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, 2 November 2017

A Modest Life

From the complex comes the simple. Within chaos, calm floats. It doesn't take a great mind to observe the world around us, however; cutting through the nonsense and the useless aspects of life to form a clear perspective takes plain thinking. At least that's what Einstein suggested. Good advice sells for $1.3 million.

Rain locked. Day seven.

Autumn finally hit us with a week of typical British cold rainy weather. I can't complain because overall, the weather has been spectacular this year. In fact, many places in the UK have recorded their driest summer ever. So... with that said, I have to emphasise that I've had a great year of cycling.

And I did get out of the house this week, but whilst riding down from Manmoel I slipped on some loose gravel and down I went. I didn't notice til I go home that I had broken my camera. So while I'm taking a break (pun intended) from photography, I'll use this opportunity to focus writing about some of the wonderful rides I've had this past summer and fall.

Lastly, as part of my ongoing project to retrieve reports from my archive, I've got two special rides from 2013 for your review. I hope you enjoy!

Featured Rides

Hay-on-Wye & Hereford Epic
Back in June of this year I made my longest single-day ride: 135 miles, 19 hours, with over 8,000 ft. elevation gain. It might sound presumptuous, but for me it was epic. Its' taken me a while to organize the images and process the day. It all seems like a dream now. Read about my eight part trip-of-a-lifetime to Herefordshire.
To the Top of Manmoel!
Manmoel has been on my radar as part of my "Bike & Hike" series for well over a year now. Last week I finally made the big push to climb the hill/mountain (1,489 ft.) and I couldn't have asked for a better Autumn day. The weather was spectacular and everything just fell into place (pun intended) for an "almost" perfect day. Read about my adventure and then checkout the gallery of images.
Grosmont & Garway Ramble
The rain poured down so we changed plans. We did not climb the Gospel Pass as intended, but we did have an interesting ride through Grosmont and onto Garway where we explored St. Michael's Church. It was my second trip there and you can see a collection of photos from our ride last month as well as read about our trip back in 2012.

Out From the Archives...

Lovely Day For It...
I hadn't been in Wales but a few years when I discovered Fochriw and it quickly became one of my favourite spots to visit. It's so close and yet so desolate. I think I captured it pretty well back in 2013.
Carreg Tegernacus
Sometimes ya just get lucky. No one had told me about this place... I just went exploring! Join me again as I relive one of the most wonderful discoveries I've made whilst cycling in Wales

Coming next issue...

Will I reach my 2017 goals?
Take a look with me over some of my numbers as the year nears its end.

What am I planning for 2018?
Take a peek into my noodle and see what I'm thinkin', if you dare!?!?

Saturday, 14 October 2017

Out from the Archives

Hey gang!... whilst sitting out the cold autumn rain this week, I've been busy digging through the back issues of Bike Wales. So in this post I'm focusing on some of special ride reports from my first year in Wales - 2012.

Dark clouds and sun provide dramatic lighting across the Lonely Shepherd and Llangattock Escarpment.

2012 was a special year for not only did I begin exploring Wales in earnest, but I met some lovely people with whom to cycle. It was also the year I first met the Kingfishers and began joining them every Tuesday for crazy, wonderful adventures. Today, I've got several flashbacks to some of those memorable early days.

Lastly, I've got part three of my 2017 "Bike & Hike" trilogy. I'm hoping to further develop this aspect of my cycling adventures during the coming year, so these three little trips served as practice sessions.

Reliving the memories...

Looking for Clydach Gorge...
Read about my failed first attempt to meet the Sustrans Volunteer group way up the mountain above Brynmawr. Little did I know that this adventure would turn out to be a life changing day. Also of note; this was my first trip into the gorge!

Talybont Adventure
in 2012, I met this crazy South African guy and we immediately hit it off. Read about our intense day wandering over the moors above Trefil. I really put my new Dawes bike to the test too!

Maybe Maerdy, Maybe Not...
I was fortunate to join these lovely folks on ride over the mountain at Maerdy. The climb was incredible and the scenery stunning. Look back with me at one of my first group rides in Wales.

Land of Discovery... Llandovery
My first overnight trip with the Kingfishers was a hoot and quickly became an adventure of a lifetime. I am so fortunate to have met these crazy, wonderful fellas. It was three days of miles and smiles.

Feature Report

The Lonely Shepherd
The third adventure of my "Bike & Hike" series proves to be the best yet. Check out the Kingfishers along some of the gorgeous landscapes from the Llangattock Escarpment.

I'll be continuing my work in the archive over the next few months, so this will provide a continuing feature for my posts. Plus, I've got some rides from the Summer of 2017 that will be coming out soon - so be sure to check back!. As always, thanks for stopping by.
Cheers! - cm

Sunday, 8 October 2017

Music Videos Playlist

When not on my bike, chances are that you'll find me sitting here in front of this darn computer... along with some tunes crankin'. My post today is just a quickie - I'm going to offer up three artists that have been spinning on my playlist for the past couple of weeks.

The new and the very old - a lovely autumn day riding past Raglan Castle with the Kingfishers.

I'm sure many folks of my generation will agree that music has gotten pretty dull over the last couple of decades. Despite the morass of completely forgettable pop dirges littering the airwaves; I try to find new music. The first group is fairly new with just having released their second album. It's great stuff. The second artist has been around for a few years; however, I completely missed her until last month and she totally rocks. The last artist I've been listening to for a while and just deserve to be shared. I hope you enjoy!

Sounds in my head while my feet go round...

Wolf Alice
Ya gotta love these kids. They have a wonderful attitude and it's great to see someone not overtly interested in "celebrity". Give 'em a listen from this fantastic show show in Paris. The filming and music recording is excellent too.

St. Vincent
This girl rocks. Her songwriting is rich and complex whilst her musicianship is amazing. Every female who would like to play guitar should watch this chick. She's simply incredible. Pour yourself a vodka and put on yer headphones.

Brian Jonestown Massacre
These guys have been around for 20 years. There's tons of video out to watch. Despite having what many people consider an out-dated sound - I really dig 'em. The link I have here is from one of the better recorded shows in 2016.

Latest images burning my retinas...

14 Locks, Newport, & Sirhowy Parc
Oh yeah... I put a few new images up in my Gallery this week. I have loads to process with images going back to 2009 to work on... YIKES! Well, this is a start...

Now the sun has come out on a glorious autumn day so with a song in my head, I'm off to ride Lady Purple down to 14 Locks. As always, thanks for stopping by.
Cheers! - cm