Cycle ride to Wales

Discussion in 'Cycling Training' started by Carrera, Feb 26, 2004.

  1. Carrera

    Carrera New Member

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    Hi!
    I have always wanted to cycle to Wales from my present destination and will have to do it this coming season. This may sound a bit silly but my main concern is direction and orientation.

    I estimate that a really good cyclist could do the trip in 4 hours. It takes about 2 hours by car. I'm expecting it will take me about 5 hours. I can crash with family for the night when I eventually get there but my problem is I'm not sure what the best route would be.

    I just wondered if there are many people who have just got on their bikes and cycled several hours to places they aren't 100% sure how to get to. Anyone ever get lost or have a mechanical breakdown? Has anyone even run out of steam and had to take time out at a cafe and rest? Anyone ever gotten lost and then lost time as a result?

    All in all, it will be quicker if I go on the large, main roads but I'd like to avoid these if possible and cycle on normal roads where I feel safer. I plan to carb-up on plenty of food before setting out and taking loads of fruit juice for energy. It will be 5 hours of all-out riding to try and reach the sea as quickly as possible.
     
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  2. wardie2000

    wardie2000 New Member

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    Hi,

    where abouts are you starting and whereabouts do you intend finishing?

    With regards to the getting lost and direction aspect, take a map. Also if in doubt take a mobile phone with you, and if you are unsure of where to go next ring someone who has access to a map, tell them where you are and ask which direction you should go.

    Do you intend doing the ride as training or just as a ride?
     
  3. Carrera

    Carrera New Member

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    I live in Staffordshire area but my aunt has another house in a place called Towyn, right by the sea.
    I've always wanted to try and get there on my bike and see how fast I can do it. Wales has some really nice scenery and it's far quieter than here. I'm kind of excited about the idea of burning rubber for a few hours and then catching sight of the sea. Should be fun.
    I'm not very good with maps at all and my sense of direction has never been brilliant. I thought it might be a good idea to try and plan my route somehow or maybe find someone who has done a similar ride to Wales from a similar destination.
    I'm going to make sure I take some spare tubes with me but, above all, I hope to avoid getting lost.
    I think that if I find I can get there really fast I may make a habit of it as a training run once in a while. But it will probably take me 5 hours of constant pedal-power and even six or more if I get lost.


     
  4. wardie2000

    wardie2000 New Member

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    Hi,

    i've cycled through bits of wales as training, and i agree the scenery is great.
    Living in the cotswolds i always go across the severn bridge. which coast is Towyn on?

    the way that i plan my routes is to use 'routemaster' or a similar package on the computer, and then print out the map with the route marked.

    try remembering place names on the route, so you will at least know you are going in the right direction.

    I agree it will be good training, do you plan to do it in the summer months?
     
  5. Carrera

    Carrera New Member

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    I live in a bit of a dump called Stoke On Trent, although Stoke is Robby William's home town - he moved to L.A. later on.
    I'll be cycling from Stoke to Towyn, which is next to Rhyl. At some point I may be mad enough to do the climb up from Abergele which is quite a hill.
    My fitness level will need to be improved as I'm not used to 5 hours on the bike. I'll train to get myself back into form and then just go for it, as soon as the weather picks up.
    I think I'll go via Chester but what confuses me is that cars tend to go on motorways which is something I can't do on a bike. The problem will be finding roads I can use where I'll feel safe. Till I work out a decent route, I guess I may have a few hitches but hopefully I'll make it and will feel pretty happy.
    I think the fun of cycling is just enjoying the scenery and skipping all those traffic queues. I'm curious as to how long it will take me.


     
  6. 2LAP

    2LAP New Member

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    Try stoke, crewe, nantwich, chester, Llangollen. Used to do this ride lots and offers quite a safe car free route into north wales. There are a few great cafes in gollen.
     
  7. Carrera

    Carrera New Member

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    Thanks for the suggestion. How long did it take you to get there?
    The way I planned to go last year was through Keele and straight on and then possibly turn towards Wrexam.
    I'll find a map and trace your suggested route. Cheers.



     
  8. limerickman

    limerickman Moderator

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    I've cycled this route and I would agree with 2Lap - it's not too busy traffic wise and the scenery is really lovely.
    Plenty of good climbs in the Chester Llangollen region (if you've the energy !) as well.
    Actually, Wales is a great place to cycle : good roads, plenty of climbs and the welsh folk are very very nice too.
     
  9. 2LAP

    2LAP New Member

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    I tell myself that every time I look in a mirror!!!!:D :cool: ;)
     
  10. Carrera

    Carrera New Member

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    Owch! I didn't think there were any climbs and was told the way there is fairly flat. I don't enjoy climbs when I have a long distance to cover. Climbs are fine but they slow you down a lot which is why I prefer to climb on my shorter runs.
    I'll have to try and see if I can plan a way to skip too many climbs. The way I considered so far is via Keele (which is a fair climb in itself). However, it flattens out into loads of scenic countryside and I'm told leads to a main road that offers 2 different ways to Wales (including Wrexam).
    My other option is the so-called D road on a quiet Sunday. This is like a motorway but bikes are allowed on the verges. On Sundays there aren't many lorries so some cyclists use these D roads.


     
  11. 2LAP

    2LAP New Member

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    The route out to Chester is fairly flat after Keele, but as soon as you hit Wales you will struggle to avoid hills completely. The main roads to Wrexham is fairly flat and the main road through llangollen (A5 I think) is *fairly* flat for the area (although still hilly in my book).
     
  12. Carrera

    Carrera New Member

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    I think I'd like to keep going till I reach Prestatyn and then have a break in a cafe somewhere. I'll try and avoid too much climbing if possible.
    I once did an experimental run through Keele last Summer and found it was all pretty easy once you pass the university. Talk about quiet roads! I may be mistaken but I think that had I kept going I'd have come to a choice of 2 directions, one that goes to Nantwich and the other that leads to Wrexam.
    Have you tried the route from Rhyl to Llandudno yet. This is a pretty hilly and very high-altitude run that overlooks the sea. I've seen very very few cyclists in this area which surprises me as it's so picturesque.
    What do you guys take for energy on these 5 - 6 hour cycle rides? Do you think glucose is good?



     
  13. 2LAP

    2LAP New Member

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    Did a 200km Audax from Conwey around bala, prestatyn, Rhyl and back. Its very hilly around there although the cycle path along the coast between Rhyl and Prestatyn was good fun!

    As for food... try taking some energy bars, energy gels and energy drinks with you on the ride. On long rides like that I like real food (jam sandwiches) & energy gels with plain water and before I was veggie I used to eat lots of jelly sweets (haribos or jelly babies). Mixing water with glucose isn't the best solution to 5 to 6 hours in the saddle.
     
  14. Carrera

    Carrera New Member

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    How long do you reckon it would take you from Staffordshire to Rhyl? I imagine it will take me around 6 hours but it could be more if I get a puncture or get lost somewhere.
    On the other hand, I may surprise myself and do it pretty quickly.



     
  15. Carrera

    Carrera New Member

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    Somebody who knows Wales recommended I should take the Flint road to avoid hills. This is apparently a coastal road and is quite flat.
    I'm not scared of hills but I think they will slow me down on a long ride and I want to set a good pace. I wonder if anyone knows this coastal road that goes in the direction of Flint?



     
  16. Carrera

    Carrera New Member

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    Somebody who knows Wales recommended I should take the Flint road to avoid hills. This is apparently a coastal road and is quite flat.
    I'm not scared of hills but I think they will slow me down on a long ride and I want to set a good pace. I wonder if anyone knows this coastal road that goes in the direction of Flint?



     
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