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.

January 30, 2013

Now for something totally new...

UPDATE: After working with the RideWithGPS widget, I've decided to disband using it on the home page as a fixed sidebar element. I like showing the last seven days, 30 days, and yearly totals with links to each ride map, BUT... it's far to slow to load if I want to include photos in the blog text. Which I know all of you want to see and read!

Look for the widget in the Maps section... I'm still fiddling with it because it's so doggone powerful. Cheers, cm


This is precisely the kinda thing that makes RideWithGPS ROCK! They've just added a widget to embed in me blog! This is going to make me reconsider the entire layout and structure of my site. Those folks are simply brilliant. I love it!

January 07, 2013

Three Quick Rides; 114 Miles

2013 has started off like a race-horse. I've joined several Google+ communities and the challenge is on to ride 500 miles in January. I'm also adding to that by trying to ride 15 days this month.

Meanwhile, I've made the commitment to use RideWithGPS as my main mapping software. I'm working completely in the cloud now... nothing is on a hard drive. Photos automatically upload from my Samsung Galaxy phone/camera to a Picasa Web album. Obviously, this diatribe is in Blogger while my charts are from Google+. Blah, blah, blah...

Oakdale to Aberdare Loop
Date: Wednesday, 02 January, 2013
Gear: Dawes Ultra Galaxy
Distance: 43.2 miles
Elevation: + 2822 / - 2813 ft

This was my second ride with the Abercynon Cycle Club. It's group of about 16 riders that meet on Wednesday & Sunday mornings who cycle Sustrans and other trails in the area. You can read more about this crazy group on their crazy Facebook page here.

Well suited for rain... but did not plan the alternating colors & layout.
(photo by: Will Rossouw)

I started off at nine in the rain - down the mountain to Abercynon where I met the group at 10:30. We then left up NCN Route 478 to Aberdare. After about 8 miles we cycled through town, had some lunch, pedaled around Aberdare Parc, then onto Dare Valley Cycle Route  (a new find for me!), and then at Parc Aberman we hopped back onto a small(?) road and toodled back to Abercynon. Eazy peazy.

Despite our rain gear, we were quite fortunate to have nothing more than some fine mist just after lunch. And speaking of which; the community center in Aberdare where we had lunch was certainly unique. It consisted of a beautiful old village community building with a small kitchen, combined with a used book store, a recycled clothing store, a discarded/worn out & broken toy store, PLUS a tee-shirt making facility - all nestled together in a big sitting room with several old sofas and an assortment of tables and chairs. As my mother would have described it; "it was deluxe hodgepodge".

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So it was a leisurely day - a good ride to start off the new year. It was great to see everyone again, (can we go a little farther next time?) See ya next week gang!

Lighthouse Road Loop
Date: Friday, 04 January, 2013
Gear: Dawes Ultra Galaxy
Distance: 58.3 miles
Elevation: + 2933 / - 2935 ft

The start of the day down by 14 Locks looked promising...

The weather forecast had been for a sunny, but cold and windy day. I was excited to get on my bike again because I have been wanting to chart a new route between Newport and Cardiff. I have tried several different ways, gotten lost, turned around... and not knowing where I've been or where I am until hours later and I stumble home.

However Newport looked a little ominous...

But this man and the birds didn't seem too worried...

As it turned out he bridge over the train line just outside Newport was closed for construction! However,  when I turned around to head back, just by chance... I noticed a small round marker on a post that read "Coastal Cycle Trail". Whoohoo!

Ultra Galaxy can handle this!...

Still doesn't look too bad, eh?

But then... it did get worse. It was so bad that I didn't dare to even try to put my foot down much less stop until I got out to the lighthouse.

It is well worth the effort to get to the lighthouse.

No longer in operation... now it's a friggin' private residence!

Uh oh! That ain't sunshine coming out.

I quickly turned and headed south to Cardiff. This beach would not be a good place to be during a storm...

A rather bleak ride ahead...

So that was it for photos of the day. I've been using my Samsung Galaxy IIs for photography, GPS mapping, as well as a telephone. It's not an ideal method for the battery will not last longer than 3 hours.

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Not a soul in sight.

Yup... that is a campsite.

I struggled through to the main road and found my way into Cardiff. It wasn't the route I was hoping to discover, but it was a dramatic ride.

Oakdale to Hollybush Loop
Date: Saturday, 05 January, 2013
Gear: Dawes Ultra Galaxy
Distance: 13.1 miles
Elevation: + 1004 / - 1005 ft

This is a wonderful little path up NCN Route 467. It's completely traffic-free for 3.5 miles once you enter the path at The Rock. Then it's a quiet ride along the western edge of the Sirhowy Valley and follows the old railway line to the passenger station in Hollybush. It's also the closest NCN route our home.

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By the way... my lovely wife and I rode this route. Our first ride together this year. Way to go baby!

To view the details of how I'm progressing this month click here.