Adventure

Cycling Day 24: Llanidloes To Llanstephan (Near Glasbury)

Today was a pretty ride that never reached yesterday’s level of ‘spectacular’ although the Wye Valley is a very appealing place through which to cycle. And for most of the day, that is where I was.

The route profile in the Cicerone guide was spot on; there’s no reason why it wouldn’t be. I am, after all, following every twist and turn of route 8, the Lon Las Cymru. A shortish climb at the start of the day to move over from the valley of the Severn to that of the Wye, followed by a predominantly downward cycle thereafter, punctuated with lots of ups and downs. I found it far more energy sapping than I did yesterday’s long hauls up two significant climbs. Perhaps it’s a physical thing but perhaps it’s also (mainly?) a mental one. You can psyche yourself up for a big climb. For lots of little ones that mental process simply doesn’t happen but you still have to put in the effort, albeit interrupted by lots of short downhills. There’s also a great sense of achievement with long climbs that you never get with a series of short ones. Give me a big one any day!

Some photos…

That off-road section mentioned in the signpost was fine with a sturdy bike like the Koga WorldTraveller (although I did push on the uphill gravel section at the start). Thin road tyres would have struggled although I’m sure the many bike packers I passed heading north would manage just fine. In fact, it’s what their bikes are made for. The biggest issue I had were with a couple of sheep who were increasingly distressed at not finding a means of escape as I approached them. I did think they might resort to charging me (if ‘flight’ doesn’t work, it’s next on the list) but thankfully for all concerned they did eventually manage to scramble up a steep hill.

Upon arrival at the town of Builth Wells I was knackered so found a café and ordered a cheese and ham sandwich. It also contained secret rocket fuel (perhaps in the margarine?) as when I left the town about 30 minutes after arriving I did so with substantially increased stamina. The final 16 km to the campsite were a joy, along a quiet road beside the Wye but again, not without ups and downs. Yet somehow that sandwiched had done the trick…

The campsite is a micro one. Just a couple of pitches next to a small stone building called the River Cabin which is rented out to holidaymakers. There is one extended family of around 15 people in there tonight or rather, in the building, two camper vans and two tents close to mine. They are a friendly bunch from Birmingham who normally make their annual visit here in May to attend events at the Hay-on-Wye festival just down the road. With the festival cancelled they decided to come anyway, just a little later in the year in August. Perhaps I should mention that I’m a published author, give a talk and sell some books. Damn! That’s what I forget to pack…

Tomorrow, capital number 3… Cardiff.

Update: I’ve just been invited to join the Brummie book lovers round their campfire. Can anyone get here with a stack of my books before nightfall?

Categories: Adventure, Cycling, Travel

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3 replies »

  1. Nice route but I wouldn’t fancy the climb South-East out of Machynlleth. I went down that some years ago and I remember thinking “Damn good thing I’m going the other way”.

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