John and I have done done plenty of hiking and running challenges in our holidays but, over May half term, we’re doing our first cycling challenge. Lon Las Cymru is a 254-mile cycle route from Cardiff Bay to Holyhead. It runs through the South Wales valleys and the mountains of the Brecon Beacons and Snowdonia, before passing estuaries and crossing the Menai Straits to reach Anglesey. We then have an extra 19 miles to Amlwch to stay with our friends, Kath and Dewi.
We take the train to Cardiff on Saturday. Only 2 bikes are are allowed on a train at a time but, over the past few months, we were constantly told we couldn’t make bike reservations yet, which meant we couldn’t book train tickets either. What is the point of paying for tickets and arriving at Rhyl to be told, sorry the bike places have already been taken by someone who got on in Holyhead?! In the end, Mike and Katie at Rhyl train station have been fantastic, constantly checking whether the bike tickets had been released, and reserving 2 places for us as soon as they were.
After cycling 8 miles north from Cardiff Bay on the first day, the rest of our trip is split into 6 sections, each 40-50 miles long. If we then cycle back home to Rhuddlan, this will be another 58 miles, but I’m not sure that will happen. The train is definitely an option!
- Coryton 8 miles (8 miles)
- Brecon 46 miles (54 miles)
- Rhayader 49 miles (103 miles)
- Machynlleth 37 miles (140 miles)
- Porthmadog 48 miles (188 miles)
- Dwyran 45 miles (233miles)
- Holyhead 21 miles (254 miles), South Stack 7 miles out and back (261 miles) and Amlwch 19 miles (280 miles)
- Amlwch to Rhuddlan 58 miles (338 miles)
All our hotels and restaurants have been booked, and we’ve checked that everywhere is happy to store our bikes and let us recharge their motors. The planning has been more difficult than previous trips because of Covid regulations. It was only quite recently when restaurants were allowed to serve indoors, that we were sure the trip could go ahead. I refused to carry a tent, sleeping bags and cooking gear!
We’ve been doing progressively longer and harder bike rides and, over the last bank holiday, we practised carrying all our kit, on a 3-day trip to Llangollen (see my previous blogs). Our bikes have been serviced and, this week, we’ve started packing, trying to keep the volume and weight of our kit as low as possible. We feel reasonably prepared and excited to get started, although I’m still nervous about it… how will I get on?