WELCOME! I've been cycling through the Southeast Valleys of Wales since 2010 and I can't say (or show) enough about the place. I just love it. So if you've got the interest and would like to spend some time... sit back and let me show you some of the fabulous places I've discovered.

Thursday, 15 March 2018

Never-ending Winter

As I sit here on this dark Friday evening on the last day of February; my eyes shift from the computer screen to the window and back. It's currently -4c c (24° f) outside and it's snowing, again. I can hear the wind blasting the sides of our house and I've built a roaring fire in the hearth. I've not been on my bike for a week straight and it doesn't look as if I will be any time soon.

Here in the UK they're calling it the "Beast from the East". The Portuguese weather stations however took a less "Hollywood" approach and simply named the storm; "Emma". Whichever you choose, it's going down in the record books. Headlines in the paper say this could be the worst snowfall in 30 years. Some say this could be the worst winter in 30 years.

Looking down Central Avenue in Oakdale just before the Blizzard of 2018

Thursday, 01 March 2018 - St. David's Day; When my wife came downstairs this morning, I immediately told her that the BBC had modified the weather report yet again. Now we have a red warning (a first under the new colour system). They are actually calling for blizzard conditions over the next two days. Without missing a beat, she responded; "I want to got out in it." And that my friends is why I love the girl.

The Firewood Issue

We've been to the Coop. We sat in the coffee shop and watched the wind blow our neighbours about the village square, nursing lattes and joking about how bad weather gets people out of doors. I'm thinking; "today would be a good day to have a fat bike." But actually, it's a very good day to write.

I've got five short features for your online reading entertainment this month. I'm starting off with an important event that needs revisiting and a charity dear to my heart. I follow that with four more bits including: details on the inner workings of Bike Wales, a glorious ride I made during a brief respite from the Siberian blast, a small gallery of new images, and a missing report from 2017.

I finish this issue with a bit of cycling related news to send you flying off in other wild directions. I hope you enjoy.

Remembering 55 for 55
I want to go back to 2016 and reflect a moment. In March of that year, I began one of my biggest ride challenges and a personal milestone. Join me as I look back on the ride and most importantly - the people that made this event so unique. Read about: "Remembering 55 for 55".

Nantymoel & Bassaleg Super 8
I've been out on 21 rides so far this year; however, I've only written about one. Well, not every outing merits a complete write up, but my ride over the Bwlch is a classic route amoungst the Welsh cycling community and worth a glance. Check out: "Nantymoel & Bassaleg Super 8".

2018 - January & February: Assorted Images
Just like every ride may not be worthy of a report, I may only take one or two photographs during a ride. This leads to random photos floating about without much of a story. You can see a quick round up of these images in my lastest gallery: "2018 - January & February 2018: Assorted Images".

Brecon & Beyond
I promised to keep working on the ride reports which I failed to write up during 2017. Here's a favourite of mine from February of last year. The weather has certainly been different this year! Check out: "Brecon & Beyond".

Never-ending Redesign
I've got a short piece about my blog redesign. It's visually subtle, but requires a great deal of detail work on the backend. You may have noticed that I dig that kinda thing. You can read about all the mundane details of my efforts in; "Never-ending Redesign".

In The News

Path Less Pedaled

Ya gotta love this guy... His approach to cycling is nothing short of charming, plus his reviews are spot on. He's got a great YouTube channel as well. Go on. Check it out and get lost in the World of Russ for a few hours. You'll be glad you did and with 20,000 subscribers, he's clearly doing something right! Path Less Pedaled / YouTube Channel & Pathless Pedaled website

Bicycle Times Magazine

Okay, I admit that I found this site from reading Path Less Pedaled, but it's a blatent indorsement of them both. There's so much exuberance on the Internet about cycling these days, it's nice to find a site that seems down-to-earth and rational. It's a well thought out read. And they seem damn friendly too.


First off, this website is a visual delight. The overall design and photography are simply stunning. Plus, this month they've got a video on a trip through Wales! That's reason enough to check'em out. Give your lust for cycling a good visual rub. Then come to Wales!

Bike Scheme for Cardiff

Cardiff tried having a bike rental scheme a few years back and it failed miserably. We'll see how it flys this go'round. It's a trend I'm not so sure of, but if it can lead to improved cycle lanes in town then I'm all for it. I hope it's a flying success.

Sexy Bike Alert: 2018 Fuji Touring

Most people wouldn't describe a touring bike as sexy, but I'm that kinda dude. Bar-end shifters, rim brakes, and triple-cranks rock my world. I'll not make any apologies. 40 years ago a Fuji America was hands-down my dream touring bike. Just go check it out. (and see: an original Fuji America)

UPDATE: Part Two on my Taff Trail Project: ON HOLD DUE TO WEATHER

Coming next Issue
  • Will I get to ride my bike this month?
  • Will I write Part Two on my Taff Trail Project?
  • Will I have a new Ride with GPS Report?
  • Will I be forced into another month of reviewing my archive?
  • Will Wales ever see Spring again?

Bike Wales is published once a month - on or about the 15th. I generally write on personal topics - on or about cycling, as well as outside features I've discovered during my wanders across the Interweb. Drop me a note and tell me know what you think.

Thanks for stopping by... Seeya down the road. Cheers! cm

Thursday, 15 February 2018

Here We Go! No... Hold on a minute, it's snowing again.

It snowed. It rained. It snowed again. Then it was cold as bejezus and froze everything making January 2018 a particularly difficult month for cycling.

I spent the better part of the month looking out the window and refreshing the Met Office Weather website because if nothing else... the weather is damn "changeable" in Wales.

Needless to say, I didn't reach ANY of my goals for the month. What a way to start the year, eh? I hate chasing numbers (I really do...) but I like making them. So to appease my soul for not reaching those arbitrary numbers I set out for myself in 2017; I'm going to begin this issue with a feature showcasing what I did achieve last year.

I follow that up with a look into an ongoing project I've given myself on the Taff Trail. It's kinda daunting, but exciting. Read my overview as I begin a four part series.

Then to supplement all you gear heads out there, I've got a couple of articles for you to read whilst sitting around: shocking talk about the triple crank and for the tech heads, an excellent write-up on gear ratios.

Lastly, I've found a cool bike to warm your heart this snowy winter. Be sure to check out my Sexy Bike Alert. I hope you enjoy!

The Snow Issue

2017 Achievements
I took advantage of the rough weather and time off the bike during January to make a thorough assessment of my riding during 2017. At first, I beat myself up for not reaching my goals, but what I later discovered; is that I shouldn't get caught up with the numbers. Take a look and tell me what you think of my year in: "2017 Achievements".

Taff Trail: Project Overview
It's the most well-known walking and cycling path in South East Wales. Ask most anyone around here and they know of it... many have walked or cycled parts of it. Some may have covered the entire 55 miles. Now I've got a crazy notion along with some big ideas on documenting the entire route. Take a look at my work on: "The Taff Trail".

Death of the 3x Crank?
It's been around for more than 50 years, now there's rumbling in the woods about it's demise. Could this really be the end of a trusted component? Read what our resident "retro-grouch" thinks about this topic in: "Death of the 3x Crank".

© CyclingAbout 2018. All rights reserved.
Gear Ratios
I've been reading this guys website for years and for good reason too; he knows his shit. It's perhaps my number one go-to source for product reviews and cycle touring information. Alee is the man. Read this excellent explanation of everything you need to know about bicycle gearing in his appropriately named feature: "Gear Ratios".

Llangynidr Commons
It's been a difficult couple of months to get out on the bike, but earlier this February I made a wonderful ride up to the Brecon Beacons. It's hard to believe this place is just 15 miles above our home. Check out my report at the Ride with GPS website: "Llangynidr Commons".

Out From the Archive

Yn Uchel Uwchben y Cymoedd; Part 1

Back in 2016 I set out to explore the Rhondda Valleys and what a treat it turned out to be. I can't wait to go back. Relive my two day journey exploring the varied landscapes of the Rhondda Valleys.

Yn Uchel Uwchben y Cymoedd; Part 2

Big mountains, sprawling vistas, rolling countrysides... the hits just kept coming. Join me for Part 2 of my epic journey exploring the gorgeous Rhondda Valleys.

Sexy Bike Alert!

Bianchi L'Eroica - Campagnolo 10sp

Hands-down this is my choice for the most beautiful bike of 2018. I'm old-school all the way yet this gem marries the best of both the past and the present. It rocks.

>> Coming next issue; March 15th 2018

  • Part Two on my Taff Trail Project
  • New Reads on the Internet
  • New Gallery in Bike Wales
  • Missed Hits from 2017
  • Another Sexy Bike Alert

  • Thanks for stopping by... Seeya down the road. Cheers! cm

    Monday, 15 January 2018

    VOLUME 02 ISSUE 01
    New Year & New Plan

    I'm hoping for a bigger & better year of cycling in 2018. In my first issue this year I've laid out a number of distinct goals, so sit back and hang on!

    You may have read that I failed to reach any of my goals for last year and despite having some pretty significant numbers (see: 2017 Yearly Totals), I'm upping the ante with a new set of goals which are bigger and bolder!

    I've also got this new blog structure to support. You may have noticed that I've taken on the role of publisher as well as author and this is going to be a tricky devil to maintain. Hopefully, you'll enjoy reading some of the articles I uncover.

    The BIG Issue

    A New Hope
    With respects to Star Wars, I too have taken on a new approach to my blog. Back in the day when websites were just beginning, everyone was trying to be a "portal". Well, here I am 20 years later and trying to do the same thing. See what you think of my ideas in "A New Hope".

    Goals for 2018
    It's a challenge to keep yourself challenged. Fortunately, I love cycling in this lovely little country and there's plenty to explore. Read about some of the interesting places I want to visit as well as some of the numbers I'll be chasing throughout the year in "Goals for 2018".

    Grwyne Fawr Reservoir
    I made a pledge to write up all the great rides for which I failed to report in 2017. And now it's happening. You can read my first "catch up" instalment about a great little adventure I shared with my pal Deano back in October of 2017 in : "Grwyne Fawr Reservoir".

    Rhymney Meadows
    Sometime in 2013/14 the online photo editing website I was using "lost" a number of my photos. I've been wanting to restore/rebuild many of these older blog posts dating from that era. Digging through thousands of images across multiple systems has been tough! But, I'm getting there slowly. Here's a little peek: "Rhymney Meadows".

    Cajamarca to Guamo
    I've been catching up with Curtis & Jenny Shaw as they continue their cycle journey through Central & South America. Two crazy kids having crazy, wonderful adventures. Warning! It's addictive reading! Check out their latest exploits: "Cajamarca to Guamo".

    Thanks for stopping by. I'll see ya down the road.

    Cheers! ~ cm