|Photo Credit: John Wilson|
|The view up toward Hollybush...|
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...