WELCOME! I've been cycling through the Southeast Valleys of Wales since 2010 and I can't say (or show) enough about the place. I just love it. So if you've got the interest and would like to spend some time... sit back and let me show you some of the fabulous places I've discovered.

Saturday, 14 October 2017

Out from the Archives

Hey gang!... whilst sitting out the cold autumn rain this week, I've been busy digging through the back issues of Bike Wales. So in this post I'm focusing on some of special ride reports from my first year in Wales - 2012.

Dark clouds and sun provide dramatic lighting across the Lonely Shepherd and Llangattock Escarpment.

2012 was a special year for not only did I begin exploring Wales in earnest, but I met some lovely people with whom to cycle. It was also the year I first met the Kingfishers and began joining them every Tuesday for crazy, wonderful adventures. Today, I've got several flashbacks to some of those memorable early days.

Lastly, I've got part three of my 2017 "Bike & Hike" trilogy. I'm hoping to further develop this aspect of my cycling adventures during the coming year, so these three little trips served as practice sessions.

Reliving the memories...

Looking for Clydach Gorge...
Read about my failed attempt to meet the Sustrans Volunteer group way up the mountain above Brynmawr. Little did I know that his adventure would turn out to be a life changing day. Check out my first trip into the gorge!
[ Review: Looking for Clydach Gorge... ]

Talybont Adventure
in 2012, I met this crazy South African guy and we immediately hit it off. Read about our intense day wandering over the moors above Trefil. I really put my new Dawes bike to the test too!
[ Review: Talybont Adventure ]

Maybe Maerdy, Maybe Not...
I was fortunate to join these lovely folks on ride over the mountain at Maerdy. The climb was incredible and the scenery stunning. Look back with me at one of my first group rides in Wales.
[ Review: Maybe Maerdy, Maybe Not... ]

Land of Discovery... Llandovery
My first overnight trip with the Kingfishers was a hoot and quickly became an adventure of a lifetime. I am so fortunate to have met these crazy, wonderful fellas. It was three days of miles and smiles.
[ Review: Maybe Maerdy, Maybe Not... ]

Feature Report

The Lonely Shepherd
The third adventure of my "Bike & Hike" series proves to be the best yet. Check out the Kingfishers along some of the gorgeous landscapes from the Llangattock Escarpment.
[ Feature: The Lonely Shepherd ]

I'll be continuing my work in the archive over the next few months, so this will provide a continuing feature for my posts. Plus, I've got some rides from the Summer of 2017 that will be coming out soon - so be sure to check back!. As always, thanks for stopping by.
Cheers! - cm

Sunday, 8 October 2017

Music Videos Playlist

When not on my bike, chances are that you'll find me sitting here in front of this darn computer... along with some tunes crankin'. My post today is just a quickie - I'm going to offer up three artists that have been spinning on my playlist for the past couple of weeks.

The new and the very old - a lovely autumn day riding past Raglan Castle with the Kingfishers.

I'm sure many folks of my generation will agree that music has gotten pretty dull over the last couple of decades. Despite the morass of completely forgettable pop dirges littering the airwaves; I try to find new music. The first group is fairly new with just having released their second album. It's great stuff. The second artist has been around for a few years; however, I completely missed her until last month and she totally rocks. The last artist I've been listening to for a while and just deserve to be shared. I hope you enjoy!

Sounds in my head while my feet go round...

Wolf Alice
Ya gotta love these kids. They have a wonderful attitude and it's great to see someone not overtly interested in "celebrity". Give 'em a listen from this fantastic show show in Paris. The filming and music recording is excellent too.
[ Rock out to Wolf Alice ]

St. Vincent
This girl rocks. Her songwriting is rich and complex whilst her musicianship is amazing. Every female who would like to play guitar should watch this chick. She's simply incredible. Pour yourself a vodka and put on yer headphones.
[ Rock out to St. Vincent ]

Brian Jonestown Massacre
These guys have been around for 20 years. There's tons of video out to watch. Despite having what many people consider an out-dated sound - I really dig 'em. The link I have here is from one of the better recorded shows back in 2016.
[ Rock out to BJM ]

Latest images burning my retinas...

14 Locks, Newport, & Sirhowy Parc
Oh yeah... I put a few new images up in my Gallery this week. I have loads to process with images going back to 2009 to work on... YIKES! Well, this is a start...
[ View 14 Locks, Newport, & Sirhowy Parc Gallery ]

Now the sun has come out on a glorious autumn day so with a song in my head, I'm off to ride Lady Purple down to 14 Locks. As always, thanks for stopping by.
Cheers! - cm

Saturday, 30 September 2017

Reading, Writing, and Remembering

Fall has arrived and along with it - rain. I had planned a long ride for today; but not wanting to fight the weather, I have called it off. I'll save it for another day. And postponing rides always leaves me in a sort of down mood. There's plenty of other things I can do... (things I need to do!), but I'm in a strange sort of mindset. So I guess this should be documented as I would a cycling trip... just another type of journey.

Cycling home last week I saw the first fall colour...

It's 7:00 am. I've come downstairs, made a cup of coffee, turned the computer on and here I sit. Melanie is sleeping soundly upstairs and all is quiet on a cold and rainy Saturday morning in this little part of little Wales.

I spent the better part of yesterday reading about other people's adventures on the website "Crazy Guy on a Bike" (CGOAB) and today I am longing to be on the road. So to focus on what I'm thinking and feeling; I will write about what I've been reading.

CGOAB is a very straight-forward website for people to keep an online journal of their cycling adventures... and it's massive. First of all; the number of entries is daunting and secondly, the length of some of the trips are phenomenal. I'm talking "sell your house and everything you own and travel around the world" types of cycling trips. I find it hugely addictive reading and dangerously compelling.

So I'm dedicating this issue of my blog to the many folks out there cycling the world, regardless of the weather - making their life an adventure. Cheers to all the world-traveling cyclists! May your journeys be safe and your adventures rewarding.

Reading About Riding

Life is like a box of choclates
These folks were my first BIG read on CGOAB and I was instantly hooked. It's quite a unique adventure to take your family on a year-long cycle tour and these brave folks set an amazing example. Their journey is fascinating and wonderful. Though it ended a few years ago, it is well worth the read.
[ Check out the Genners Adventure ]

Death, Life & the Rural American Gas Station
I can honestly say that I've read hundreds of journals on CGOAB, but the writing and photography on this one is some of the best. I love their jovial attitudes and their reckless abandon never ceases to be just plain fun! It's laugh out loud reading and the chapter titles are classic. I envy these people deeply.
[ Check out Jeff & Kristen's Adventures ]

ABC: Anchorage to Baja California
I have never met Curtis and Jenny Shaw in person, but I was instantly drawn into their journey. Often people set out with very strong "goals" for their cycling trips, but C&J seem so laid back... I guess I kinda got a little crush on them straight from the start. I've been reading about their adventures for over a year now (and I love the photography). [ Check out CJBike Tours ]

America ByCycle
Ya gotta check out these cool kids. They had some great marketing ideas and a super strong brand for cycle touring. Unfortunately, I don't know what happened to them or what they're doing now, but back in the day when they made their website - they were on it!. Be sure to watch the videos.
[Check out America ByCycle ]

Racpat RTW
As is the case, reading about one cycle tour leads to another. Curtis and Jenny met Patrick and Rachel while on the road in Central America and included a link to their journal. Hang on to your hats folks... this one is a doozy! Yep, they're two and a half years into a trip around the world.
[ Check out Patrick & Rachels Epic Tour ]

In Closing:
I know I've given you plenty to look through. I hope you find some journals of interest. And as a final footnote; here's a bonus link for Curtis & Jenny's second leg to their massive tour: DEF: Down Even Further-Mexico & Central America. As always, thanks for stopping by.

Relevant Links:

Coming Next Issue:
  • Music Video Playlists