower going. All the organisers and helpers were fabulous and the ACB riders in particular were very friendly. The weather wasn’t bad either 😉 thanks Will.
Amazing route and great organisation
This was my first ever 600k ride. The route was stunningly beautiful and the organisation was amazing. Highly recommended and definitely an event I will be doing again.
Beautiful ride through Wales
One of my favourite events now even more scenic. Head swiftly into central Wales on steady gradients, picking up the Wye Valley. Then the magic happens, the Machynlleth mountain road, Barmouth, Climbing over Pen-y-Pass from Beddgelert. After Kings YHA, the coast road and a pleasant ride to Newtown. More climbing before returning to the Wye Valley at Monmouth, passing Tintern Abbey before the finish.
A difficult ride that is well worth the effort.
BCM600 - The Iconic Annual Audax Event with Awesome People and Breath-taking Scenery
This esteemed ride has been on my bucket list since discovering audax. I have to say, so far, it is the best route I have ever done in the UK. Wales.is.fucking.awesome. In addition to the scenery, the people are just as awesome. In 600km only a single honk / shout of us being wankers from a welsh person (a white van). Everyone else was super patient and law-abiding. Always gave us 1.5m of room. Never overtook on a solid line. As we neared England ironically we had 3 motorcyclists (with English accents and union jack plates) honk at a patient welsh driver waiting to safely overtake a rider ahead of us. They then proceeded to box us in and slow down, not letting us pass, with one claiming “you could kill one of us by undertaking”. People are awesome. Well, forget that, the Welsh are awesome. It gives me hope that there is a place not too far away that I would feel very welcome if I ever decided to leave the hustle, bustle, and general self-obsessed in the southeast.
Will is an amazing Organiser and it is my understanding this was his first time taking over as Organiser of the BCM. It went down without a hitch … but for the one unfortunate uncontrollable hitch … which the volunteers were ALL OVER and I could not believe how well they sorted everything out to keep the event moving forward.
Brilliant BCM 23
Superbly run and organised event. Loved the route and the helpers were just brilliant at every checkpoint, with hearty food on offer. Even the weather was well organised. A brilliant way to see Wales end to end in all it’s guises, with some stunning vistas and a decent amount of climbing.
Bookings aren't available; either I haven't opened entry yet or if after 07/05/23 then they have closed.
You are attending this event.
STATUS: Specific details are CONFIRMED - all details have been updated. You will be notified by email of any last minute changes made here.
- Please flick through the following tabs fully and make any preparations before the event.
- Route files & links will be found under the 'Route' tab.
- The event/route specific information will be finalised usually the 5th day before the event and you will get an email reminder 3 days prior from firstname.lastname@example.org - add it to your address book to save any disappointment.
- Should you be unable to attend the event I have enabled cancellation from 'My Bookings'. This will aid me in keeping controls informed as to how many to expect and also reduce wastage when printing the brevet cards. Remember there is no option to refund or transfer if you are unable to attend.
- You will receive your brevet card at the start. Should you start the ride and be unable to finish my phone number is within; please drop me a text with your full name to let me know you won't be finishing so volunteers and myself aren't waiting around longer than necessary at controls and the finish.
- Any queries please use ACB@pedalution.co.uk subject 600bcm Query so I can filter them easily.
- Until the route is finalised the interactive map above will give you an idea of where you are going.
- It is advisable to study the route notes prior to the event for further details; especially if you are just using a GPX breadcrumb trail to navigate. These are also the 'cuesheet' within the RWGPS route; zoom the map to your desired level, click on a cue and it will focus the map at that cue.
- Every effort is made to identify road closures before the event and provide alternatives where necessary; however I can not account for any emergency closures that are required.
- A variety of surfaces may be encountered, some may be as smooth as a baby's bum, others potholed nightmares, or somewhere in between; if any unmetalled sections are used this will be noted in the Event Info above and now visible as 'unpaved' within RWGPS.
- I do my utmost to select low traffic routes but there may be times busier sections are required.
- Mudguards aren't mandatory but if you can fit them why wouldn't you?
- I would always recommend a set of lights as you never know what could happen.
- Similarly consider carrying 2 space blankets; they cost nothing, are tiny, and can keep you and an other warm should the unfortunate happen.
Files and links further down, please read through the following first.
EXTRA DETAILS:HAPPY VALLEY GPX
The main advisory points to note are:
- @212km | (Barmouth Bridge) LEFT onto Mawddach Trail SP !!Pedestrians - possible sand & slippery wooden bridge ahead!!
- @466km | (Newtown) Bridge closed 08:50-09:10 for 10k Run - please wait.
- @505km | (B4355) !!Poor Surface!! - descent south of Knighton; route checkers report paticularily on edge.
- @517km onwards through Weobley | Lanes are used, pay attention as there is excess debris in places due to recent weather and grass down the middle in places.
I have created route sections of about 200km using Kings as the cut point. These are available in the RWGPS Event and as links in the RWGPS Route. In the RWGPS Event I have also added an alternative to get to Kings from Dolgellau on the outward leg; the ascent is a little easier and in the shadow of Cadair Idris, overall climb a bit more. The road is gated dropping back down to Kings so if you do fancy it make sure you close them.
CSV route notes - these can be edited in any spreadsheet software.
PDF route notes - a version with maps is available in linked RWGPS route (no account necessary to use the official PDF - use 'More v') or the event.
RWGPS Event - at least a free account needed but you will get full premium features, including offline maps & voice nav for the app, regardless of your subscription level. To sync to your device (Wahoo, Garmin Edge) you need to join this first.
RWGPS Route - no account needed but you will lack a few advanced features such as early turn warnings.
See the RWGPS App for my tips to use your phone for navigation and maximising battery life.
- Can't copy the RWGPS route to your account? I have disabled this so should any changes be necessary there is the one correct version.
- I do not provide technical services for your device having never used anything other than the RWGPS app.
- Can't add it to Garmin Connect? It isn't an activity. Transfer it to your Garmin via USB.
- Can't send to your device? Join the RWGPS event.
Bulwark Community Centre will be open to riders from 03:00. There is NO PARKING on local streets to keep the residents happy. Refrain from using the main entrance when arriving but instead use the access routes linked under 'access by...'
Whilst a bag drop is being offered I'd highly suggest if you are doing PBP that you carry your own stuff in preperation for the big event; less sleeping kit for those that are going to have a snooze at Menai or camp at Kings. 1 bag per person; if tent etc use a strong reuseable supermarket/Ikea bag. Drops will be made to your choice of Kings, Menai or Aberdyfi. To identify which you will need to wrap your bag handle/strap with the coloured masking tape provided; this is your responsibilty. Bags will be returned to Chepstow early afternoon on Sunday; any left bags can be returned at your cost.
Be aware Bulwark will only open from 09:00 on Sunday so if you ride through the night please see further details on the 'control tab'.
Welsh cakes and others, plus hot drinks will be available at the finish.
Please arrive at least 10 minutes before the depart time to collect your brevet card.
Bulwark Community Centre - opens new tab for map. Laburnam Way, Bulwark, Chepstow, Monmouthshire, NP16 5RF, Wales
- Bike - Easily accessible from NCN4. It is a short ride from the car park. In both cases I ask you to avoid using the main entrance to avoid conflict with departing riders.
- Car - Located just off M48 J2. Parking will be off the A48 at Innage Farm, Mathern.
- Train - The closest train stations are:
Parking: No Parking -
No parking or drop off are permitted on the local residential streets so as not to disturb the residents. Parking will be available at Innage Farm for £5 and will be open from 03:00; turn up and pay on arrival. If you are being dropped off use Tesco car park near J2.
Food & Drink: Food & Drinks available. A quick breakfast of baked beans on toast and hot drinks will be available to start. Cakes and hot drinks at the finish from 09:00 on Sunday. Unless specified otherwise above.
Camping will be available at Innage Farm for Friday night and is where the car park is located. Turn up and pay on the day.
- Tent £7
- Van/Camper £10
As above. - opens new tab for map & a few details.
All times after the start are the duration after your allotted start time
- @0km | 04:00 05:00 06:00 | DEPART: CHEPSTOW - Bulwark Community Centre.
- @72km | 2h24-4h28 | CONTROL: BRONLLYS - Honey Cafe.
- @139km | 4h38-9h16 | CONTROL: LLANIDLOES [free] - collect receipt.
- @159km | 5h18-10h36 | CHECKPOINT: MACH' MOUNTAIN ROAD - Cadair Viewpoint.
- @204km | 6h48-13h36 | CONTROL: nr DOLGELLAU - Kings YHA.
- @232km | INFO: HARLECH - see brevet.
- @266km | 8h52-17h44 | CHECKPOINT: nr PEN Y PASS - Pen y Gwryd Hotel, 2nd car park past junction.
- @293km | 09h46-19h32 | CONTROL: MENAI BRIDGE - Menai Heritage Thomas Telford Centre.
- @373km | 12h26-24h52 | CONTROL: nr DOLGELLAU - Kings YHA.
- @405km | 13h30-27h00 | CONTROL: ABERDYFI - Village Hall.
- @468km | 15h34-31h08 | CONTROL: NEWTOWN [free] - collect receipt.
- @531km | INFO: WEOBLEY - see brevet.
- @608km | 20h16-40h00 | ARRIVEE: CHEPSTOW.
- 00:16-09:00 | Chepstow BP A48 - collect receipt, complete brevet card (free control times & infos, and put in bag with receipts; instructions where to leave will be provided at the Dapart.
- 09:00-22:00 | Bulwark Community Centre.
- DEPART: beans on toast.
- Kings YHA - out: pasta & veg; cakes; bananas.
- Menai Bridge: veggie soup; cakes; bananas.
- Kings YHA - return: rice & dal; toast & spreads for those that sleep; cakes; bananas.
- Aberdyfi: beans, sausages (meat & veggie/vegan), toast, mushrooms; cakes; bananas.
- ARRIVEE: Welsh cakes; cakes.
- Tea, coffee & squash at all of the above.
The Millers Arms, Mathern will be doing a buffet dinner served until 23:00 on Friday 19th for those camping or staying locally.
- I highly recommend if you are doing PBP you don't use the bag drop and get used to setting up your bike and kit ready for the big event.
- Bag drops will be to Kings, Menai & Aberdyfi.
- On arrival you will need to wrap you bag strap/handle with the coloured masking tape respective to each control. This will be used for unloading the van and is your responsibility for the bag arriving at your chosen drop. Obviously label your bag with you name etc.
- Your bag drop location doesn't necessarily mean that is where a bed will be available - see below.
- Bags will be returned from any of these to Chepstow probably by early afternoon.
- Bag drops are for clothes, toothbrush, powerbank (if you have one bring it rather than a wall charger) etc; also camping stuff for those that want to camp at Kings.
- Any other bags can be left at the start to be collected at the end. eg, Friday night camping equipment.
- Menai Brisge: As per last email there will be no space for sleeping here.
- Kings: YHA beds and linen. Or your camping stuff dropped off if you want to do that.
- Aberdyfi: Airbeds & Blankets.
- Bed space at Kings or Aberdyfi is not guaranteed at any given time so "I'm sleeping at Aberdyfi" may not ring true.
- The first riders to Kings will be pushed on to fill up Aberdyfi first, then Kings will be filled.
- The controllers will be liaising during this time so Kings will push riders on to Aberdyfi when they know a bed will be free in about an hour and a half time; with the staggered start time we hope to allow everyone who wants a bed to get one without having to wait, and keep Kings freed up for the later arrivals.
- If you decide not to follow the controllers' suggestions you may end up waiting longer for a bed.
- Currently showers are only available at Kings. I'll update at the start if Aberdyfi's local football club can open theirs, it is a 100m walk.
- Ladies will have their own room @ Kings in the annexe with a shower and toilet; but it may still be suggested you sleep at Aberdyfi if all the beds are taken within.
- If I was doing this I'd use Kings as my bag drop, use a small rucksack, and if needs be carry it round the coast to Aberdyfi if I get pushed on, where it'll then be picked up from.
- If you are adamant you are sleeping at Aberdyfi then half the hall which we aren't using is theatre seating (on a slight slope), there is aisle space if you want a dark spot, but no airbeds will be in this area.
- Kings to Aberdyfi is a rolling 32km so about 1h15-30m ride for most.
- Bring some ear plugs!
Types of control:
- CONTROL - a place or venue where you obtain PoP which can be done in several ways. You will be able to get food and/or drink, also WC will be available.
- Manned - a volunteer or venue member of staff will stamp your card providing PoP. All controls are thus unless specified as...
- Free - you must obtain PoP from that place that has a time and date, usually a receipt from a cafe, shop or ATM.
- INFO - a question found in your brevet card that is relevent to the location needs to be answered and recorded.
- CHECKPOINT - similar to a control but there may not be any facilities present.
- SECRET - now that would be telling wouldn't it!
This is what 'audax' is all about. Travelling between controls to collect proof of passage (PoP) to prove you have cycled the distance. The above controls are found in your brevet card, the route notes, as POIs with the route, and waypoints with the GPX. Your brevet card it to be filled out as you progress around the route. PoP is obtained in several ways. It is highly recommended you carry a pen or pencil to fill your brevet card as you go; if it is a long event numbering any receipts to correspond with the control number will save you time later, then keeping them in order is next level!
USING YOUR PHONE & RWGPS APP:
I use the RWGPS app on my phone to navigate audax events by using spoken cues, I also use it to route check and proof my route notes. This IMHO is the best of all worlds. I don't need to look at a screen (but I can check if I want), I get clear directions when needed (you may need to get used to my shorthand which gets spoken as such), I get a warning if I'm off route, the battery lasts a lot longer than constantly using the screen; especially nowadays as phone batteries are getting bigger plus many are able to rapid charge in a short amount of time. All you need is a good case and mount for inclement weather.
- Install the app.
- Join the event.
- Go to the route.
- Send to device.
- Open app and confirm download.
- In settings (exact location varies depending on iOS or Android) to optomise for best battery use:
- Logging - adjust interval: every 10s is best for the battery, logs your ride but won't get you any KOMs; every 1s uses 10x more battery power to write data but may get you a KOM if you pedal quick.
- Navigation - Spoken alerts ON | Off-course alerts ON | others at your discretion.
- Handlebar mode ENABLED - this will keep RWGPS above any screen lock so you can recall it if needed by pressing power button or similar.
- Handlebar mode - Screen OFF for cues | Proximity Wake OFF (otherwise changes in light will turn the screen on) | Keep screen on NEVER.
- Offline mode ENABLED - when you start riding.
- Better still use flight/aeroplane mode whilst riding.
- You can adjust the text-speech settings via your phone settings; the type of voice, playback speed etc.
Most of the battery drain on a phone is from the screen. By using voice commands you eliminate this but can still view the map if needs be. The second biggest drain whilst cycling is the phone itself searching for a signal as you move between cell towers; putting the phone into flight/aeroplane mode whilst moving solves this problem; you can easily turn data back on to #tag that #CAKE at the next stop!
Make sure battery optimisation is turned off otherwise Android will recognise RWGPS as an excessive battery drain and can limit its functionality. This will be particularily evident if you stop for a bit without GPS signal then continue; the app will appear to be functioning correctly but Android will limit it and data can be lost from the stop point until the app is restarted. There may be a similar feature in iOS.
- Settings >Apps.
- Find RWGPS and expand Advanced >Battery.
- If it says optomised then select and wait for all apps to load.
- Make sure the apps displayed are 'All apps', find RWGPS and select.
- Select 'Don't optimise'. Exit settings.
You have agreed to and declared that at the time of the ride...
- You have no symptoms relating to COVID-19.
- That you are not self-isolating.
- That you are not required to quarantine during the period of the event.
- That no local or other regulations prohibit you from attending this event.
- You agree that if you develop any such symptoms before the event you will not attend.
- You agree that if I develop any such symptoms immediately after the event I shall inform the organiser.
Please follow any wishes of private establishments en route. I highly recommend carrying a mask/buff/scarf etc for the simple act of covering your face if needed when indoors. Any specifics requested by controls will be noted in the control tab.
Audax UK's current policy can be found here.