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 24, 2019

VOLUME 03 ISSUE 02 
Back On It


It's been a slow start for the year, which is just fine. I've got a relaxed attitude. My goals will be much more modest. I just want to make this year about going places, seeing new things, and writing.

 
Oh the places I want to go...


Time to Ride!
I came across this mural whilst cycling through Cardiff last month and it seemed perfect. Last year was all about distances. This year, I want to emphasize places.

I'm starting off with three short features; Llangattack & Abergavenny is one of those rides that turned into something much more special than expected. Whilst Morlais Castle Explore was an adventure of wonder and mystery. Magor & Seawall Explore was just a simple ride of pure joy.

Next, I've got a gallery of bike shots from 2018 which deserves a little recognition and lastly, I'm reposting my 2019 goals to emphasise the change in direction I wish to make toward cycling this year.


I hope you enjoy this new issue and as always - thanks for stopping by.

Seeya down the road. Cheers! - cm

Llangattack & Abergavenny


MY RIDES - It can be easy to get lost in one's thoughts, but with so much to see, I had to stop often. And when the weather changed for the better, I had to go with the flow and let the road take control. Read more...

Morlais Castle Explore


MY RIDES - This mysterious place had been on my bucket list for a few years and I finally made my way there. I also documented the entire route - which surprisingly happens to be mostly traffic-free! Read more...

Magor & Seawall Explore


MY RIDES - Nothing feels better than getting out on your bike on a warm Spring day after a cold wet winter. I spent the day cycling around the Gwent Levels; exploring Magor and Redwick, and discovering new places. Read more...

2018 Glamour Shots


GEAR - I always feel rather self-indugent taking photos of my bike. But, I must admit that I do it quite often. It's not always planned, sometimes I just turn back and see her sitting there and well... I just gotta take a snap. Check out my favourites from last year; See more...


Grwyne Fawr Bothy, photo credit: Outdoor Monkey
2019 Goals


MY RIDES - I've changed my goals for 2019. I'm going for something more meaningful - "Smiles not miles". You may recall that I posted this in the previous issue as part of my Year in Review, but I want to emphisize these issues and focus. Check out my: 2019 Goals.

On the Web

Snow on the fans, photo credit: Dominique Northeast
Rough Stuff Fellowship
John Wilson turned me onto this group. He's been involved with them for nearly 50 years. I'll be going to their Easter Meet this year, so stay tuned for a report back. It's sure to provide some interesting reading. Meanwhile check out their incredible website, especially the photo archive. Stunning!

Visit website feature: Chaising Rainbows


photo credit: Mike Hayes / seasurfdirt.com
Wayfarer Centenary Ride
Mike Hayes is at it again. He's a wiley-wabbit; on-the-go and in-the-know, so it's not surprising that he went to this event. Check out his damn impressive photos and write up. I hate him deeply.

Be sure to read more about one of the pioneers of the Rough Stuff Fellowship; "Wayfarer" and what the centenary is all about.

Out From the Archive

Llangynidr & the Vale of Usk
2016 - It was a big year for my cycling. Along with cycling 3,025 miles for Parkinson's UK during March and April, I followed up in May with another 1,000 miles just for fun! Take a look at one of my early "classic" rides. This route has since become one of my yearly favourites.

Sexy Bike Alert!

Pashely Morgan 8
Keeping with the Rough Stuff Fellowship theme, I ran across this bike whilst pottering about the web, as ya do. And I think this girl would be PERFECT for a little off-road excursion. Plus, she just might be fine on those wonderful quite lanes of Wales as well. It's a lovely bike and currently at the top of my dream list. Take a look and tell me what you think!


February 03, 2019

VOLUME 03 ISSUE 01 
Beginning Again


It's the middle of January. It's cold and wet and miserable outside - typical Welsh weather. As I sit inside working on this blog, I pause to gaze across our rainy back garden and think; come on sunshine! I'm ready to ride.

 
A new day for a new year...


Hello 2019!
Many people don't care for January. The days are shorter and it seems dark all the time; generally a downer after the excitement of the holiday season. In addition to the seasonal drama, I've been battling the flu for the past three weeks, so I'm just fed up with all this nonsense. Come on sunshine.

Looking back over the long hot summer of 2018; I couldn't have asked for better weather. Record heat along with below average rainfall made for spectacular cycling here in Wales. Additionally, the fall turned out to be warm and dry and full of colour.

I'm starting this year's first issue with a quick look back at four little rides that should have been in my Novemeber issue of 2018. If you noticed; I didn't write a November issue, so here we have it!

I've taken a harsh critique in my Year in Review section and come away with some positive ideas for 2019. Hopefully, I will use these lessons to model my future adventures for that perfect ride again.

I hope you enjoy this new issue and as always - thanks for stopping by.

Seeya down the road. Cheers! - cm

Monmouth & Chepstow Fall Classic


MY RIDES - During 2018 this ride became my "got-to" route for cycling 100 miles. I enjoy it so much that I cycled it 10 times during the year. However, my last ride from late October was truely special. Check out my: Monmouth and Chepstow Fall Classic.

Llangattock Escarpment & Fall Colours


MY RIDES - Here's another ride that fell into my newest favorite route group. Again, I was lucky to have cycled this on such a gorgeous day.

Carradoc's Bridge & Valley Ride


MY RIDES - Sometimes ya just gotta go with the flow. Check out this report from when I ran into a a group of fellas who invited me to join them for a ride over Bedlinog Commons. Read; Carradoc's Bridge & Valley Ride

Magor & Wentwood Rewind


MY RIDES - Sometimes a day out on your bike just surprises you. We didn't really know where were going, but much to our delite, this short, but sweet ride turned into one of the year's best. Check out my report; Magor & Wentowood Rewind.

Year in Review
A look back at the achievements, the missed goals, and my thoughts on a spectacular year of cycling in Wales.

2018 Achievements
What I did. A bunch of numbers on a page without any stories or photographs, which ironically represents the core focus of my riding last year.

2018 Afterthoughts
What I think about it. Bigger numbers on a different page followed by reflection and well deserved self-recrimination. Essentially, a cold slap in the face.

2018 RIDE OF THE YEAR - Ogmore-by-the-Sea Odyssey
If there is a perfect ride; this is it. I set off early. I took my time. I explored new areas. I shot loads of photos and I had a great time. What more could anyone ask? Originally posted to Ride with GPS, check out my ride of the year; Ogmore-by-the-Sea Odyssey. Plus I've now added a seperate gallery just for Ogmore Castle. I want more of this for 2019.

2019 Goals
What I want to do. By focusing on what I find to be the most important aspects of cycling and using that to kick start 2019. I was naive in my thinking last year. We'll see if I've learned.
On the Web

Cycling About
YouTube: I fell off a cliff - Yup, he's been in two issues in row now, but Alex continues to surprise me with his adventures. This story is amazing. The video is captivating. This is precisely why he's one of a kind and why I admire him. Sit back and enjoy.

Mike's Imagination
WEBSITE: Big Fat Dummy Fenders - Not only a great photographer and writer, Mike shows us that he's also a very talented wood worker. His latest creation transforms an already awesome fat bike into a beach classic of which cyclists and surfers around the world would dream.

Out From the Archive

The Winding House
MY RIDES / 2017: At one time I had a section in my blog designated just for events. Now that I've stopped organising group rides that section is no longer relevant. However, I thought it worthwhile to re-post this group ride because it was a great one.

Barry Island II
GALLERY / 2017: I made a couple of trips to Barry Island last year. It's quite a unique ride heading out through Cardiff and Penarth. For some unknown reason I didn't write a report for the ride, but I did get a few photos worth noting, so I built a little gallery. I hope you enjoy.

Sexy Bike Alert!

2019 Steel Roundup
There is absolutely no need for this article. I wrote it just because I wanted to. I look at bikes all the time and watch how they are evolving. I ask myself; "what would I buy today, if I were in the market?" These 24 bikes are where I'd start. Take a look and tell me what you think.


October 06, 2018

VOLUME 02 ISSUE 09 
Quality of the Light


Autumn is here in all her dying glory. Wales of course, is draped in rain, but not without colour. Join me as I look back at some of my memorable rides from late summer and autumn of 2018.

 
Like Conrad's Heart of Darkness, set in Wales...


Distracted by procrastination...

Once again I am sat inside, avoiding the rain, wracking my head and heart to justify not riding. I should be out. What's a little rain, eh? However, I am looking at photos and scribbling little bits of diatribe. it's a perfect day for working on my blog.

I've put together four new features from my late summer and autumn adventures for you to check out. Plus, I've thrown in a new gallery of images to look over. I've even included a couple of older stories I dug out from underneath the bike shed.

To keep you well-informed and balance my biased opnions, I've got a couple of links to two of my favourite blogs. And of course, I've tossed in another sexy bike for you to gaze upon. I hope you enjoy this late issue and as always - thanks for stopping by.

Seeya down the road. Cheers! - cm

NCN Route 47 & Resolven Epic


MY RIDES - This one is for the record book. Not the longest, not the hardest, but simply one of the most interesting rides I've made. It's a long read, but I hope you will enjoy it: NCN Route 47 & Resolven Epic.

Hirwaun & Brecon Loop


MY RIDES - Some folks stay inside on a rainy days, but I just had the notion to get out on my bike regardless of the weather. Check out my ride becasue as it turned out, the weather made the ride that much better! Hirwaun & Brecon Loop

Castell Nos & Aberdare


MY RIDES - It was a dark and gloomy day as I made my way up the Rhondda Fach to Maerdy. Fortunately, the rain held off and I had a lovely and quiet ride through the valleys: Castell Nos & Aberdare.

Gospel Pass Epic pt.2


MY RIDES - The excitement builds and the stunning vistas unfold as I finally climb the legendary Gospel Pass in Part 2. So sit back and let me show you the way in the second installment from my epic ride: Gospel Pass Epic pt.2.

Usk Castle


GALLERY - The weather was looking dire once we reached Usk, so instead of cycling further on, John and I decided to play it safe and wander through the castle. Join us as we explore the terribly interesting and ecclectic Usk Castle.

In the News

Cycling About
Eurobike 2018 Coverage: Bicycle Touring, Bikepacking and Adventure Gallery - Alex is at his best once again. Here's the link to his excellent roundup of the Eurobike 2018 show. If you haven't visited his site, get a move on! This guy knows his stuff.

Pannier
Pannier Journal - Here's another one of the sites I visit regularly. It seems that everyone is getting on board with writing ride journals and this is one of the best. Grab a cup of joe, sit back, and enjoy a long read.

Out From the Archive

Llangynidr Commons & Sugarloaf Classic
MY RIDES / 2017: Somehow I missed posting this ride last year, but I've got it now, so all is good. I'm quite proud of this one... it's a tough one, but full of wonderful Welsh scenery from the heart of the Brecon Beacons and the Vale of Usk.

Carreg Tegernacus
MY RIDES / 2013: I found this route on just a whim. When I set out on the morning I hadn't planned on riding up the high ridge above New Tredegar and Fochriw, but as it turned out, what I discovered once on top was nothing shy of cool.

Sexy Bike Alert!

Co-Motion Americano
Perhaps the premier touring bike manufacturer in the US, Co-motion is well-known for their high-end spec. For 2019 they've raised the bar even further. Yes, they're pricey, but with the options of either a Rohloff or a Pinion gear system, these bikes are worth checking out.