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

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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

Easter Cyclists

There’s been some beautiful weather in Pembrokeshire over the Easter holidays.

Hirers have arrived back in Newport with the great post-cycling grins that make it all worthwhile for us.

As expected, the route over to the Gwaun Valley and back via ‘Bessie’s’ pub has proved the most popular. We also had good reports of a trip to Moylegrove with stop for lunch at Penrallt Ceibwr garden centre and superb view of sea and Preselis on the way back.

One of this season’s new 29er mountain bikes was put through its paces off-road with encouraging results – the comment:”It was so easy going uphill it felt like cheating!”

Thanks everyone – hope to see you again soon.

New Prehistory Cycle Tours

Local archaeologist, Helen Manley Jones starts her guided prehistory tours this Spring.

She will be running weekly car tours every Thursday, starting at Newport’s Tourist Information Centre and finishing with a visit to Castell Henllys Iron Age Village.

We are working with her on a bicycle version of the tours. The routes are not yet finalised – there is such a wealth of ancient sites in North Pembrokeshire that the possibilities seem almost endless. However, we are thinking in terms of three cycle routes to cater for different abilities/tastes.

More detail is on its way – we aim to have it all ready for Easter.

In the meantime you can contact Helen via her website ycwtch.com

A ride to Moylegrove / route maps and guides

Graham decided there was time for a road ride between the bands of heavy rain sweeping through Pembrokeshire lately.

Moylegrove is under 6 miles (9.5km) from Newport but feels more distant. You turn off the main road (A487) almost immediately to cross the Nevern estuary at the rebuilt iron bridge. After that the lanes are quiet and the views magnificent. The direct route takes you down a sharp slope into the pretty village centre. Nowadays the only cafe is at Penrallt Ceibwr Garden Centre. It is worth a visit if you don’t mind a steep climb to reach it. It is not far though – and think of sailing back down!

Another option, perhaps for warmer weather, is to divert down to Ceibwr Bay. The beach is a beautiful place for a picnic, a paddle or just to admire the superb rock strata on the cliffs.

Cliffs, Ceibwr

A view of the cliffs at Ceibwr

It is also enjoyable to wander off on a side road  – exploring tiny lanes is one of the pleasures of North Pembrokeshire. Having a good map is advisable as they don’t always end up where you might expect. On the other hand, if you are on holiday, you might enjoy getting a little lost. You can’t go too far wrong; the area is bounded on the one side by the Irish Sea and on the other by the Preselis (though you’d have to cross the A487 to get there).

We plan to prepare maps and short guides to popular routes for loan to bike hirers or to sell for a small price. This route will be one.

Although it is all on-road, people often ride it on mountain bikes for comfort and to make the short, steep parts less daunting.