My aim is to travel from the UK to Brisbane for one of my best friends' wedding. Plane travel is so environmentally damaging so I am looking for another way. I also think that by travelling over land and sea I will be able to understand our world better as I will connect with the people and landscapes and not just look at the departure board in the airport. Any tips gratefully received!! Departure date 1st September.

Saturday, May 19, 2007

Emergency Fish and the Windy Week into Wales

Day 19 - Bristol to nr. Ross on Wye 54 miles
Starting in the Bristol rush hour is not too fun, but is good to see so many cyclists in the city. Soon it is all forgotten as I am on the nice little cycle path to Pill. I take route 41 over the M5, around Avonmouth and past the new Severn Bridge (no cycle path) and then over the old Severn Bridge into Chepstow. I am feeling very emotional at this point as I have thought many times before about crossing the Severn and being back in Wales and now finally I am doing it. It is not for long though as my route takes me back into England for the rest of the day. My legs are so tired that it has taken me about 3 1/2hrs to do 25 miles, mainly on the flat but there is no real hurry so it is fine. The wind is still up and that is a pain though. I enquire about a few campsites but there is no room for me at anywhere except one where I can have cold water for £6. This seems crazy and so I find myself a comfy holly bush and sleep under that instead. My first cosy night thanks to Lewis's therma rest, thank you so much!
Day 20 - nr. Ross on Wye - nr. Hay on Wye
Up early to find the market in Ross on Wye but I don't need any supplies so onwards to Hereford to meet Kate and Adam. I am hours early but this is great as I get to explore the scary 22nd century public toilet (why does no one cater for people with lots of bags or even cyclist who want a quick wee but don't want to take all the kit off their bike every time...?) and explore the wonderful Farmer's Market in Hereford city centre. With new enthusiasm from my new accomplices we set off and slowly meander our way through the countryside to find our bed for the night, via a lovely pint of local cider.
Day 21 - Brewardine - Rhyader - 41 miles
All I can recall from this day was OW! The rain was coming on and off all day and although we had some beautiful views my body just said no. We finally made it to Rhyader and in the drizzle decided not to eat Tofu surprise on the camping stove but went for an (average) but hot pub meal.
Day 22 - Rhyader to Clywedog Reservoir
A short ride distance wise but hard on the hills. Following route 8 for most of the way we took in some lovely views and it was some great cycling (if you hadn't already cycled for 3 weeks in advance!) but there was no hurry and so we stopped for snacks and rests whenever anyone needed them. We realised that we weren't going to make it all the way home today but pushed on until we found a camp spot or our legs gave up which ever came first. After stocking up on a lot of food in Llanidloes, loads of sugar cravings we cycled to the Llyn Clywedog and made camp. After our tofu surprise and whisky to improve morale we settled down to sleep.
Day 23 - Coming Home
We woke to a lot of rain and so stayed in bed as long as we could sharing our breakfast through the tent flaps and making waterproof shoes. We finally had to brave the day and set off up the first of many hills. Only about 18 miles covered today in about 3 hours and it was hard. It was so worth it to get to the top of the 'Mountain Road' at about 500ft and then to have the cycle down past some of the most beautiful views in the world. As the rain came down hard in icy daggers we found new energy and hurtled towards Machynlleth. Stopping to hug the Machynlleth town sign we quickly went to the bike shop, The Holey Trail to say thanks for the loan and settled down to a welcome Quarry Cafe lunch.

Being back has been so exciting and overwhelming. More about this later on....and I forgot to mention the emergency fish too.......