Saturday, 23 February 2013

Paddles for Pedals

For the past two weekends I have swapped my paddles for pedals to explore my local stretch of coastline.  I haven't ridden a bike since I was a teenager.  I have wanted to get a bike to use when the conditions aren't quite right for paddling, which often seems to be the case lately.
My dad offered me his Raleigh Yukon mountain bike, which I used to ride when I was in my teens.  Bikes have come a long way since this was made but it is in excellent condition, my dad has a knack for looking after things.  Browsing the internet it seems to be quite a sort after retro bike.  Adjusted the seat, pumped up the tyres and a few squirts of WD40 and I was on my way.  
I took it for it's first ride last weekend off road along a stretch of my local coast path at Gileston.
A prehistoric ammonite locked in a pebble.
I followed the rough path through muddy fields mainly until the path reaches the end of the beach.
New coast path signs since the opening of the Wales Coast Path.
I sat at the end of the beach to watch the sun go down on the far side of the channel before making my way back along the path.
A few bunny hops over the WWII anti tank defences?...maybe not quite yet.  A really enjoyable ride to get me started.  My leg ached, muscle unfamiliar with the cycling, for a few days after.


I have been a bit nervous about taking the bike out on the road, but a short trip into Llantwit Major in the week to pick up the van from the MOT garage gave me the bug to take it out for a longer trip this weekend...
I was up just before dawn around 6:30am.  The plan was to pedal into Llantwit Major, through the old town past the St Illtyd's Church.  After picking up some snacks from town I rode along the back coastal road with stunning views over the Glamorgan countryside and Bristol Channel into St Donnats, past the castle into Marcross following the road down to the coast.
Arriving at the gate leading to the light house there was a sign 'No Bikes', which I though was a bid odd as cars drive up and down this road.  I chose to ignore this and carry on to the high light.
An old post card when the low light was in operation and the high light was painted black and white.
I parked up at my destination.  Up until last year I was contracted to cut the grass here.  At the time the lighthouse cottages were let out by a cottage holiday company.  They are now let out long term as homes and the maintenance of the grounds is up to the tenants...not a bad place to live!!

The fog horn station.
I sat up on top of the cliff with a coffee looking out of the clam waters over Nash sand bank before making my way back taking a different route through the country lanes.  28 kilometres in total, not bad for my second ride.  Hopefully more rides to follow...


Mike Griffiths said...

Just added a link to this post from the Sea Kayak Wales News Page - just love the alternative access to our coastline.

Stuart said...

Thanks Mike. I've bought a new bike since so there will be plenty more cycling around the coast to come. Well it doesn't seem like we'll be on the sea anytime soon.