The night before a trip is always an odd one. Most of the time it’s excitement, looking forward to to getting out and sleeping under the stars, other times a laziness falls upon me and I don’t feel like setting up my bike. This time I blamed the weather, thunder storm alerts were popping up on my news feed, so I opted not too pack and moaned on-line! After some motivational chats and a better weather forecast, I set about preparing my bike.
Fast forward 24 hours and I’m sitting on a train to Bodorgan, Anglesey. The journey was pleasant enough, the drunks keeping themselves to themselves and the views from the carriage were stunning. I left the train at 8 pm to be greeted with a stunning sunset. Hardly a cloud in the sky, it was going to be a cold night.
I cycled for about 20 minutes and was heading to Newborough Forest. Its a stunning forest on the south west coast of the island. I passed by the now closed chip shop (I swear I could smell the chips though!) and had to do a u-turn when I cycled past a pub. It was typical of a small village, the pub was an extension to someone’s house and being a Saturday night, everyone was suited and booted, so in no way did I stand out in lycra and hi-viz!
The locals were certainly friendly and I had a good chat to one couple for about half an hour. I made my excuses after a pint and headed off into the night to find a camping spot within the forest (the couple were kind enough to tell me that a human foot had been found nearby less than a week ago – there goes my sleep!).
I had a sleepless night, the owls were screeching during the night. I was awake by 3.45 am and after lying there for an hour, I decided it was better to cycle in the dark then waste anymore time. By 6 am, I was leaving the island and heading into the main land, where I stopped at a petrol station for a coffee and a muffin.
By 7 am, the sun was up. I was now heading along the cycle path following the coastal road in North Wales. Not a sole was out! The wind was picking up and sadly for me, I was going to have a head wind all the way home (the prevailing wind is normally the opposite direction!).
Following route NCN 5 took me past all the old seaside resorts. Last time I ventured this way, the waves were crashing over the sea defences and this time, I had to compete with a strong headwind and I lost.
If you have the opportunity and you like history, Conwy is well worth a visit. The castle is largely intact, it has Britain’s smallest house and a beautiful harbour to walk around. I’ve been assured that there is a good pub or two too, but it was too early on a Sunday morning to see for myself.
I went south of Llandudno and avoided the climb around Great Orme and then I was on the final stretch of the coastal path heading to Prestatyn. I stopped for a coffee in Rhyl and had a lovely chat with a lady about life, bikes and obviously the weather! From Prestatyn, I went inland and followed NCN 5 over the Halkwyn hills, a nasty sting at the end of my ride, back to my home.
The ride was about 90 miles, 5 or so of those miles were completed in Saturday night after work and the remaining on Sunday (when most of you were either in bed or coming home from a night out!).
The coastal road is well worth doing, but pick a day where the wind is blowing behind you! The train network is pretty good and a lot of cyclists with get the train in one direction.