Introduction

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.

May 23, 2020

VOLUME 04 ISSUE 03 
The Lockdown Continues


It's been two months since the lockdown began on March 23rd and the future of cycle touring is looking bleak.
Enjoy the weather... in your back garden!
The weather has been simply stunning for the past month; warm and sunny most every day. It's been great to get out and cycle so often after being trapped inside due to the cold and rain for most of December, January, and February.

But now due to the Covid-19 lockdown, my distances have been resticted to roughly 20 to 30 miles on average as I continue to stay within a 10 mile radius of home. (Read the restrictions.)

This limit has made producing content rather challenging. However, I've been forced to explore my local area much more closely and it's been rewarding to discover some new areas and routes nearby.

Stay Safe!... and as always, thanks for stopping by.

Seeya down the road! - cm

Features
MY RIDES - I've been staying close to home, but this doesn't mean that my cycling has gotten dull. I've developed an interesting little route that provides both challenging climbs and some lovely views.
Read more...
MY RIDES - Take a look at some of the images I captured as I wandered around our village. I also tootled around our neighbours - staying within the 10-mile lockdown limit.
Read more...
MY RIDES - Originally posted on the Ride with GPS website, I finally got around to adding it to my blog. Surprisng too, because this is one of my all-time favourite rides.
Read more...

DEPARTMENTS
Gallery - I visited Abergavenny Castle last year to take photos for my Gallery section, which oddly enough; I never published? Take a look at some of the shots and tell me what you think. Cheers! View...


Charts - As my miles began to accumulate, it's worthwhile to compare how I'm performing over the previous year. Check out how I'm doing in my updated chart for 2020. View...


CHARTS - This year my cycling stable has grown to inlcude three bikes. Now I need to specify which bike I ride for each adventure. Here's how I've started. View...

Out From the Archive
2016 - Back in 2016 I explored the valleys west of where I normally ride. It was a great couple of days and I'm thinking of going back this summer, if the lockdown ever eases? Meanwhile, check out the first ride of my two day event exploring the Rhondda Valleys. Read more...

IN PRINT
Books - I just picked up this book having stumbled across the author's other titles on cycling in England. Of course, this stikes a chord with me in particular due to this blog and my attempt at much of what this fella has already achieved. It will be an interesting read and I'll get back with a review later. Read more...

Sexy Bike Alert!
It's getting harder to find traditional steel frame bikes using rim brakes. I stumbled across this beauty earlier this year. I sure hope they keep making frames like this. Take a look and let me know what you think. Check it out.


April 21, 2020

VOLUME 04 ISSUE 02 
Lockdown!


2020 is proving to be a difficult year. Just as I was starting to make some progress on my riding in March, the UK government, in response to the Covid-19 pandemic, put the nation into a "stay-at-home" lockdown.
Time to Stay at Home...
Certainly not what I desire, but a completely understandable approach to addressing the pandemic. And most importantly, it seems to be working.

Last year I had the flu twice and both times it was surprisingly intense. I've never experienced flu symptoms so severly. Is is my age? Was it a particular strain of virus? (Probably, a bit of both.) I have no clear idea, but I was knocked out for a month each time. And to be perfectly honest, I don't want to catch anything like the Corona virus.

I still have a lingering cough which I attribute to hayfever (another ailment I had not experienced until moving to the UK). So I feel a bit vulnerable and despite my wife's insistance that I'm not being safe - I am doing my best. I am keeping a safe distance from everyone and not really going out - except to ride!

Stay Safe!... and as always, thanks for stopping by.

Seeya down the road! - cm

Features
Before the lockdown began, I was was starting to log some decent rides. The weather had suddenly turned for the better, I felt confident in my health, my physical strength, and my mileage was slowly picking up. Plus!, I had finally put new wheels on my Dawes.

I've outlined a few of my longer rides from March below. I've remodeled my charts section and I've even got a new feature in my Gear section you might find of particular interest. I hope you enjoy this issue.
MY RIDES - This is one of those rides I wish every cyclist in Wales could make. I've ridden the route at least 20 times and it never ceases to amaze me. It's a Welsh classic.
Read more...
MY RIDES - It's a modest ride, but one which showcases the heart of the Vale of Usk. As I worked to increase my mileage, I've been focusing on my favourite rides.
Read more...
MY RIDES - I'm very fortunate to have several hills nearby that provide wide open views into the surrounding valleys. The trick is that it's quite a climb to reach the top!
Read more...

DEPARTMENTS
Charts - Yeah, I'm crazy about crunching numbers and I've been busy playing about in Google Sheets. Check out some of my snazzy graphics along with some modest figures in my Charts section.
Gear - I would have never thought 40 years ago that I would be writing about my Trek, but here I am and I cannot emphisize enough how excited I am to have her back on the road.

On the Web
YouTube: I've had Alee on here before. He's one of my favourites to follow. Now he's gone on an adventure with a friend and produced a charming little video.
YouTube: I ran across these fellas in the video and dig their approach. They're a small start-up with some great connections. Also, if you read my blog, you'll recognise Path Less Pedaled. Always a big fan of his work.

Sexy Bike Alert!
Probably the bike I'd buy if I were in the market. Certainly a couple of questionable parts (hydraulic brakes!)... but otherwise, for an off-the-peg bike, this one is outstanding. Tell me what you think... Check it out!


March 01, 2020

VOLUME 04 ISSUE 01 
Quiet Modesty


It's simple really; I just need to ride and write about what is important to me. Hopefully, I'll be out on the bike again soon!

Turner's Sunset on the River, 1805


I've been wrestling with what to post for the new year. 2019 turned out to be a difficult period for both my cycling and my health... I was terribly ill with the flu for all of January and the better part of February. Then at the end of May, I was hit by a car. I was brusied and battered (see: Dislocated Finger Event) and it took several months for me heal. Frustratingly, this too was followed by the onset of yet another month long bout with the flu in October.

2019 Achievements
My distances and the overall number of rides I made can attest to these difficulties I experienced in 2019. (Plus, look at the number of posts I made to this blog!) However, during this time something else began to float about in my thinking which stalled much of my efforts to write; I simply lost my motivation.
To see the extent of my poor efforts take a look at this write up I made on my 2019 Year in Review. But to get the full impact of how my cycling fell off for the year, you can see the differences in these charts: 2019 vs. 2018.
While laid up in my sickbed, I spent an enormous amount of time looking at videos and reading blogs by other cyclists. It all became a bit overwhelming and discouraging to an extent. I don't like the boasting and bravado from much of the online cycling community. I find them rather "preachy" mixed with a hefty dose of "look at me".

I've been struggling with how to express these feelings when I read this article: Turner and the Thames. It's not a terribly interesting article... some light artsy fluff good for a Sunday morning breeze, but at the conclusion of his piece, Will Gompertz adds; "... there's a lot to be said for quiet modesty in this overwrought, over-excited century."

And that simple statement struck a chord with me. I will carry the thought of "quiet modesty" as I move into 2020. Thank you Mr. Gompertz.
IN PRINT
Books - I've always been a big fan of David Byrne and the Talking Heads, so I was really excited when my wife bought me this book for Christmas. I'm just getting into it, but so far - it's a great read. David has a unique approach to cycling and especially interesting reason for writing about cycling. I highly recommend.
Books - I ran across this title from the Dawes Heritage Facebook group and I've only read bits and pieces, but it seems like an addicting read. I'm pretty excited about it, actually. I suspect this one will be great!

And that's all for now. I'll head back to bed, it's time to read.

Cheers! - cm