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.

August 24, 2014

Rhymney Meadows

As Fall approaches on this chilly August morning, I cannot help but reflect back over the wonderful Spring and Summer we've had this year.

August 20, 2014

St. Michael's Surprise

As usual, the Tuesday ride with the Kingfishers began with the question all around; "where do you guys wanna go?" As usual, we all shrugged our shoulders and collectively said; "I dunno... where do you wanna go?". Thankfully, Clever John had notions of visiting yet another church of historical significance north of Raglan.

So out came the map and loads of scouring, pecking, and finger pointing. And then after a bit of wild gesticulating, we decided upon a route of which we were vaguely familiar. We counted lefts and we counted rights, and then we four set off. Four wobbly old men, rambling out of Usk, on a crusade to find St. Michael's Church in the village of (can you say this?) Llanvihangel-Ystern Llewern.

Okay... so the doors were locked and there wasn't much of a story once we reached the village. What was the significance of this little church, John? I dunno. I guess I'll have to look this one up later. But when I looked closer at the map I saw a strange dotted line moving along just below where we were standing.

Wait... what? I've heard of this. And it's where? Holy cow! It's right here!... just behind the church!

Yup... its a ditch. But not any ditch... it's a very old ditch... It's Offa's Dike, no less.

And that's what I love about cycling with these crazy old men in Wales. We always stumble across some sort of wonderful history. 

You can just barely see the ditch in this photo...
it's the dark horizontal line running just beneath the trees.

Just look at the sky. We had one short rain shower where we huddled together under a bus shelter for about 45 minutes (should have a taken a photo!!!) and then voila... more beautiful blue sky.

A fabulous day.

August 18, 2014

Gelligaer Adventure

At the time of our decision to climb up to Gelligaer Common I was concerned that it would be too much for some in the Green Ladies group, but after a brief discussion they all seemed enthusiastic and wanted to give it a go.

So off we went. And it does have some hills to climb, most notably riding up through the Fochriw Moors.

Looking back toward Fochriw.

In one short mile as you climb across the moors and up along the mountain side everything changes in scale. The view down Darren Valley is stunning.

The road across the moors.

Once up on Gelligroes Common you have views into both Darren and Taf Bargoed Valleys. Traffic is generally non-existent with one or two cars at most, but for some reason on this day it was surprisingly busy. We even saw an Asda "Free Bus". URGH!!!

Heading across the ridge.

But the real fun came just a few minutes after reaching the top. And it came on quick and hard. Before we could get our jackets on it was thundering with SLEET. I kid you not. It started sleeting. (profanities flew as fast as the wind whipped...) I snapped this one quick photo and that was it for the day.

Get yer jackets on!!!

We cut the trip short by not heading down into Parc Taf Bargoed and over to Hengoed. Instead, we shot straight across the ridge (raining!, raining!, raining!), through the wooded farms and down into Gelligaer. Then a fast cruise down the rather steep and busy B4254 to the Pengam Train Station.

ROUTE COLOUR KEY:  Traffic-free  Shared Use  Quiet Road  Steep Hill

And that was it for the day! Whew! Super-intense, dramatic, gorgeous, and very, very wet. See ya soon Green Ladies.

August 15, 2014

Second Saturday - August 2014

We had fabulous weather, a beautiful day... and a wonderful ride. It was simply one of those rides where ya just keep on it... "wanna stop and take a break?... no, no... let's keep going!" There is so much to see and such changes... it really is one of those rides where ya get it all.

Ya gotta love Wales. I could take photos, but I have already. This was about the ride. The Ride.

Here's the route. It's one of the best and we'll do it again soon.