Introduction

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.

Wednesday, 28 December 2016

2016 Rides & Events


Rides Overview
Listed below is a basic break down of how 2016 went down. I kinda went nuts with spreadsheets, which you can witness in their full glory in the "Charts" section. But essentially, 2016 was a record year for both the overall distance and the number of days I was on the saddle.

  ☞  In 2016 I rode 9,609.3 miles over 164 Days.


I divided my rides into six basic types; however, some rides could be classified in more than one category. (ex: most all of the 100 mile rides were also "Solitaires"...) You may select the ride type to view additional details.

Ride Type Days Hours Distance Elevation
General Rides 40 184:18 1,619.3 96,413
Rides for Sustrans * 41 215:21 1,591.3 82,219
55 for 55 Event for Parkinson's UK 55 299:08 3,124.4 170,152
The Kingfishers 17 116:39 1,261.9 60,305
"Solitaires" 22 181:13 1,995.2 115,067
100 Mile Club 11 112:16 1,190.7 69,329

* These numbers include both going to and from events as well as the ride events themselves.



Events Overview
Many of the rides I made during 2016 were for specific events. The outlines of those events are shown below. Any additional planning and/or organising is in the following table.

Main Events Date Days Hours Distance
Sustrans Group Coordinator Day 02-12 1 6:30 61.4
55 for 55 for Parkinson's UK * 03-01 55 450:17 3,124.4
Sustrans Ride Leader Training 05-12 2 16:00 111.2
"Tidal Lagoon Ride" for Sustrans 06-17 1 2:00 66.2
"Bedwas ROCKS!" for Sustrans 06-25 1 6:00 26.6
"Share the Path" for Sustrans 06-26 1 4:00 28.8
Sustrans Volunteer Conference 07-02 1 6:00 50.7
"Road to Rio" for Sustrans 08-02 1 6:30 43.8
Cordell Heritage Ride ** 08-29 2 7:00 126.7
"Rhondda Tunnel Society Ride" for Sustrans 09-12 1 3:00 74.7
"Newport Family Cycling Festival" † 09-24 2 14:00 54.2
"Cardiff Council Bay Tour" for Sustrans 10-14 1 2:00 63.6
Volunteer Presentation for Sustrans 11-16 1 2:00 38.8
TOTALS: 70 525:17 3,871.1

* I created this event myself to raise awareness and funds for Parkinson's Research.
** This was a joint event between Sustrans and The Welsh Tourist Board.
† This event was co-sponsored by Sustrans, The National Trust, RSPB, and Newport City Homes.



Other Volunteering
Additionally, I also spent time planning events and volunteering at the Sustrans office. I've briefly outlined those efforts below:

Additional Activities Days Hours Distance
Newport Family Cycling Festival Planning 13 35:30 126.5
Dr. Bike Services at the Sustrans Office 2 10:00 73.2
Sustrans November Newsletter 3 10:30 51.2
Other Assorted Sustrans Activities 5 8:00 215.4
TOTALS: 23 64:00 466.3




In Summary
Separating my Sustrans and Parkinson's UK volunteering:

Sustrans Events Days Hours Distance
Main Events 15 75:00 746.7
Additional Activities 23 64:00 466.3
TOTALS: 48 139:00 1,213


Other Events Days Hours Distance
Parkinson's UK 55 450:17 3,124.4
TOTALS: 55 450:17 3,124.4


Friday, 9 December 2016

Writing songs about firing cannons


"To live is to war with trolls in heart and soul. To write is to sit in judgement on oneself."
- Ghosts, Henrik Ibsen



Admittedly, my blog has gone off in a completely different direction of late. I'm no longer interested in lengthy descriptions. I'm over the romance. There are plenty of people waxing poetic on their cycle trips. They can have it. I'm going somewhere else.

Something changed this past year... I don't quite know how to describe it. But I feel different and I'm wanting more than what I've been doing. And I'm gonna get into it.

I'll document my journeys. I'm sure that I'll keep tracking my mileage. (I can't shake that crazy.) I'll probably keep the gear section, but I'm reconsidering the routes and events sections. I'm done with planning events for other people. Seriously. If you want to ride your bike... just get on the damn thing and ride. You don't need any help from me.

I'm gonna plan events for me. If you want to come along, drop me a line.



I'm crossing the road, heading up the tractor path through the field to the "old doc house". It's fallen down in the woods. That's where you'll find me.

Friday, 28 October 2016

Beginning, again...



“First you have nothing, and then, astonishingly, after ripping out your brain and your heart and betraying your friends and ex-lovers and dreaming like a zombie over the page till you can't see or hear or smell or taste, you have something.”
T. Corragasen Boyle




He walked down the stairs, turned at the coatrack and then headed down the hall, glancing briefly in the glass case as he passed, he briskly walked into the living room and flopped into the big chair.


Sonny looked down at his feet propped on the ratty footstool.... books of all sorts sprawled out across the floor before him.


There were two volumes of Encyclopaedia Britannica; JK - L and Ts- To...


Gombrich's "History of Art"...


a collection of inexpensive nondescript history books produced for television during the 1960's and inherited from his father that provided only a small surface of information, yet contained beautiful large colour plates...


then two very expensive geography books purchased for grad school having no other purpose than showing where places used to be...


a few other printed things that simply caught his fancy, including a short history of Roman culture and a brief overview on 17th Century French philosophers...


and a towering cup of coffee.

Thursday, 27 October 2016

Rabbit, Walk



“… he is unlike the other customers. They sense it too, and look at him with hard eyes, eyes like little metal studs pinned into the white faces of young men [...] In the hush his entrance creates, the excessive courtesy the weary woman behind the counter shows him amplifies his strangeness. He orders coffee quietly and studies the rim of the cup to steady the sliding in his stomach. He had thought, he had read, that from shore to shore all America was the same. He wonders, Is it just these people I’m outside or is it all America?”
― John Updike, Rabbit, Run




Sonny stood on the back porch looking through the screen door across the vacant yard.


A wide dirty stump sat in the middle of the small lot where the old oak had been.


Bits of broken flower pots and an old tin jar lid lay strewn about its base.


Once there had been a rickety table made from an disused picket fence nailed up against the tree where his grandmother had potted plants.


The hinges were pulling away from the sides of the tool shed making the door creak slowly as the wind blew.


The grass out in the field beyond was tall and brown and needed to be cut.


...


Everything smelled precisely as it always had.

Monday, 24 October 2016

Tom Sawyer's Gang



"But I reckon I got to light out for the Territory ahead of the rest, because Aunt Sally she's going to adopt me and sivilize me, and I can't stand it. I been there before."
— Mark Twain, The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn




Some folks just don't care nuthin' 'bout the past.


Those forgotten stories don't seem to matter much...


What happened here and why?


So many lives lost to time...


Like sagebrush left behind to show us they were here.

Thursday, 20 October 2016

This Ain't No Beat Generation



"How to live seems much more crucial than why. In the wildest hipster, making a mystique of bop, drugs and the night life, there is no desire to shatter the drugs and the night life, there is no desire to shatter the "square" society in which he lives, only to elude it. To get on a soapbox or write a manifesto would seem to him absurd.... "
— John Clellon Holmes




I don't give a damn about religion, politics, current events, pop culture, television, the Internet, Facebook, Twitter, or any of that twat. In fact... Fuck That Shit.


There's the sound of my tyres rolling over the road...


and the wind blowing softly along the tree tops...


some little critter scrambles through the brush down to my left.


The only voices are in my head...


just wandering notions, in and out, here for but a moment and gone again...


That barn is just like the one we had at home...


The next two miles are all downhill...


Badgers seem cool...


I am the luckiest boy in the world.

Wednesday, 19 October 2016

My Walden



"I went to the woods because I wished to live deliberately, to front only the essential facts of life, and see if I could not learn what it had to teach, and not, when I came to die, discover that I had not lived. I did not wish to live what was not life, living is so dear; nor did I wish to practice resignation, unless it was quite necessary. I wanted to live deep and suck out all the marrow of life, to live so sturdily and Spartan-like as to put to rout all that was not life, to cut a broad swath and shave close, to drive life into a corner, and reduce it to its lowest terms, and, if it proved to be mean, why then to get the whole and genuine meanness of it, and publish its meanness to the world; or if it were sublime, to know it by experience, and be able to give a true account of it in my next excursion."
— Henry David Thoreau




And so I set off on the first of March in search of my Walden. Disguising my efforts under the premise of raising money for a well-deserved charity, I must admit that my motivations were much deeper - and ashamedly, more selfish.


How do I share the world I see?


Can I find the words?


... to paint the moments,


to tell the stories...


of when was I here...



... and the content of my life.

Monday, 10 October 2016

Spring Break 2016


Going backwards is the new forward. Looking ahead means holding up the past and these rose-coloured glasses seem golden.

I got nuthin' but memories of 2016. So much to keep up with; my head is bustin'. I'll get to March and April soon enough, but for now I'm gonna start with May. And what a blow-out! The weather was fabulous. I was in great shape and felt free from my 55 for 55 Event. And so I hit the road... 15 days for 1,100 miles, averaging almost 75 miles per ride!

On May 5th I set off on what has become one of my favourite long-distance rides. I love the Gospel Pass, but I'll put the views over Llangynidr up against any in Wales.

Looking back toward Beauford...


Climbing up Llangynidr Commons...


Sometimes too, ya gotta get off yer bike and walk around... climb the nearby hills.









But the road beckons... stopping is something you can do next time. For now... it's just cruising down the mountain, soaking in the views, burning images to the back of your eyes.









And then, 10 miles later; you're down. It's an incredible ride. (Tim... I'm talkin' to you.) It's a must for everyone. But it's only a short section of the overall ride. From here I scooted down sleepy little B4558 to Crickhowell. The traffic is fairly light, especially on weekends, but you can easily get on the tow-path for the Monmouth & Brecon Canal - which the road follows closely.







Leaving Crickhowell there are few hills to climb... as well as descend (look closely...). Some are rather extreme, but the road soon becomes rolling and the ride around Sugarloaf is stunning. Oh did I not mention it? Well, this ride circles around three sides of Sugarloaf... Awesome!













And that's about it for photos... this time! The remainder of the ride from above Abergavenny, through Usk, Newport, and home; I've covered before. So it's pretty straight-forward. You can see the full route in the map below.




I hope to do better over the winter with writing in this doggone blog. I've so much to catch up with... and it takes me almost a day to make one entry! So check back. I'll try to have something up again soon. Thanks for taking the time to stop by... I hope you've enjoyed your visit.

cheers!, cm