I like my exercise. I still go every day. But once every few months, I get a bit restless and want to explore new territory. I had been really broadening my oeuvre in running routes, but in the end, the possible number of feasible routes from my front door is limited. In the wet season, it is more limited than ever. So for reasons of variation, and not making my poor long-suffering feet all do the work, I had already done several bike rides. I had started on the black bike, and followed up with that quite many times all in all, and even taken the road bike out for a ride once. But I was getting restless again, and I had spent months listening to the lovely routes Martin was routinely doing on his rather sophisticated mountain bike, so I decided to give my red bike a bit of a spin. This is my bike with the most off-road credibility. It actually is a mountain bike, but it is a bit old and rattly, and I don't think the suspension does much. But at least it is the only bike that has any semblance of suspension, and the frame is a lot smaller than that of my black bike. I wouldn't want to do rough terrain on that! That is accidents with the frame waiting to happen. I had been longing for it when I tried a new route to the big supermarket and the terrain became way too uneven for my poor gravel bike. It had been put to use as a bike for getting between Menai Bridge and Bangor, but out in the hills it would come into its own a lot more
The first thing I had to decide was how much protection I thought I needed. I didn't intend to go hell for leather, so I wanted to keep the risk of falling off low, but it's never zero, so protection was a good idea. After some pondering I decided on the somewhat unusual ensemble of my digging kneepads and a pair of gardening gloves as additions to my usual helmet and biking glasses. That would have to do.
Then I needed to do decide on a route. I figured my weekend off-road loop would do, with a few adjustments. It is a just under 6 miles loop around the nearest three hills. The quality of the paths is generally good so this might be a good place to start. It has some footpaths that are really not suitable for bikes (not in my world, anyway) at the beginning, so I needed to think of a different approach. So I devised a detour via Rachub.
|my improvised set-up|
|Crossing the biggest stream|
|The pass between Moel Wnion and y Gyrn|
|One of the easy stretches of the way down|