If the freedom of speech is taken away then dumb and silent we may be led, like sheep to the slaughter.

- George Washington

Sunday, 11 July 2010

Sunday Spin

Triumph Owners' Club, West Wales branch, rideout today.

We met at the Hafod Hotel in Devil's Bridge, where the rest of the gang had been staying overnight after another rideout yesterday. With family staying, I didn't feel able to justify doing both days, so I made an early start this morning and was in Devil's Bridge by 10 am. The weather was glorious in the morning, although it got cloudy and rather sticky by the end of the day. This was the view over Aberystwyth from the A4120 between Aber and DB:

and this was the view over the mid-Wales mountains from the same spot:

Hard to see in this picture (thanks to the crappy camera that comes with the iPhone), but several of these hills are crowned, if that is the right word, with a forest of wind turbines. This view is one of my favourite views in the world, and the desecration of it with these ugly and pointless gestures to right-on environmentalism grieves me every time I see it. Fortunately, I had other things to do so I moved on quickly.

The rideout was supposed to encompass three mountain passes, but circumstances meant that only one was achieved. We had a coffee in a pleasant outdoor café in DB and fuelled up, and then set off over the tops to Nant-y-Moch reservoir:

and then over the mountains to Tal-y-Bont, where we stopped for a break in the excellent White Lion. (Incidentally, is Tal-y-Bont the only place in the UK with colour-contrasting pubs? We were in the Llew Gwyn and next door was the Llew Du, or Black Lion. If there's someone you don't really want to meet, you could say "Meet you in the Lion" and stand a 50% chance of avoiding them. Just a thought.)

The guy leading the trip had intended to take us over a couple of passes in the mountains near Bala which, from experience, I know to be spectacular. In fact, one of them, in a car, can be bloody frightening, as the road is narrow and very steep, and the drop-off to the side is immediate, unprotected and a bloody long way down. I was looking forward to tacking it on the bike which, being narrow, affords plenty of opportunities to avoid the precipitous bits. However, two new members came along, bringing inexperienced pillion passengers, and after a route-finding error cost us a bit of time (and learning that one of the pillions was neither happy nor comfortable), it was agreed to curtail the day by returning to Aber for a cup of tea and a bun on the sea front, followed by a blast back down the coast road. We did cover some of my favourite roads, however, going up to Machynlleth and then up the pass by Cadair Idris and then on to Corris and Dinas Mawddwy.

The ride up to DB was, shall we say, brisk, and the group ride part was sedate. The last 50 miles, after I had separated from the others, was 'progressive', which is another way of saying that I spanked the Bonnie's pretty little metal arse unmercifully. I was therefore quite surprised to find that my fuel consumption for the day was 60 mpg. The Hepco and Beckers stayed in place, and carried everything I needed without drama.

224 miles, 16.9 litres, just over £20 in fuel (petrol in them thar mountains is expensive). Add in a few cups of tea and a bacon baguette in Aber, and the whole day cost well under £30.



  1. endemoniada_8813 July 2010 at 00:34

    My father-in-law lives around Machynlleth way: I've ridden round there a bit and have to agree there's some lovely roads in those parts.

    Mountain uphills are always good fun: downhills a little more challenging - always a good way to assess how confident one feels with the front end of the bike...!

  2. Only one thing spoils the party - gravel! Most of the tricky single-track in the mountains is covered in the stuff, and often where you least expect it. That and the suicidal sheep.

    A few weeks ago, we did a run that included a stretch called the Devil's Staircase - a 1 in 4 downhill through several tight hairpins. Very entertaining. Even experienced guys were putting their feet down :) The Bonnie was fine, of course. Here it is.

  3. endemoniada_8813 July 2010 at 23:12

    Now that's something...looks like fun!

    I do remember there being a lot of gravel. And cattle grids. And locals who knew the routes particularly well and weren't expecting much competition for the tarmac. An interesting place to ride, for sure.

    One thing I did find was that the driving there - for one more used to the pig-ignorant selfishness of the South Coast commuter corridor - was not only a much higher standard, but also involved courtesy, even to motorcycles. Rather refreshing, that.

  4. We found plenty of that. Several cars, on the really narrow twisty bits, would pull into a lay-by and let us all past. All were rewarded with big waves, and all responded with a smile. Good all round.

    On one section, I was riding last and we came to a downhill cattle-grid, a bit narrow, with two cyclists toiling up the hill towards us. I would have got the the cattle-grid at the same time as the cyclists, so I pulled over and stopped, and waited for them to get clear. I could easily have ridden through at the same time, but I thought courtesy and all that ...

    Not a fucking thing. Not a wave, not a smile, not even a glance in my direction. Not good, because I will remember that next time I meet a cyclist.


Comment is free, according to C P Scott, so go for it. Word verification is turned off for the time being. Play nicely.

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...