Introduction

Welcome friends. This humble blog is about the simple observations I discover whilst cycling through lovely Wales.
I hope to offer you dear reader, cheerful reflections upon the days and miles I pedal, along with encouragement to get out and explore by bicycle yourself! Perhaps too, if I attempt a bit of amusing anecdotes along the way, I may invoke your readership as well. Thanks for stopping by... cheers, muse

Tuesday, 17 April 2012

A Warm Up for Tomoz...

This is not a bad ride... quite easy actually now that I'm in better shape, but it is long and includes a few good climbs.

Photo Credit: John Wilson 
To start off, I head down the western side of the mountain and across the Chartist Bridge to Blackwood where I turn north onto NCN 467. It's an excellent local path along an old rail line that meanders 4 miles up through the woods to Hollybush. This sleepy little ride passes through the old Markham Collery and includes great views across the valley toward Manmoel.

The view up toward Hollybush...
At the top, I turn directly around at the old train station (now a very cool private residence) and return back down the same path continuing on through Blackwood High Street. Once across town (a whopping 1 mile...) I get on NCN 47 at Pontllanfraith (Of historic note; Gelligrose Mill... ) and ride south into Sirhowy Country Park (distance so far about 13 miles...).


Now it's an easy-peasy coast of 4 miles down through the spectacular Sirhowy Country Park. The paths have been widened, the trees and underbrush have been cut back... essentially they have completely re-groomed the park.

Entering the park from the north...

Friendly observers along the way...

and more friends...

At the southern end of Sirhowy Park the trail veers off toward the village of Cross Keys with a short hop through Waunfawr Park and into Risca. You have to get on the road for a short bit, cross the railroad tracks and then climb up onto the Monmouth & Brecon Canal path (around 3 miles...). But now it's now smoothe sailing all the way down to 14 Locks (another 4 miles).

Joining the Monmouthshire & Brecon Canal at Risca...

Looking back up the Sirhowy Valley from the canal path...

Now take I a break. There's a quaint little information facility (with clean restrooms)... benches to sit upon and relax...a pond with ducks. Time for lunch... (I've ridden 24 miles so far.)

Arriving at 14 Locks...

So... to get back home I turn around and repeat the same ride I just made but in reverse. Overall, I'm on the road with cars for two miles through Blackwood and Pontllanfraith (twice), a mile from Waunfawr Park to the M&B Canal (twice)... and a couple of miles between Oakdale and Blackwood. That works out to around eight miles of roadway and 40 miles of cycling paths. Not too shabby I would say.

For the stats; the 48 mile round trip ride took me 5 hours (including stops)... for an average of 9.6 mph. Using the MapMyRide website to follow my course (see above map), it measured the elevation gain at 1,949 feet. Again... that ain't too bad.
The question looms; am I prepared for a ride with the boys? Find out on my next post...
Post a Comment

Ads Inside Post