We seized the chance over the Easter long weekend to try something new, and what resulted was one of the most satisfying and refreshing short breaks I have ever had. With the prospect of two weekends of international flights ahead (a wedding in Hungary followed by a trip back to Australia), I really couldn’t stand the thought of being cramped in a bus, train or plane. So I came up with the slightly crazy idea of riding the entire length of the 88 kilometre Taff Trail over the weekend – and my boyfriend, supportive as always, went along with it.
So how did it go? As you can see from the pictures, the scenery was nothing short of spectacular (actually the photos really don’t do it justice). However, it was definitely a challenge and I learnt some lessons for the next time that we decide to take an adventure by bike.
Tip 3 – Check the weather. Turns out there was a yellow weather warning for storms on the first day of the ride. We didn’t realise this until the last minute, and even then decided not to reschedule because we wanted to take advantage of the bank holiday. But if you happen to find a sunny weekend in Wales, definitely choose that one for the ride! I have never felt so miserable riding down a hill as on the last 25 kilometres of the ride to Brecon, because we were so cold and wet. Nothing a hot shower couldn’t fix though, and we certainly felt a sense of achievement afterwards.
Tip 5 – Stay positive. We knew it would be a long ride so from the outset I was very conscious of staying positive and appreciating the scenery. It helped that we set out with the mindset to enjoy the journey, rather than focusing on the destination. Riding up an unrelenting hill on a gravel path for 10 kilometres at the start of the ride home was made much easier by making jokes, singing and exclaiming at the snow covered peaks which had been covered by mist on our way there.
- UK National Cycle Network Official Site – a lot of useful information, including online maps.
- Cardiff by Bike – a blog about cycling in and around Cardiff. My trawl of the archives prepared me for some (but not all) of the tricky parts.
- If you are visiting and need to hire a bike, Cardiff Pedal Power are a Cardiff-based cycling charity that do bike hire among other awesome things.