RvR Day 4 Chepstow to Brecon

WhatsApp Image 2020-08-26 at 15.35.55
Dale & Keith at William St., Ynyshir
20200826_RouteDay4
RvR Day 4: Chepstow to Llwyn-On Reservoir, Brecon

Eventually we had a lovely meal in the end last night. We were kept waiting for a table at the hotel for 3/4hour only then to be told they had no food left. The cylist were OK with it though Stubbsy daughter had just done a 12 hr shift at Bath hospital which is far harder than cycling. She was not best pleased. But all’s well that ends well as we found a great Italian restaurant less than 50m away.

WhatsApp Image 2020-08-26 at 10.08.19

WhatsApp Image 2020-08-26 at 10.08.33
Lester and Chris Powell – on the road rendezvous

We woke up to a lovely sunny morning had a bit of breakfast and then hit the road just after 8. It was a bit of a steep climb out of Chepstow as we headed for Newport for a quick meet up with Chris and Lester Powell. It was great seeing them both looking very fit and well. We had a little chat then wished them all well. Chris gave us a big bag of Welsh cakes: Bingo promptly took ownership of them.

WhatsApp Image 2020-08-26 at 10.54.37

WhatsApp Image 2020-08-26 at 10.54.55
Newport Transporter Bridge
WhatsApp Image 2020-08-26 at 13.53.59
Tree down on the cycle trail

WhatsApp Image 2020-08-26 at 13.54.12WhatsApp Image 2020-08-26 at 13.54.28WhatsApp Image 2020-08-26 at 13.54.42We pressed on through Newport and passed the famous transporter bridge – a marvelous feet of engineering. After finally getting out of Newport we headed towards the Rhondda valley and picked up the Sustrans Cycle Route 4 or maybe Route 8 [Ed: or both; 4 goes E/W to Fishguard and 8 goes S/N to Anglesey]. It’s a credit to the Welsh tourist board as it was excellent, fully paved and a joy to ride on.

WhatsApp Image 2020-08-26 at 13.53.02

WhatsApp Image 2020-08-26 at 13.53.09
Tommy Cooper at Caerphilly Castle

Before we knew it we were climbing steadily up the valley, going through Caerphilly where we stopped for a photo shoot of the castle and the statue of Tommy Cooper (I did not know he was Welsh  [Ed: now you do, just like that!]). Then we stopped for lunch at a cafe in Pontypridd. Big Dave is making sure we have a dry lunch – he is a good lad. From there we carried onto Porth and then up the Valley to Ynysir where my Dad was born.

WhatsApp Image 2020-08-26 at 17.23.17

WhatsApp Image 2020-08-26 at 18.11.29
No. 17 William St.,  where Nana and Grandad House lived and where Dad was born

WhatsApp Image 2020-08-26 at 18.10.20

WhatsApp Image 2020-08-26 at 17.23.16(1)
The Oval recreation ground, Ynyshir

We had a few pictures taken along William Street and remembered holidays from the past playing football with Graham on the Oval and wearing a horrible tweed tweed suit that Dad had brought for Keith and I to name a few.  Personally I was really pleased we went up the Ynysir valley. I loved it, but anyway that’s enough of the sentimental stuff  as we had the first of two big climbs in front of us.

We had already started the the climb upto Maerdy. It was our first proper climb and it was good stuff as that’s what we came for.

WhatsApp Image 2020-08-26 at 18.01.00WhatsApp Image 2020-08-26 at 18.10.57WhatsApp Image 2020-08-26 at 18.11.02

WhatsApp Image 2020-08-26 at 18.10.51
Memorobilia at the Aberdare Constitutional Club

All of us were laughing and joking as we rode up to Aberdare, and with big Dave ditching the no beer thing Keith and I went in the Aberdare Constitutional Club. Dave and Andy had a beer outside a coffee shop then joined us. It was just a timing and thirsty thing. The club was full of sporting memorabilia and the host was a great guy as he showed us all the bits and pieces.

Finally we left the club and struggled for a while to get out of the town. Then we hit another climb up to Merthyr Tydfil. On the descent we headed off towards Brecon for a good few miles, and stopped by a small hamlet on the side of a reservior. We tried a few B&Bs here to no avail and finally settled for a wild camp on the banks of the Llwyn-On reservior which is a lovely spo. We managed to put the water through the purifier, so we had coffee, 1/4 egg roll, 1/4 Soren Malt loaf each for dinner tand hen an early night.

WhatsApp Image 2020-08-27 at 09.16.33(1)

WhatsApp Image 2020-08-26 at 20.11.12
Settling down for the night at the Llwyn-On Reservoir, Brecon

All in all it was a great day in the saddle.

Advertisement

RvR Day 2 Godalming to Hungerford

24-08-20_Ronde_van_Rhondda_Day_2WhatsApp Image 2020-08-25 at 07.49.42WhatsApp Image 2020-08-25 at 06.54.56

WhatsApp Image 2020-08-24 at 07.43.07
Last nights camping spot

We were up early like always when camping and chef Dave and Bingo got the the breakfast coffee or chocolate and porridge going.

Off we set just after 7 following the forest trails then was surprised to find the locks on the Wey and Arun Canal. We chatted with a narrow-boat owner who said it was his last trip fas the boat was being sold.

WhatsApp Image 2020-08-25 at 06.54.56(1)
Edward Celibate

We carried on through the winding trails and foot paths meeting interesting people on the way giving us encouragement and directions. We met one bloke called Edward who had allegedly given up sex but carried on cycling. He thoroughly recommended it!

WhatsApp Image 2020-08-25 at 07.50.59WhatsApp Image 2020-08-25 at 07.50.57

WhatsApp Image 2020-08-25 at 07.50.57(2)
Chatting to the Bargemen and Bargewomen

I managed to keep to keep to the trails most of the time and we another posh lunch; at Tescos this time. Bingo and I still managed to get a beer probably due to the fact I was in the shop. After that we pushed on then and got on the banks of the Kennet and Avon Canal after a little jump over the railway while the 13.32 Paddington to Weymouth thundered past making Stubbsy stop pretty quickly.

WhatsApp Image 2020-08-25 at 06.54.56(3)

WhatsApp Image 2020-08-25 at 06.54.56(2)
At the Row Barge Inn

It was an excellent ride following the canal on bumpy tracks and we stopped for a few beers at the Row Barge pub, Woolhampton on the banks of the canal. here we met some more cycle tourists, who were great company. Bingo and I managed to black cat them all after some serious tour chat.

WhatsApp Image 2020-08-25 at 07.50.57(1)
Down the trail

We then pushed along the banks of canal turned off at the junction at Hamstead Mill. Some locals told us that Hungerford was 7 miles away. It was getting late so Bingo did some calcs and booked a Guest House: The Three Swans Hotel. Then we rolled through some wonderful scenery for the last few miles and arrived at Hungerford which seems a nice town.


 

Ronde van Rhondda 2020

Wales2020RouteMap
Rough Map of the Route – Clockwise

Naturally the circumstances this year means the planned ride to Greece has been postponed.

Instead Dale has carefully planned a tour of Anglo-Saxon Britain which leaves the Kingdom of Kent (long live King Æthelberht!) and neatly circumnavigates Mercia by travelling through Wessex and Wales, skirting the borders of Danelaw before returning south via the borderlands between the Kingdoms of the East Angles and East Saxons.

Naturally there will be dangers. Not least in Wales where it is rumoured many long lost relatives still remain. Some attempts will be made to contact them though the language barrier may prove difficult.

At the northern-most extreme the party will seek refuge in a local hostelry somewhere in the vicinity of Lincoln. They will face certain danger here if they are tempted to stay too long.

From here they will scurry southwards through Saxon country before reclaiming the refuge of the Kentish.


Ronde van Rhondda 2020

Of course it’s not really a tour of the Rhonnda – it’s more of a circumnavigation of the old Kingdom of Mercia – but the tour will be passing through the Rhondda valley in South Wales and in particular the Little Rhondda valley and the village of Ynyshir. This is the Hen Wlad Fy Nhadau (Old Land of My Fathers). Our father was born here in 1933 and of course Nana and Grandad House lived here before unemplyment took them to the Pits of Kent in about 1936.

Over the years we’ve made family visits here in particular to visit Nan’s sister, Aunti Sis (a Great-Aunt really) and all her family. Her son Uncle Norman I remember very well. I’ve no idea what’s left of this family or the generations that came after. It’ll be interesting to see what Dale and Keith discover.

From South Wales they will head to Denbigh in North Wales and track down some other relatives who moved back to Wales from Kent (usually via Leicester). I expect they’ll drop in to see our father’s sisters Auntie Doreen and Auntie Irene along with Uncle Alan and no doubt a few of our many cousins!


Dambusters

From Wales the team will head east over the Peak District towards Lincolnshire where they will rendezvous at the Dambusters Inn in Scranton. The pub is managed by family friend and village compatriot Steve Plews. I fully expect a night of boisterous shenanigans. They will be lucky to escape alive.


Geting it together

On the ride will be Dale, Keith, Dave Austen and Andy Stupples, and of course as it’s a bike-camping tour there is no minibus support and driver.

WhatsApp Image 2020-08-22 at 16.18.54
Dale’s bike all ready in the garden
WhatsApp Image 2020-08-22 at 15.59.17
Dave’s bike already to go
WhatsApp Image 2020-08-22 at 09.26.06
Keith’s kit ready to pack

Sadly no pre-tour photographs came from Andy Stupples.


Test Run to East Sussex

Here are some shots from a pre-tour excursion down to East Sussex to test out the bikes and equipment.

WhatsApp Image 2020-08-22 at 10.14.47WhatsApp Image 2020-08-22 at 10.15.00WhatsApp Image 2020-08-22 at 10.15.46WhatsApp Image 2020-08-22 at 12.00.16


1024px-Coat_of_arms_of_Kent.svg

One Year Ago

house_20200614_dalekeith
Keith and Dale: Red Lion, Bridge 14th June 2020 after an anniversay ride with Glen from Liège–Bastogne–Liège and the Chislet crew.
House_20190612_D_0010
WhatsApp Image 2019-06-23 at 09.19.31(1)
WhatsApp Image 2019-10-03 at 07.59.13
WhatsApp Image 2019-11-06 at 16.47.16(2)
Keith at the Atlantic Ocean at Jacksonville Beach, Florida
Keith meets the Atlantic Ocean at Jacksonville Beach, Florida

Some Reflections

It hardly seems possible that it was a year ago today when the team set off for the cycle ride to Kraków and onward to Shanghai and then Japan (and the USA for Keith).


Well it’s a year so since we set off on are little ride time for a bit of reflection. We have to mention CONVID 19, so much has changed since the out break, with even more since the outbreak of the race protest and the continuing refugee situation in our little corner of the world. Not going into to much detail, but let’s take all the positives from these recent and ongoing developments.

Our ride would not have been possible without the help and guidance from humans of all different creeds, colour and ethnic origins. If I can take one thing from the ride, it is that 99% of humans are decent people, we just need a reality check once in a while. The trip certainly changed my perspective smile; be happy, help others and “Nothing can go wrong”.

Stay safe, help others and look forward to the next big ride.

P. S This work malarkey will never catch on. I was born to tour.

Dale


It has been a year since we set off on our adventure of a lifetime. Since being back I don’t think there’s been many days I’ve not looked back on the trip as a whole or specific times during the journey.

The most memorable part being our time in the ‘stans, and the people we met there. I learnt a lot during the trip and although Its not the first time I have travelled, I feel like it gave me a much more authentic experience. And since being back I feel very fortunate for my life and the way that we live here. Appreciate and enjoy the little things!

Linford


Some Favourite Photos

Dale with well-deserved beer and a proper hat
Dale with well-deserved beer and a proper hat
At the Great Wall of China. Keith
At the Great Wall of China. Keith
They have Camel Crossings in Kazakhstan!
They have Camel Crossings in Kazakhstan!

WhatsApp Image 2019-09-02 at 14.58.47

Settling down for the night
Settling down for the night

WhatsApp Image 2019-09-02 at 14.58.42

A traditional Yurt of the horse herders
A traditional Yurt of the horse herders
Looking back on the hairpins up to the Taldyk Pass
Looking back on the hairpins up to the Taldyk Pass
Dale, Linford and Keith at the Taldyk Pass (3615m)
Dale, Linford and Keith at the Taldyk Pass (3615m)
Linford and Keith: beers after a long day
Linford and Keith: beers after a long day
Dale and LInford taking an ice-cream break
Dale and LInford taking an ice-cream break

WhatsApp Image 2020-06-11 at 07.40.06WhatsApp Image 2020-06-11 at 07.40.07(2)WhatsApp Image 2020-06-11 at 07.40.07(3)WhatsApp Image 2020-06-11 at 07.40.08(1)WhatsApp Image 2020-06-11 at 07.40.09WhatsApp Image 2020-06-11 at 07.40.09(1)WhatsApp Image 2020-06-11 at 07.40.09(2)WhatsApp Image 2020-06-11 at 07.40.09(3)WhatsApp Image 2020-06-11 at 07.40.10(1)WhatsApp Image 2020-06-11 at 07.40.10(2)WhatsApp Image 2020-06-11 at 07.40.10(4)WhatsApp Image 2020-06-11 at 07.40.07WhatsApp Image 2020-06-11 at 07.40.06(1)


Tour Summaries

WorldMapCycling
The final round-the-world route

Links to the Stages

The blogs have now been re-arranged so that each stage of the ride can be accessed easily. Each stage includes the orginal blog entries, photos and maps.

 

Just go to the Home Page for all the links.

Links to all the Original Blogs and Maps

If you want to catch up with all the original blog entries then here is a handy table of links:

Table of links to all Original Blogs and Maps.