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.

February 10, 2010

Day 06 - Three Cliffs to Mumbles

Saturday; August 29, 2009 - GOOD MORNING WALES!

... an attempt at a wide angle merge thingy 'cuz it's so darn purdy.

... and one more parting shot from Three Cliffs.

I've a short ride of about 10 miles today back into Mumbles where I'll be meeting Melanie for the weekend. I'll be riding much as I came yesterday along the coast of The Gower. But it's beyond my words to describe the area here... the best I can offer are merely photos.

Okay kids... it's Saturday and I had an easy ride into Mumbles. It's an adorable seaside town with a unique name, eh? (look it up!) The sun is out and I feel great. The trip has been fantastic so far. A little rain, yes... but the scenery has been well worth it. 

I'll be hanging out for the next couple of days wandering about again with Melanie. I plan to get back on the road Tuesday.

Note to Cartographer: Daily Mileage = 10.11 Total Mileage = 132.57

February 08, 2010

Day 05 - South Cornelly to Three Cliffs

Friday; August 28, 2009 - If you took notice of my previous day and night you can appreciate the sheer beauty I found this morning.

The wind was ripping the clouds through the sky and the sun was blaring down as best it could. I climbed out of my tent naked, grinning like an idiot. I dragged everything I had out into the warm open sun and stood smiling at the glorious morning before me. Holding my arms outstretched, I hollered at the Welsh countryside... "DRY ME!!!"

Little did I foresee at the time that my previous day had in fact forewarned the theme for Day Five of my Welsh adventure. After my path lead me across this stream, I realised what was to be the major character for the remainder of my trip.

... then I made it to the coast.

... and then I made it to Three Cliffs.

I was warned, but not prepared for Three Cliffs. These shots are from the campground... the view from my tent.

Today's ride was mostly flat along the coast and I took my time. I used my camera as much as I wanted. I sat in cafes. I ate lunch along the beach. I didn't care how long I took, I didn't care where I was going... I just wanted to ride and look at the world as it fell in front of me.

Note to Cartographer: Daily Mileage = 33.18 Total Mileage = 122.46

February 05, 2010

Day 04 - Cardiff to South Cornelly

Thursday; August 27, 2009 - I started out on a clear and sleepy morning around 10 am and casually backtracked north along the river Taff. Following secluded bike trails through a variety of parks and small communities, I slowly made my way to the town of Pontypridd.

I arrived at Pontypridd around noon and the bike path lead me straight through the downtown shopping district which was closed to motor traffic. It was a busy morning and I had a relaxing lunch sitting on a bench watching the people mill about.

The down time proved to be a good thing because just as soon as I left Pontypridd, my path turned due west and I began to climb some VERY steep hills deep into the desolate country side.

The road at first looked very promising, but it quickly changed.

... and it got very cold and lonely.

... and I was far off in the country.

... and the paved road ended.

... and it began to rain.

... and there was nothing around.

... and it was very windy.

And despite a short break in the clouds as I headed down in the valley, the rain increased substantially. I made it to the campground (farm) outside South Cornelly by 4 pm completely soaked. Everything, every inch of me was absolutely sopping wet. The astonished owner waived the camping fee and guided me out to an open field with a porta-john and bid me farewell.

I set up my tent, spread out all of my wet gear inside, crawled into a wet sleeping bag, and fired up my stove under the fly as it thundered and poured rain outside. High praise again for the Triangia stove. It works wonderfully under a well vented fly. I cooked and ate all the soup I had (4 packs). In fact, I ate everything but 2 packets of oatmeal and one cookie bar for breakfast. I made coffee. I drank tea. I sat in my cold wet tent and tried to dry off as best I could for nearly five hours until I passed out.

(Note: see sidebar A Night to Remember)

Note to Cartographer: Daily Mileage = 38.82 Total Mileage = 89.28

February 03, 2010

Day 03 - Cardiff

Wednesday; August 26, 2009 - I decided to take day three off. Melanie met me in Cardiff and we wandered about the castle and shops of downtown.

The city of Cardiff combines old world medieval character with youthful and modern enthusiasm. Covered arcades with shops of every imaginable variety surround the 800 year old castle in the heart of town. It would be undeserving to attempt to document all that can be seen in this charming capital, so I've included some links below for further reference. I'll be back with more of my trip once I get back on the road.

Links to Cardiff:
Cardiff Official Website
Cardiff Castle
Cardiff on Wikipedia
Cardiff via Google Maps

Note to Cartographer: Daily Mileage = n/a Total Mileage = 50.46

February 02, 2010

Day 02 - Newport to Cardiff

Tuesday; August 25, 2009 - Following a night of rain, I had a relaxing breakfast and leisurely start riding along a converted rail line.

This old train signal has been converted into a sculpture/way sign. Check out the crows... at first, I thought they were real.

Could I ask for a better path to ride? This trail lasted for about 5 miles... just meandering alongside a river.

Unfortunately, this shot is a little blurred... but then again, so was I as I headed through this narrow road into Caerphilly.

Riding from Newport to Cardiff is mostly flat or downhill. I had my first accident leaving Caerphilly trying to navigate through one of the metal gates they place to prevent motorcycles from entering the paths. I didn't have a chance to pull my feet loose from the toeclips and I went right over banging my knee quite hard. I'm sure I looked like an idiot and I distinctly remember making a cow-like sound as I went down.

Continuing on sore and humiliated and not long after I left the little village of Tongwynlais,  I was heading down a steep hill when my rear brake cable snapped! Wobbling and racing like a madman through narrow hedgerows, I finally came to a screeching sudden stop in a shrub. (Insert cow sounds.) Again I fell over, but this time on my other knee AND trying to catch myself I placed my hand at such a proper angle, I believe I broke a finger. Are you laughing with me?

Heading into Caerphilly, I came peddling around a curve in the middle of a little housing community and there before me... poking out from a mound in the center of town was Caerphilly Castle.

The tower on the far right is actually leaning more than the tower at Pisa, but unlike Pisa, the folks at Caerphilly Castle have no idea why it's still standing.

I dunno, I didn't figure I'd be riding right alongside castles. Yes that is the bike path.

This was taken from in front of the castle looking back at the town.

Most of my ride so far has been along small paths or converted rail lines that parallel streams or rivers. So long Caerphilly... hello Cardiff.

Unsolicited Product Plug: Triangia Cooking Stove

I used my new stove last night for the first time... a "Triangia". It worked marvelously boiling water in about 4 minutes. I was a little concerned that I hadn't tested it prior to leaving, but it had rave reviews and they were all well founded. (You can view a nice little demo from VideoJug above...) I highly recommend this stove.

Note to Cartographer: Daily Mileage = 26.44 Total Mileage = 50.46

February 01, 2010

Day 01 - Oakdale to Newport

Monday; August 24, 2009 - Not so surprisingly rain welcomed me as I left Oakdale at 10:30 Monday morning in a fairly hard down pour getting me properly soaked within the first 2 miles. The Adventure begins.

My first way-marker at Sirhowy Park is already beginning to make my trip look interesting.

I am soon to learn about pathway entrances, but this will be one of the more attractive I encounter.

Not a bad looking path, eh?

Despite the foreboding introduction, my ride was very easy, mostly downhill without much traffic, and despite numerous wrong turns at a variety of infernal round-a-bout and all-about-all-over-agains, I made it comfortably to Newport by 2:30 that afternoon. It was then but a short hop to the lovely Tredegar House Caravan Club Site... One of the cleanest and most well-provided campgrounds I have ever seen. (View here.) And yes... the sun came out just as I arrived.

Some lovely rolling country just past Risca.

What is with the sky? The clouds seem to be so very close to the ground. And what a farm! Don't need no Cezanne today.

Here's a parting shot from the entrance to Tredegar House Caravan Club Site. Now I'm off to Cardiff.

Note to Cartographer: Daily Mileage = 24.02 Total Mileage = 24.02