Cyclequest: have fun, help charities.

Newport’s informal cycling group has breathed new life into Cyclequest in recent months.

Entrants to the 2 Cyclequest events since its revival have contributed £35.00 to SANDS, the Stillbirth and Neonatal Birth Charity, in memory of Sylvie and £60.00 to the Alzheimer’s Society in celebration of Lorna.

People have relished the challenge and arrived back glowing after their 3 hours of bagging checkpoints on 2 wheels. Ian has updated the all-time points rankings – I will publish them asap as some riders are keen to know.

We plan to run future events for charities; ideas are in the air, too for a few changes, possibly including some to encourage runners as well as cyclists to enter and to encourage the less experienced rider.
Watch this space for updates; heartfelt thanks to all who have participated in any way.
Happy New Year.


Summer Cycling

Summer has arrived in North Pembrokeshire: we have had a few really hot days with real sunshine and the showers, though sharp, have been short.

Visitors and locals are out and about in Newport in increasing numbers but if you like quiet and amazing views, you can head up onto the slopes of Carningli: it is glorious.

Graham has been out with cyclists new to the area: they return with broad grins on their faces and plans to return.

Summer clouds, Carningli

A bright June day, Carningli

carningli jun 15a

Social Bike Ride this Thursday

We plan an outing from Newport on quiet roads – exact route will depend on who comes along – the aim is for everyone enjoy themselves.

We meet at Carningli Centre at 10.00 on Thursday 2nd April.
It is free of charge if you bring your own bikes, normal hire prices for ours (if possible, please let us know in advance if you wish to hire).

Hope to see you on Thursday.

Mike’s Spanish ‘Everest.’

Mike and Pete’s training for their epic bike ride from Seville to Santiago de Compostela across Spain continues apace: their flight is booked for three weeks today.

Pete has calculated that the total climbs on their route equate to just over the height of Mount Everest: call it 30,000 feet.

Whilst on the Beara in West Cork, Mike and Graham rode over the Healy Pass into County Kerry and back down to sea level at Kilmackilogue, before retracing their route to Adrigole. The Healy Pass road is not ridiculously steep but it is relentless: it snakes up via hairpin bend after hairpin bend after (yet another) hairpin bend.

View down the Healy Pass

View down the Healy Pass (Cork side)

At the top the mountains of Kerry suddenly appear. The road swoops downhill, passing Glanmore lake far below.

Looking down on Glanmore Lake

Looking down on Glanmore Lake

At lower levels the road passes through lush woodlands before heading out to Kilmakilogue Harbour on the North-facing coast, where a friendly pub is handy for a refreshment break.

Kilmackilogue Harbour

Kilmackilogue Harbour

The return trip is somewhat tougher, as the climb is steeper towards the top. However, Mike and Graham completed the ride in about 3 hours.

Total height climbed was around 2,000 feet. So, returning to the Everest comparison I mentioned earlier, that made one fifteenth of an Everest, likewise one fifteenth of the climbing on the Seville to Santiago de Compostela route – and all in 3 hours.
It looks more doable when  viewed that way – next year the Himalayas, Mike?

Mike and Pete’s big Spanish ride – training update

There are only 4 weeks to go before Mike and Pete set off on their mountain bike adventure across Spain. 1,000 km of back roads and tracks on plains and mountains lie ahead of them along the Via de la Plata, a lesser known pilgrim route between Seville and Santiago de la Compostela.

Graham (Carningli Bike Hire) is one of the group of friends supporting Mike’s pre-trip fitness drive, so on their recent visit to the Beara in South West Ireland a few bike outings were a must.

The peninsula is hilly: the Caha Mountains form its spine, with little flat ground between mountain and sea. Magnificent views across to the ring of Kerry to the North, Bantry Bay, South and the  Atlantic, West are breathtaking on a fine day – that is if the Atlantic gales have not already taken your breath away.

Checking the map

Checking the map

One route started at sea level in the fishing port of Castletownbere. After a stiff climb over the ridge, the West wind nearly blew them off their bikes on the track down past the abandoned copper mines to Allihies, in the far West. A German tourist took pity on them at the local shop, plying them with almond slices, which put the strength in their legs to take them along roads to ‘Town.’

Ready to ride to Allihies

Ready to ride to Allihies

Graham toils up

Graham about to feel the wind

A new season of cycling

17 years ago today, we moved to Newport, Pembrokeshire. Recalling the excitement, not to mention stress, of moving day reminds me that one of our reasons for coming to Pembrokeshire was the mild winters. We hardly ever have snow here. Even frost is a rarity some years (compared with Yorkshire, every year!).

It is still February but when the sun shines you can feel its warmth. Evenings are growing lighter, birds have started singing. Views are amazing because the trees are still leafless. It is a quiet time of year, but in Newport nearly every cafe, shop etc. is open.

So – ideal moment for an early season bike ride. Our first hirers of the season returned grinning after a 4+ hour off/on road extended tour of Cwm Gwaun (Gwaun Valley). They followed bridleways on the North West of Carningli and over into the valley. They met the legendary Bessie at her pub in Pontfaen before the only really hard bit, taking a stretch of pretty rough track up onto the Eastern slope of the mountain. The superb view down to the sea when you reach the top made the climb worthwhile, then it was downhill all the way back to Newport.

Why not try it?