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View Full Version : We did a tandem ride in north Wales last week!



salsabike
06-15-2006, 09:35 PM
My husband Chris had business meetings in south Wales on Wednesday and Thursday, and we tacked on five days beforehand so we could do a little roaming, including this tandem ride on the Isle of Anglesey. Anglesey is an island off the north tip of Wales, across the Menai Straits in the Irish Sea. We rented a tandem online—and learned a lot about the need to be pickier up front, since it was not a very good bike (in fact, anyone with experience in renting from a distance who would like to offer advice, please please do!). It was a mountain bike—very few road bikes to be seen in north Wales, which is pretty hilly. Its brakes and shifting were really, really bad, so we were thrilled that it got us where we wanted to go and didn’t leave us stranded among fields of sheep (MANY, MANY sheep in north Wales. MANY sheep. Way more sheep than people).

We got a car at Gatwick, drove to the Cotswolds to stay overnight (see picture of Glass Studio bike from the Cotswolds village of Chipping Camden). The next day we drove all the way north to our hotel on Anglesey, then took a cab back across the Menai Bridge to the mainland town of Bangor, where our rental tandem was waiting. Rode the tandem back over the bridge and 11 miles back to our hotel. The next day we rode a 36-mile beach loop tour, one of many Anglesey bike trips kindly posted online by a north Wales bike club. The first beach, Llandona, was down a 35% grade hill, which we tried for about two minutes---quickly realized our bad brakes weren’t going to do it for us (not that any brakes on a tandem would work well on such a hill)—had to actually run it, gently, into the hillside to stop it!--and walked it down the rest of the way. Bravely tried to ride back UP a 25% grade hill—which also lasted for several hundred feet, and then we said, “Um...guess we’ll have to walk it up the rest of the way too,”, since it was a very LONG hill. The next beach, Penmon Point, came complete with lighthouse and view of nearby Puffin Island. The last beach was a totally delightful surprise—Beaumaris, with castle, seaside town full of pastel houses, and festival including traditional Welsh music.

After the couple of days on Anglesey and the tandem ride, we took two days to drive down the west coast of Wales. Spectacular, gorgeous, unspoiled, unpopulated beaches! And then on to Usk, a beautiful little village near Newport where we've stayed before when he has meetings there.

Pictures:

Best bike materials prize winner in Chipping Camden, in the Cotswolds, on our way up to north Wales. http://home.comcast.net/~deenaheg/glass_bike.jpg

Me gazing out over the inevitable pasture of sheep on the ride to the hotel on Anglesey, after picking the bike up in Bangor. http://home.comcast.net/~deenaheg/deena_anglsey.jpg


Llandona Beach.
http://home.comcast.net/~deenaheg/llanddona3.jpg

Chris with the tandem in front of an old church, on the way back up that long hill from Llandona. http://home.comcast.net/~deenaheg/llanddona_2.jpg

The MOST beautiful beach, Broad Haven, on the Pembroke (west) coast. http://home.comcast.net/~deenaheg/broad_haven2.jpg

Wales is an incredibly gorgeous place.

DrBee
06-16-2006, 09:30 AM
Wow - those pictures are fantastically beautiful! The last one made me gasp outloud! Thanks so much for posting them!

Wow!

Trekhawk
06-16-2006, 11:14 AM
Wonderful pictures.
Glad to hear you survived the Tandem from hell.:D

Veronica
06-16-2006, 11:44 AM
Great, thanks... now ANOTHER place I need to go to. :D

V.

salsabike
06-16-2006, 08:28 PM
Worth seeing multiple times, Wales is. Lots of bike routes to be found through local clubs on the internet.

After we got to Usk, a group of us were having dinner out in the country one night and watched a road bike race do several circuits past us. And they were MOVING--serious racers. They had a police escort front and back, presumably because Welsh roads are TINY, narrow lanes where they all drive incredibly fast. Brave souls, those riders.

I even learned how to pronounce that "Ll" sound in Welsh, and what "y" is supposed to sound like.

Anyone have experience with renting bikes sight unseen? Any words of wisdom on how to state your specs for rentals?

crazycanuck
06-16-2006, 08:45 PM
Salsa...at a guess, are you a footbal (soccer) fan??? just a guess with the ryan giggs jersey....

The beaches remind me of new zealand...the sheep (nice white sheep), the greenery...Can't wait to go home (nz one not Canada) for christmas...

c

salsabike
06-16-2006, 09:29 PM
Big football fan, love World Cup season, have a game on upstairs even as we speak (Ivory Coast vs. Holland). I've had that jersey for several years---big Giggs fan as well--and use it as a cycling jersey. The other jersey I wear a lot on the bike is Brazil/Roberto Carlos.

My husband LOVES NZ--lived there for six months or so in the late 70s; I've never been there but would love to go. Glad you're getting home for Christmas!

crazycanuck
06-17-2006, 03:26 AM
What i find really funny-the socceroos fans actually thinking that they'll beat brazil...:eek:

Sorry about hijacking your thread...perhaps i should take this to the sports section..see you there

c

pooks
06-17-2006, 07:49 AM
salsa - my husband and I were in Wales March 2005. Gorgeous place!

Did you post your pictures anywhere else on the net? I'd love to share your report/pics with him!

salsabike
06-18-2006, 12:54 AM
We haven't yet, but will do so, and I'll let you know when it's done. We have plenty more pix, all as gorgeous as the next. What a likable place in all kinds of ways. One of the funnier things is how very much many Welsh do not care for the English. We were in a sporting goods store getting new Wales team jerseys, two days before the World Cup, with the UK full of England flags. Some guy walked past Chris while he was trying on the jersey and said, "That's right--b**ger the English!" The pub down the street had a "Go, Paraguay" sign (the first team England would be playing). And people in south Wales aren't all that well received by people in north Wales, either. What a funny race we are, we humans.

What parts of Wales did you see when you were there, pooks?