Friday, 24 May 2013

Anglesey V2 pt2

In light of recent events (ie me being knackered and not recovering very well) I took the Weds off as a walking and exploring day, I'd long wanted to find a couple of old abandoned chapels that I visited 25 years ago when doing the Parry's Mount book, only trouble was that I'd forgotten where they were !

A bit of map gazing and internet searching gave me a couple of possible locations, both proved to be correct, the first chapel known as the mud chapel has been left to rot away, such a shame as this was in service as recent as the 1960's, and of course still lots of family graves in the graveyard. When I last visited I was using a 10 x 8 plate camera, and although abandoned the roff was intact and the insides in reasonable shape, this time the roof has partly fallen in and the insides vandalised and rotting.

The 2nd chapel has been tended to and looked after, signs of people cutting the grass and not letting it deteriorate any further.

The rest of the day was spent walking the coast and marvelling at the sheer size and audacity of some of the bigger posher houses :-)

Thursday was back to riding day, I'd decided to follow one of the routes that have been chosen to best illustrate the island by bike, in this case the Copper Trail, basically taking a loop around Parry's Mount.

It was a great ride, once again blue skies but windy and still cool enough for arm warmers.

Friday and my last day, I decided to get some singletrack in so stripped the bike back down to mountain bike mode and went light so no camera, heading over to Aberfraw to park the car I remebered a back road from a few weeks back so headed off to Newborough from here, finally got into the forest and starting sniffing out the singletrack, not a huge amount but lots of cheeky trails, primarily built for horse ridewrs I think (when I say built I mean allocated) but as it was early morning midweek and there wasn't any horse boxes in the car park I hit it fast.

And then that was it done, my 2 weeks of adventure hadn't quite happened as I had planned, but I had rode my bike for 9 of those 14 days, I'd seen parts of Anglesey I hadn't before, I ticked off a climb that I've long wanted to do... but most importantly I'd had fun, better than working for a living :-)

Saturday, 18 May 2013

Anglesey V2 pt1

Monday morning and off I head to Anglesey once again, this time with a forecast for mixed weather and a bed and breakfast booked for 3 nights.

I made my mind up that I wanted to ride eveyday without the added weight of the camping and cooking stuff, the Fargo was stripped of its panniers leaving just the bar bag and rack pack, 30lbs dropped instantly, but still around the 45lb mark when loaded with camera, binoculars and assorted stuff.

On the way over I wanted to ride up and over the Llanberis Pass, its long been on my list of roads to ride, so parking up at Betws Y Coed and turning right into a headwind !, what a surprise, the going was slow but purposeful all the way until the top. And then the going was slow and purposeful all the way to Llanberis, pedalling hard all the way DOWN the pass due to the brutal headwind.

A quick bite to eat and a coffee saw me heading back up, relishing the tailwind that now appeared to have turned around into a headwind, and just to rub salt into the wound it started to rain heavily and go very dark, dark enough to stop and fit some blinkies front and rear.

35 miles in just over 3 hours, and then to the island.

Tuesday was a semi repeat of my epic day from the previous week, following the back roads along the north west coast, up and down, up and down ending up at South Stack for coffee and cake and a sandwich and a coke and a clif bar....

One of the things I wanted to do with this tour was visit the quiet coves along the coast, and also explore the old churches and chapels that crossed my path.

The temperature rose during the day, and combined with lots of hard pedaling the dreaded "hot foot" appeared, first time since last summer !

But, it couldn't have happened at a better place, Cemlyn Bay, one of my favourite places despite (maybe because of) there being a huge nuclear reactor just over the water.

55 hilly miles in blue skies, with even more wind, that evening was spent in the bar at the hotel chatting with other residents and trying not to fall asleep.

A rest day required in light of last weeks issues :-)

Sunday, 12 May 2013


Didnt ride after Tuesday last week, weather was rubbish, legs achey, motivation low.

I tried once again to get the Delamere bivvy off the ground, its fair to say that this event has had more failed starts than a 72 Capri Ghia !, and guess what ?, we failed again, no matter though as Nick and I did get a near 20 miler arond Delamere in this morning, just managing to avoid the rain as we pulled up to his place.

A great ride, topped off by being the 1st customers through the door of the newly opened Eddisbury Fruit Farm Cafe looks great and we had great coffee and breakfast, we'll be using this place every time we hit the forest from now on.

A few snaps from today

Wednesday, 8 May 2013


takes longer to do these days, the efforts of last weekend wiped me out, I'm actually quite shocked at how much Yesterday I decided to head to the peaks with the Salsa Vaya, I took the mudguards and rack off the bike as it was blue skies and sunshine, I drove to Langley with the idea of saving my legs for the hills. Heading straight up through the forest immediatly indicated that there was nothing in the tank, 1st gear and slipping around on the loose gravel fire roads wasn't fun... at all.

I had to stop a few times to let the lactic drain from my legs but eventually made the top

Meanwhile, the sun did its thing

Dropping into the valley brought some relief, and I started to feel better, until the road went up again, it was at this point that I decided to call it a day so headed back via a loop of Shutlingsloe

Just over 12 miles, 560 metres of climbing, 1 hour 30 mins. Feeling a bit let down with this I decided to make the most of the sunshine and headed over to Delamere where I'd heard that the trails were dry and dusty via NickTeetosugars, he was right, they were just about perfect, very few puddles, dry dusty and smelling of rising pine.

The Salsa Vaya was perfect for here today, fast and nimble, and in complete contrast to my earlier ride, there was only two places where I got caught out, one rooty drop off that I hit before I realised and felt the rear rim through the tyre, amazed that I didntpinch flat, and then at the bottom of a descent was a sand pit, the front tyre squirmed and I felt my self going over the bars, luckily for me the sand firmed up and the tyre squared up, I got through ! Still awaiting the new tent to be delivered, should be here either today or tomorrow, will take it over to my folks house to pitch it in their garden to see if I fit into it, if its okay then I'm thinking of heading back to Wales on Sunday to continue the tour.

Monday, 6 May 2013

Loaded Fargo, about 75lbs I reckon

Loaded Fargo, about 75lbs I reckon a trial run for more commiting tours, I learnt a lot.... 4 Ortlieb panniers, bar bag and rack pack 5 litres of water plus 500ml of meths Tent was a Lichfield 200 treklite, pitched perfectly, but although it was long enough on the footprint the tapered design meant both my face and my feet were touching the inner and this was uncomfortable, changing it for a Wild Country Zephyros 2 XL. Down bag was my old Karrimor thats about 15 years old, combined with the Neo Air air mat made for a reasonably comfortable bed. Food was 4 bags of boil in the bag meals, all tasty and quick to cook, stove was a Trangia, 3/4 full of meths was perfect to heat the meal and provide enough water for a brew. I also carried a mix of Cliff bars and assorted other bars plus a few emergency gels, breakfast was quick Oats mixed with water and milk (not ideal but served a purpose) Clothing was 1 spare set of cycling clothing and 1 set of civvy clothing, down jacket and beanie, plus spare gloves, Rapha waterproof jacket and Altura waterproof pants, a pair of crocs were added for foot relief. I relied on maps for directions but had a garmin 800 gps on board for mileage counting and back up, I also carried a Kindle, an Iphone and a headtorch, plus a power monkey for power when required. I also carried a foam foldaway seating mat and a tarp, plus some spare rope etc for tying off the tarp or drying washing, I also had rear lights on the pannier rack and a front exposure light and a couple of front blinkies for on the roads when it was raining or getting dark. Not sure that I could reduce this by much for an extended tour, it might be worth seeing if I could fit it all into a frame/seat/bar bag to reduce the weight of the panniers and racks, obviously for a few nights out I'd go a lot lighter than this. Riding the bike loaded like this took a bit of relearning, the weight made for slow pondorous steering and a few speed wobbles, it was hard work on the hills, I dont think I've ever changed gears so much. Hoping the new tent will be here by weekend and I'll set off again and do more "research" :-)