Reflections of riding the Irish Sea Cycle Route.
From Newport, I take to the minor roads, the terrain is much different as I climb to the higher ground.
I like the certainty of a long climb, it’s a good opportunity to get into a rhythm. Glasses off, relaxed position, grab the lowest gear for good cadence and settle into a rhythm. I pedal to a heart rate (for health reasons), forced breathing helps with oxygen levels but it’s not a pretty sight, despite it’s effectiveness! I also have a no-go rate where I get off the bike, recover whilst pushing my bike to an easier gradient. All my riding is done in the saddle, never stood on the pedals as this pushes my heart rate way into the danger zone!
From sea level in Newport it’s a climb just short of 200m to the summit, further on is a steep descent into the village of Moylgrove. Over a quaint stone bridge amongst a cluster of Welsh stone cottages followed by a steep climb (a walk for me) to leave the village behind. Particularly steep around the hairpin bend, I have my head down, focussing my eyes in front of me. Once I have my breath, I find myself reciting out loud the desirable foods I will purchase later on; “strawberries, raspberries and blueberries to be washed in fruit juice, some vegetables pan-fried with chicken. It sounds delicious! I carry on in staccato. Suddenly I am in the presence of a couple of walkers enjoying my vocal performance as well as their walk. Well they are smiling! I bid them good day and press on up the hill, to everyone’s relief in silence. Moments like this, I do challenge (briefly) my state of mind!
An interesting steep descent, a tight switchback into St Dogmeals village then Cardigan. The regular visits to towns and villages at sea-level means regular climbs back to the higher ground. It’s ‘character building’.
Quiet roads through Gwbert, Y Fenwig then Felinwynt with a red telephone box marking the summit. Onto Aberporth and Tresaith before , for me, a highlight - Llangrannog. An unspoilt coastal village, quaint in its character and location, it is served by interesting narrow lanes that are a joy to ride.
statue of St Caranog, Llangrannog
Overlooking Llangrannog is the statue of St Caranog, this is a delightful, almost imposing spot. The open sea to the west is a beautiful green, the wind creating flashes of white surf making the surface glisten. A sandy bay flanked by sea cliffs, small waves are lapping on the beach and the village has encroached as close as it dare. A steep cliff road leads into Llangrannog where the sandy bay is dominated by a large sea weathered stack, Bica’s rock or Carreg Bica (‘the tooth in the legend of the giant Bica and his toothache’). Watch out for bottle-nosed dolphins in the bay.
Carreg Bica, Llangrannog
Good country roads through Llwyndaffydd and Maen-y-Groes bring us to the small seaside town of New Quay.
New Quay Bay
Places of Interest along the way
Eco Centre, Newport Poppit Sands, near Cardigan Butterfly Centre, Felinwynt Llangrannog St Caranog, Llangrannog Legend of Giant Bica, Llangrannog New Quay