This weeks route was designed by Steve Barnes and took in the two tunnels on the Bath to Bristol cycle path. Leaving Weston on the A370 we headed for Wrington with a lovely tail wind to aid us on our way. We the met up with Katie Chrissy and Phil our out of town members taking this weeks riders up to 15. Our first climb was up to Redhill a long slog but we all made it. A quick sprint along the A38 and we had our first puncture Andy J quickly changed his tube and we were back on pace and taking a right at the airport flew down the descent to Chew Magna. Once passed the lake and heading north east we were in unknown territory and so were heavily reliant on our sat navs. We rode through some lovely countryside and villages finally arriving in Bath and the start of the cycle path. At this point we had covered 39 miles so stopped for a well earned cup of tea and a slice of cake. The cycle path to bristol uses an old railway line and took us along the river Avon and over to a rest stop and a photo opportunity at the old Warmley Station. At this point our sat navs decided to take us a little bit further north than we were supposed to be but after a quick check of the map we were back on track and on it way to the centre of Bristol. After negotiating the Cumberland Bason it we were homeward bound back along the A370 to Weston. The ride was great fun this week covering 77 miles and 3500 ft of climbing.
Thanks Steve for a great route!
Congratulations Alex, Laura, Paul and Andy on a fantastic achievement conquering the NCN8 route from the north to south coast of Wales.
Read about their adventure below!
What a day! Started in lovely sunshine and a lap around the Great Orme (Some would say the wrong way) after a small detour to find a steep hill to send Andy up.
Then heading West along the undulating coast we managed to get to Bangor before the rain started 🙁 we than had the joy of 18mph head wind and rain to Caermofon. We omitted not to stop for coffee and press on for the campsite.
Turning left and heading south we picked up the ncn 8 properly and headed along feeling rather wet and miserable by this point.
Finding the campsite and being amused by Andy's tent erecting skills a nice warm shower, we headed back into Caermofon for a Weatherspoons refill.
Day 2 and what can I say apart from EPIC!
We're all in agreement that it was the hardest days cycling we've done, but... what a day!
Dry when we woke up but wet rain by the tent down and leaving time 🙁 this then set the scene for most of the day. After a spinning downhill start with a few cheeky 'rises' we found ourselves in Criccieth for a beach photo opertunity. From there it was off to Porthmadog and then the hills started. Short and sharp to begin with a few walking sections for the more loaded of us. Then came a nice long ascent to the summit above Harlech where we were greated by guess what... Yes harder rain and a bit of wind!
From Harlech we popped down the coast for lunch at Barmouth where we dined at the Isis cafe before starting again very cold to a great spin across Barmouth bridge and up the Mawddach trail to Dolgellau and the start of the biggest climb of the day. And what a climb, which took us to the summit of Cadir Idris's neighbour and though not a true mountain was plenty high enough. Once over to top we had what I belive is the best road in the UK with about 2 miles of great decent with superb views. Unfortunatly there was no flying on the Mach Loop today due to the low cloud base, but we were done with excitement by then!
At last the rain cleared and we had a dry struggle into the campsite with one last unexpected climb.
Hot showers and a walk to the local for posh nosh and rehydration.
Day 3 and 4
A quick summary of the last 2 days of the Lon Las Cymru ride
Day 3 started with the same putting on of wet kit
Off we went riding through Machynlleth and onto the biggest climb of the ride and then the worst would be behind us… well we were correct about the big one… Cat 2 climb with 1500ft and 20% in places, but we did it and after was a great decent. But then we were wrong about the worst being behind us as what followed was an unrelenting terrain of steep hills, short descents all on a mixture of paved roads, forest tracks and ancient coach tracks making the going very tough. If the weather had been the same as the previous day, then I’m sure we may have cracked. This was by far the hardest day of the trip.
During one of our pit stops to refuel, we noticed that Laura had been riding all this way on a 25t rear cassette! KUDOS!
Other items of note that day were, Alex rescuing a sheep with a bucket on its head, some numpty bragging about riding up rocky coach path and then immediately falling off and Andy’s quest for the ever elusive café.
Day 4 was powered by paracetamol
So it started, SUNSHINE and an unexpected 20% climb, were all Wheelers present scooped a Strava trophy on very sad sounding bikes and 180mile legs. Onto the first real climb of the day which was by now in rain. A slippery moss covered 17% number saw us all having a nice country walk at some point! Pushing on and into Brecon, the sun came out again and we picked up the canal path for some picturesque FLAT cycling so we opted to follow the canal path a bit further when the official route veered off as Laura & Alex had already ridden this part of the trail, and how nice it was too.
Re-joining the NCN route we ascended to Talybont Reservoir where in appreciation of Laura’s brilliant effort on the ‘corn cob’ rear cassette, we all climbed the 5-mile gravel fire track in the same gear as her. (thank god I have a 34t)
From here on it was all downhill, literally, picking up the Taff Trail and cycling through more and more urban settings than we had been used to Merthyr Tydfil and ever onwards towards Cardiff. After a small detour and another quick lie down in the road from me, we rode alongside the beautiful river Taff and after stopping for one last refill by the Millennium Stadium we were finally in Cardiff bay and the end of our 260mile 18,000ft ride. A quick group photo then off to find the hire cars.
What a great trip, it’s funny how something so painful and miserable can be so fun! Many, many thanks to my 3 amigos Laura, Alex and Andy without whom the ride wouldn’t have been the same.
If you want a challenge, ride the NCN 8, if you want to supersize that challenge, ride the NCN 8 unsupported, if you want that challenge at Chuck Norris level, then borrow Laura’s bike!!!
By Paul Stone
Adventurer and Wheeler
Weston Wheelers Cycling Club – Ride report 7th August 2016.
A little early morning drizzle could not dampen the spirits of the sixteen riders that assembled at Priory School on Sunday morning; for the Weston Wheelers Cycling Club regular group ride. The club ride had special significance due to the arrival of the newly redesigned club riding kit. A suitably enthused group of riders left Weston Super Mare via the quiet roads towards Wick St Lawrence and headed towards Congresbury. Taking the turning towards Brinsea, the club commenced the long ascent up to Shipham. What goes up, must come down, and even with slightly damp conditions, speeds approaching 40MPH brought smiles to faces before inevitably, the riders slowed as they neared Cheddar.
Making progress as a group, the club, made a lesser ascent through Rodney Stoke, passing through Clewer and Cocklake before taking to the Somerset Levels and the arrow straight back roads. It was a little unfortunate that the strengthening wind reduced the riders average speed, but it did provide an opportunity to their 'through and off' technique as they took turns to take the brunt of the headwind.
Glastonbury Tor, visible for miles on the flat terrain, provided a focus for the clubs efforts and the relatively quiet Sunday traffic, meant the riders made good time to the base of the tor. The short, sharp, incline to the top of the road encircling the tor certainly woke the legs up, if it were needed; pausing at the top to catch their breath and for a brief photo call. Descending the tor a welcome cafe stop in the centre of the town provided a brief respite from their labours.
An improving weather situation, barring the gusty wind, had long since dried the roads and with the sun on their faces, the club enjoyed a beverage in the August sun. Refreshed and with water bottles refilled the Wheelers commenced the ride home. Although the wind was now consistently in their faces and flat terrain enabled a rapid pace to be set through Meare and Mark, and before long, Brent Knoll approached.
Skirting the knoll, even though a tongue in cheek suggestion was made to ride over the obstruction, the riders now turned northward and with a final stretch of their legs along a sprint segment, the club returned to Weston Super Mare.
The Wheelers welcomed Mat to his first Wheelers group ride today. And although he had to battle through a nagging old injury, Mat completed the ride in the company of the group. Several new club members also took part in the ride, having previously ridden with the club on a number of occasions
The route covered 60 miles with a wind affected average speed of around 16 MPH, with approximately 1600 feet of ascent.
Any local riders wanting to try group riding are welcome to ride as a guest with the Weston Wheelers on their regular club rides; Sunday at 9am and Wednesday at 6pm – meeting outside Priory School. Details can be found on their website;http://westonwheelers.cc/
This weeks ride was a re run of a route first cycled in January when the weather was a bit nippier but only just! Ten riders set off from Priory at 9 am and included our new young rider Ben on his first outing with the wheelers and only his second week in the saddle!
Heading out through St Georges and under grey skies we crossed the A370 and over a couple of small climbs through the charming villages of Christon and Loxton. With cake on our minds we quickly got into formation and flew through Wedmore up over Mudgley Hill to arrive at Sweets Café for Tea and Cake.
Feeling refreshed we continued on our journey in a southerly direction towards Bridgwater and then on to Woolavington when the heavens opened. Soaking wet but with the wind behind us we headed home via Burnham seafront and Lympsham. This weeks ride was a great day of PR's with several members beating there best times on Strava. Because of the tail wind the ride averaged 17.7 Mph over a 52 mile route climbing 1800ft.
Well done all who joined us especially Ben who could be a Cavendish in the making.
The Wheelers meet every Wednesday evening and Sunday morning why not join us for a ride.
There was mist in the air as the Wheelers left Weston-super-Mare at 07.30 Sunday 17th July for a circular ride taking in the Great Weston Ride in aid of Prostate Cancer research. This year it had been agreed that the lead riders would not tear up the road at 25 mph leaving a trail of blue and yellow jerseys in their wake and, for ten minutes or so, we kept strictly to the plan. We regrouped at Brockley coombe where our lady members joined us and set off again for the Long Ashton Park and ride; the departure point for the GWR.
The plan was to complete all the additional loops to make a round trip distance of about 100 miles. The goal was to stick together so the public would see a phalanx of almost 20 Wheelers jerseys passing through each village. All went well until the first climb began after half a mile, and the group became a chain which broke in several places as the different climbing styles emerged. We regrouped at the top and split apart during the descent of Belmont hill as the heavy, the reckless and the ones with poor brakes left behind the those with a more measured approach.
The mist burned away, the sky cleared the sun shone and after the frantic dash across Chew valley into a head wind, the slog up Burrington Coomb, the mind-blowing drop down from Shipham quarry to Cheddar which saw some of the Wheelers reach 50 mph, the ascent of Cheddar gorge we renewed our commitment to keep the pace steady, avoid becoming strung out and move as a coordinated unit. At the official refreshment area at Hugh Sexey’s school coffee was drunk, and some excellent cake consumed as we consolidated once again.
We set off together for the final push for home and maintained a reasonable formation until we turned into the wind at Bridgewater. The Wheeler’s disintegrated; the big guys pushed to the front of each fragment as the rest of us sheltered behind. A final regroup at Uphill and we rode to the finish line as we started, together.
You would be wrong to mistake this for a tale of dysfunction and disagreement. The Wheelers are not clones, we are individuals with our own strengths and weaknesses, but we respect our differences and nobody minds waiting at the top, the bottom, or the end of along drag. What might seem like chaos is camaraderie and you are welcome to become part of it.
Jonathon McMillan - Wheeler
One Way Ticket
This week’s route was created by yours truly and for a change the ride started with a train journey. We all met at Weston Station to catch the 9.00am train to Taunton. The GWR bike policy states that no more than 3 bikes are allowed at one time, so we were extremely lucky for all eight of us to be allowed on to the train. Luckily the very lovely conductor Zoe, was also a keen cyclist.
Once we reached our starting point in Taunton the route kicked in and we were off on our 60 mile journey back to sunny Weston Super Mare. The first part of the route, took us north along the A358, through Bishops Lydeard, from then on it was climbing all the way. The first real challenge was Triscombe Hill and although the GPS showed this as a road, in actuality it was slightly worse than a bridal path, more suited to mountain bikes than a carbon road bike! This was confirmed at the top of the 12% climb when we were greeted by dozens of muddy mountain bikers. Although we looked out of place, they were all very friendly and pointed us in the direction of the nearest road. Next came the well earnt downhill spectacular as we twisted and turned through the picturesque ‘Great Wood’ forest. Now completely lost we were fortunate to encounter a lady on horseback who directed us to the Pines Café for our scheduled cake stop. However there was another 2 miles of climbing before we would reach our cake reward. Once refreshed, we continued on our epic journey and after a quick puncture repair, came a 3 mile descent into North Petherton crossing over the M5 and on to Othery.
Staying on the A361, we worked together in a group pedaling against a tough head wind all the way to Pedwell. The final journey back to Weston, took us through some beautiful villages and our final climb was over the steep side of Brent Knoll, through Lympsham and home.
This week’s ride totalled 60 miles and averaged 15.7 mph and 2841 ft of climbing.
A big thank you goes to Alex, Paul G, Duncan, Andy J, Wayne, Dave, Andy P, Pete and Zoe the train conductor.
The Wheelers meet every Sunday at 9.00am and Wednesday at 6.00pm at Priory School. So why not join us for a ride!
Thanks Paul for a great route today. We had fantastic views from the top of Rodney Stoke and the sun dried off the rain.
This May Day, Weston Wheelers Cycling Club had Glastonbury Tor in its' sights for the regular Sunday morning ride. Nine riders departed from Priory School and headed out of Weston-super-mare via the quiet roads through Bourton and West Hewish, before turning east towards Congresbury. Taking a southerly track, the group warmed up on the climb into Shipham, before enjoying the rapid descent into Cheddar.
Heading south, the club enjoyed rapid progress through Clewer and onto Rodney Stoke, where they briefly joined the main road toward Wells, as far as Easton, again taking to the quiet roads of Somerset.
This first section and the subsequent route into Glastonbury forms one of the Weston Wheelers Time Trial competiton courses. And, although riding as a group, the individual riders were intent on setting a good personal time for the 30 mile Time Trial.
As they headed south-west away from Easton, the riders encountered a stiff headwind that somewhat spoilt the possibility of breaking any club records, but the level and, in places, arrow straight roads allowed them to get into a good rhythm, making short work of the track into Glastonbury.
Entering Glastonbury the riders were treated to a display of floral head dresses, as is traditional for May Day and were inadvertently ushered onto the roads closed for the Glastonbury Road Run. The novelty of using closed roads was not wasted on the riders, but they cleared the course rapidly and headed toward the Tor.
Although not long, the ascent up and around the Tor, is a good test for anyone's legs. Having spun their gears up the road around the tor, the group reassembled at the top before heading down the other side and setting off iin search of a cafe.
Unfortunately, the Road Run crowds dictated that the club abandoned any hope of a reviving beverage and the decision was made to continue on the return leg of the route.
More by luck than design, the group found themselves passing a cafe near West Hay, as one of their number suffered a minor mechanical problem. Whilst most of the riders enjoyed a momentary respite and refreshment, a demonstration of puncture repair was given by one unfortunate member of the club. The concensus of the group being that 'coffee and cake' was a fairly civilised way of waiting for a puncture to be rectified.
With innertube replacement and inflation completed, the group set off again across the Somerset Levels and onto Brent Knoll.
At Brent Knoll the riders split into two groups. One heading home and the other heading out on a 'bonus' segment, in preparation for the Somerset 100 charity ride being held on the 15th of May.
Skirting Loxton, the course now took the riders into Winscombe, before turning towards Puxton, where they turned south and passed through Banwell. Now on the homeward stretch, the riders ascended into Hutton and onto the Weston-super-mare seafront. Now down to four riders, a diminished group took the old toll road into Kewstoke and returned to the start point.
The longest distance covered by the riders on this ride measured 90 miles with a total ascent of 2100 ft, the shorter route was just under 60 miles. More information about the Weston Wheelers can be found on their website http://westonwheelers.cc