Cycling Day 20: Prestatyn To Menai Bridge

“Didn’t we have a lovely time the day we went to Bangor 
A beautiful day, 
We had lunch on the way and all for under a pound you know… “

Fiddler’s Dram / See footnote*

Well the first half of the day – up to Llandudno – was great, but thereafter things went a little Pete Tong, courtesy, of course, of Storm Francis… I’ve never knowingly cycled through a named storm before; there’s a first for everything, just hopefully – in this case – not a second. I spent a few hours last Sunday driving to and from Cotswold Leisure in Preston as I had tracked down a replacement to my old, no-longer-waterproof waterproof jacket (yes, it needed to be said twice). It was time well spent and my new Rab Firewall jacket is highly recommended. Compared to the drenching I received cycling from Edinburgh to Glasgow a few weeks ago, I arrived at today’s destination relatively dry, at least from the waist up.

Scroll back to Prestatyn. This ‘Eat Out to Help Out’ initiative has certainly packed out the restaurants. So much so that last night I had to resort to fish and chips in the street. And it was wonderfully warming. I returned to my Warmshowers’ host – Joe’s – house and spent an enjoyable couple of hours chatting and watching TV, including an episode of Fawlty Towers. Nice company. Here’s Joe this morning just before I left:

Having developed a healthy dollop of scepticism towards Warmshowers in recent years (so many people ignore requests), Joe has relighted my enthusiasm for the concept. It is perhaps worth persisting with even if, at times, it can be a little frustrating. Thank-you Joe.

The plan was a simple one; cycle along National Cycle Route 5 to Anglesey. And that’s what I did. It was spitting a little when I left Prestatyn; nice town by the way, still quite vibrant and certainly not a place that has succumbed to the British curse of multiple empty shops…

…and I was hoping that all the negative talk about an approaching storm was somewhat exaggerated. Indeed the combination of the small amount of rain and sunshine produced some wonderful rainbows;

The cycle track was very loyal to the coast. Just a flirtation with inland before Llandudno that I ignored. I’m glad I did. Llandudno sits in a geographical space not dissimilar to that of Nice in the south of France. Long, curved seafront with a rocky headland at its furthest point…

…just a pity that there’s about 15 degrees of latitude between the two. That said, I’d bet they don’t serve clotted cream like this in Provence:

You can see my finger in the photo, attempting to secure the map. The breeze was beginning to pick up but I put this down to a change of direction of travel rather than any *rolls eyes* approaching storm. By the time I arrived on Conwy, my eyes were rolling a little less although there was still blue sky to be found…

…as well as Britain’s smallest house.

On the subject of superlatives, after only a few more kilometres it was obvious that Britain’s biggest storm of the summer was no hoax.

Route 5 followed the monster that is the A55 quite closely although suitably socially distanced…

…but later indulged in some uber social distancing by climbing into the hills above the coast. It should have been a wonderful pre-Bangor interlude. Alas with the rain lashing down and the wind trying its best to push me back to Prestatyn, it was far from joyous. I endured. I had no choice. When the route rejoined the main roads in the few kilometres before Bangor, the passing drivers must have thought me mad. Perhaps I was.

I cowered in the shopping centre in Bangor pondering my options…

…but Bangor is no Prestatyn or Llandudno. And Fiddler’s Dram’s visit clearly didn’t coincide with a named-storm. Depressing place. Should I book into a hotel? In Bangor? It was the Bangor bit that was more influential in my decision to continue cycling rather than Storm Francis. But even I have my breaking points and today’s came shortly after crossing the Menai Bridge. The gusts had me holding onto Thomas Telford’s engineering in a manner rather more tightly than he would have approved. There were several hotel options when I arrived on Anglesey and within ten Minutes of checking in at the Victoria Hotel, I was defrosting blissfully in the shower.

Tonight’s view, post food…

Footnote, as promised. Copied from Wikipedia:

“The release was shrouded in controversy after reports that the song was actually inspired by a trip to Rhyl, another town in North Wales. It was said that Bangor was chosen as the lyric due to it having an extra syllable that flowed better with the song. There were rumours of an outcry among local councillors and businesses in Rhyl about the missed opportunity for tourism which would have been generated. Cook stated that the song was specifically written about Bangor.”

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