robjh goes west - Cambridgeshire to West Wales

Discussion in 'Member's Travelogues' started by robjh, 3 May 2017.

  1. I'm off early tomorrow for a few days' ride that will take me firstly to Bristol (in 2 days), where I will join a bunch of fruitcakes cycling across the Severn Bridge at night. I've then planned a day's recovery - mainly sleeping I expect - in Cardiff, before I head for the Welsh hills.
    The plan after that, in as much as there is one, involves a meander through wild parts of mid Wales before heading for Pembrokeshire, where I have a final night booked in the YHA hostel at Manorbier before I catch a train back to London.

    I'll post a few photos and ride reports en route. This is what I currently have in mind.
    upload_2017-5-3_21-20-8.png
     
  2. Welsh wheels

    Welsh wheels Lycra king

    Location:
    South Wales
    Hope you enjoy your time in this neck of the woods
     
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  3. OP
    OP
    robjh

    robjh Guru

    Thanks. Pembrokeshire will be the only bit that I haven't ridden in before, but I remember it from holidays many, many years ago and am looking forward to it. The weather is not looking too bad for next week either.
     
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  4. Welsh wheels

    Welsh wheels Lycra king

    Location:
    South Wales
    P
    Pembrokeshire has some amazing cycling roads, it's very nice especially near Tenby.
     
  5. YukonBoy

    YukonBoy Veteran

    Location:
    Mars
    There nothing crazy about crossing the Severn bridge at night. Enjoy.
     
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  6. Glow worm

    Glow worm Guru

    Location:
    Near Newmarket
    Pob lwc! Say hello to lovely Wales from me- enjoy!
     
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  7. OP
    OP
    robjh

    robjh Guru

    Diolch yn fawr
     
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  8. mjr

    mjr Comfy armchair to one person & a plank to the next

    I rode around Pembrokeshire a bit in March and it's farking steep in many places!

    When you're tired of steep and want a simple way to your bed, National Route 4 is the Brunel Way south of Haverfordwest and mostly ex-railway downhill heading south and all tarmac IIRC (at worst, I was fine on a road bike on 28s), then a short zig-zag climb up to the bridges and OK tracks to Pembroke, then the signposted back roads to Lamphey are easy. If you don't fancy Route 4's long climb up to the Ridgeway just to come back down again, turn right onto the B road to Freshwater East instead, continue straight on past the pub (don't worry about the "unsuitable" sign - it's fine for cycling), turn right at the end to do a short stretch on the A road and turn right off, straight on through a crossroads and turn right onto the B road to Manorbier. The hostel is signposted from the B road east of the town.

    I look forward to reading about your progress. I didn't ride to there, for various reasons.
     
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  9. OP
    OP
    robjh

    robjh Guru

    Day 1. I've had a pleasant but uneventful ride with a good tailwind all the 89 miles from home to Streatley YHA on the Thames. I followed the line of the Chilterns all the way, sometimes in the hills but mostly on B roads to the north with the escarpment to my left. There were many scenic bits, and I finished by crossing the Thames at Goring (where a woman pointed out, unbidden, "George's house", meaning George Michael's. I had no idea he lived here.
    I checked in about 6, then rode to Pangbourne and back over the hills for a bit more scenery, and ended on 103 miles.

    Climbing the Chiltern ridge near. Sharpenhoe
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    The Thames at Goring
    DSC_0388.JPG
     
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  10. OP
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    robjh

    robjh Guru

    Odd road names of the day. 1 and 2
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    DSC_0386.JPG
     
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  11. OP
    OP
    robjh

    robjh Guru

    Day 2 - Friday 5th May - started at Streatley, on the Thames. I took a chance with the Ridgeway path, described here as bridleway open to all vehicles. My wide Marathon + tyres coped with the chalk and gravel surfaces but some of the rutty downhill bits were still 'interesting'. In all it was lovely though, away from the roads, wide open rolling landscapes, the sun was out... Only problem was the speed and after 8 miles in nearly 2 hours I knew it was time for some tarmac.
    DSC_0392.JPG

    I stopped in Marlborough for lunch then took the main A4 and A361 for a while - rather trafficky but fast and scenic. I stopped and gawped at the huge prehistoric mound of Silbury Hill
    DSC_0396.JPG

    I had a strong wind blowing me all the way. Then through Calne and Melksham, and was in Bath around 5.30. I got on the cycle path on the old railway here, and followed it to Bristol. Better signage at the Bristol end would have been good, and I spent some time looking for the centre and the harbour.
    Anyway, all was well, I met up with the Friday night ride crowd, and there's more of that over on the other thread (see link in #1)
     
    Last edited: 7 May 2017
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  12. OP
    OP
    robjh

    robjh Guru

    Day 3 - Saturday's - ride began at midnight as about 35 of us set off from Bristol for Cardiff and Barry Island. I most enjoyed the first part, crossing the Clifton Suspension Bridge, Avonmouth Bridge and Severn Bridge, the last of which we reached about 2.30 am. Tje latter part of the night got very cold indeed, but all seemed better by Barry where we enjoyed breakfast in a seafront cafe, before retiring by train to Cardiff, for more coffee and then beers for those who were still awake. All good fun, and I lasted out till 2 when I went off to find my airbnb room, in leafy Cathedral Road. I did try and see a bit more of Cardiff but tiredness caught me up, and I went to bed at 7 and slept solidly for 13 hours.
     
  13. OP
    OP
    robjh

    robjh Guru

    Day 4 -Sunday. I needed all that sleep, and finally got away from Cardiff about 11. I threaded through the Valleys to Treorchy, where I stopped in Carpanini's cafe, which I spotted by all the bikes outside. It was here some years back that @theclaud and @User482 first extolled to me the virtues of night rides - without that I wouldn't be doing this ride now.
    DSC_0405.JPG

    Then over the Rhigos, a good climb made better by smooth tarmac and a steady gradient. a great swoop down to the north too.
    DSC_0407.JPG
    After this it just got better and better. I followed a lovely moorland road from Penderyn through Ystradfellte, until it dropped precipitously at the 'Devil's Elbow'
    DSC_0409.JPG

    Another quick coffee stop at Sennybridge, then I turned west on a minor road,with stunning views of the Black Mountain ridge in the evening sun
    DSC_0410.JPG

    I ended the day at the lovely rural youth hostel at Llanddeusant, of which more on day 5.
     
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  14. OP
    OP
    robjh

    robjh Guru

    Day 5, Monday. I was so enticed by the outline of the Black Mountain yesterday evening that I decided to stay at Llanddeusant today, and explore them on foot.
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    The Black Mountain or Mynydd Ddu (not to be confused with the Black MountainS further east) are like a scaled-down Brecon Beacons but without the crowds. Abrupt cliffs line the nothern face, while to the south lie vast tracts of bare moorland. It was a warm, cloudless day and I had a great time.
    Llanddeusant hostel was a jolly place, with a small succession of outdoorsy types of a certain age passing through, and its location was idyllic.
    I may have posted this pic on another thread
    DSC_0418.JPG
     
    Last edited: 10 May 2017
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  15. OP
    OP
    robjh

    robjh Guru

    On day 6, Tuesday, I wove my way through ruralest Carmarthenshire, towards Cardigan and the coast. It was sunny and everything looked great.
    I paused at Talley with its ruined abbey DSC_0420.JPG
    Then for a roadside picnic in the Brechfa forest, after the steepest climb to date
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    I then rode along the Teifi valley, on a quietish A road. The river looked like this
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    I had a quick ride round Cardigan town, the headed along the bay to find Poppit Sands youth hostel. It is high on a hillside above the sea, and at sunset you looked out over this
    DSC_0430.JPG
     
    Last edited: 10 May 2017
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