Wednesday, 25 July 2012


I found myself riding with Alastair and Corey for 16 miles after leaving Builth Wells.  They were on route from St David's to Lowestoft.

We parted company at Glasbury near Hay-on-Wye.  Their next destination was Worcester.  Mine was a climb up into the Black Mountains of approx 400m, part of the Brecon Beacons National Park.  It started with a steep climb up the lower slopes but once into the higher slopes the road zig-zagged up to the Gospel Pass making cycling easier.  The views looking back where I had come from were majestic.

The River Wye had meandered east.  My next town was Abergavenny where I would meet my next river, the Usk.  It was a very long gradual downhill slope.  Open moorland with huge numbers of sheep changed to woodland with a fast flowing river tumbling down the slopes beside me.  The countryside gradually opened up.  I passed the ancient ruins of Llanthony Priory and into the Vale of Ewyas.

I had expected it to be an easy ride south from Abergavenny but there were several climbs on the next stage through the town of Usk to Chepstow.  About 3 miles from Chepstow, stunning views across the mouth of the River Severn were my reward.  Set in this vista was the recently built second Severn Bridge.  It was easy to see how superb this engineering achievement was from where I was standing.  I pedalled into Chepstow and over the old Severn Bridge into Bristol.

Journey's end was at Yatton just south of Bristol.  I had covered 351 miles on this journey since leaving Stafford.  My Trek X1 bike as ever was completely reliable.  This is unlike my car which is hugely expensive and regularly breaks down!  I could not trust it to take me across Wales.

It was refreshing to see how many people were out on their bikes on this ride.  Many were like me on long distance journeys.  One couple were on a 13 week journey around the UK and into France.  The ride I followed south from Trawsfynydd was on Lon Las Cymru, who many argue is the most challenging route on the National Cycle Network.

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