Sunday, 31 March 2013

Vale Easter Cycling

Second ride out on the new bike and today I decided to push the distance, 40.9 miles in all.  The route vaguely follows Nicole Cookes, former Olympic and road race champion, training run from Wick.  
The sun was set to shine this Easter weekend but it remained cold and windy with a high of around 7 degrees.  I layered up on top to keep out the wind chill and set off late morning.
From St Athan I passed through the historic old town of Llantwit Major and followed the sea view country roads linking the coastal villages of St Donats, Marcross, Monknash and St Brides Major.
Views over the Bristol Channel near St Donats.
There were plenty of lambs in the roads along the way.  Plenty of Buzzrds too, one of which I nearly ran over, he was too preoccupied plucking at a road kill and I clearly didn't spot him until he took off inches from my wheel, wow.
From St Brides Major I left the main road to follow the coastal road overlooking Ogmore-By-Sea.  This had to be the highlight of the trip and the stretch from Llantwit to Ogmore is a must for any cyclist in the area.
Turning east to follow the Ogmore River back toward the main road into Bridgend I hit a strong head wind.  This stretch should have been a pleasant, relatively flat enjoyable ride that turned into a demoralising slog.  From Ogmore the route took me mainly along busy A roads through Bridgend.  I opted to avoid the main town as much as possible taking the road to Aberkenfig then cutting across to Brynmenyn and Bryncethin. 
I then cut across Hirwaun Common into another gruelling  headwind, stopping briefly to refuel, then on to Pencoed.  The next stretch I was dreding.  I left the A road from Pencoed to take a steep climb past St Mary Hill golf course, brushing past Cowbridge on to Siginstone.
I left the main B road cutting across the country lanes from Siginstone to St Athan.  Taking in the scenery I spotted a rare sight.  I leapt off the bike to grab my camera and watched as a Red Kite swooped and dived along the hedgerow for about 10-15 mins.  I've heard rumours of sightings of this bird of prey around Cowbridge that is usually not sighted much further south of Mid Wales.  That will be the second highlight of the trip.   
Arriving home after 40 miles in the saddle for what was a great trip taking in some of the best roads and wildlife in and around the Vale of Glamorgan.

Tuesday, 26 March 2013

New Bike

Not much kayaking done in recent months, in fact none at all.  However, having recently had a taste of cycling with my dad's old bike I decided to treat myself to nice shiny road bike...  
Despite the freezing conditions that seem to be unsettling the entire country I took it for it's first ride out last weekend, a twenty three mile ride on my home patch through the Vale of Glamorgan countryside...
I'm really looking to get myself 'cycle fit' and continue to explore some local routes, hopefully combining some coastal roads to get my salty fix between kayaking.  Watch this space.