Sunday 30 July 2006

Wales bike tour (including a crash!)

Blog Post Embargoed until Mum realises that Andrew is not phoning her from Australia, but is in fact at the front door.

Andrew came back from Oz this weekend and came to visit me. We had planned a 3 day motorbike tour round Wales with young Nons riding pillion on my CB500.

First thing we have to do is go and buy him a new bike helmet as I have enough bike kit to lend him except a spare helmet. So off we set on my and Wendy's bikes to TW Motorcycles in Kidlington to get him a cheap helmet. As we're cycling along the pavement, one moment I'm on the bike, the next I'm doing my best to fracture my wrist, sliding along the pavement. The seat had snapped off! There was one bolt holding the saddle on and it snapped clean through. I was damn lucky not to snap my wrist as I landed on my hand and scraped my elbow, shoulder, foot, ankle, knee (the one that is still sore from climbing fall) and my shoulder - ruining one of my fav t-shirts in the process. Lucky we were going real slow and on the pavement. If we'd been on the roads with one of those Oxford buses following us I would had been squished! I might start wearing a cycle helmet from now on. Also reminds me why I wear full kit on the motorbike. I have pretty sore grazes from that fall and I was only going <10mph!

Anyhow we got a pretty decent helmet for young Master Pea-head (size small - me size XL! lol!). I spend the rest of the morning setting up my new TomTom Rider on the bike and wiring it into the bike battery. Eventually we set off for Wales.

The first day is pretty hot and I think I have programmed the TomTom to take us on a particular route to Tenby. Unfortunately, TomTom outwits me and instead of going on the nice A40 route Brian made up for me (thanks Brian! - No Thanks Rina!), I end up on the M4! That is quite a bit off course!

wrt to the TomTom Rider and my Starcom Intercom, I was happy to find that I managed to get the two working together by plugging the Bluetooth unit into the audio port of the intercom. That way I got all the audio commands. I couldn't speak through the phone (although I could make the calls) so something still needs sorted out though. Starcom did well though and Andy and I were chatting about all things Aussie most of the way round Wales.

This has left me pretty jealous of life in Oz. I can't believe I have never even met so many of our relatives. It sounds like they have such a great life, so one day I will just head there and tell them to "show me everything you showed Andy".

Night 1 in Wales we stayed at the Youth Hostel in Manorbier, near Tenby. The hostel really was in the middle of nowhere. The room was decent, but somebody in there smelt of stale pi$$. Considering Andrew has been staying in hostels for a year, for him to think it stunk, must mean it was bad. Would have been nice if the guy running the place had told us when we booked in that we needed to pre-book breakfast. We had to make a 40min round trip just to get some bacon and rolls to cook!

The next day we rode around the roads between Tenby and Fishguard and saw some quite nice beaches and coves and little villages including Dale, where we had lunch. We also visited St David's cathedral and tried to eat there. Took about 20min in a tiny queue to get served - the place was so badly run. Basically we made our way up the Pembrokeshire coast. The weather was once again quite wet, but it was still fun.

Saturday night we stayed at the Hamilton Backpackers Hostel in Fishguard. The owner was quite sound at first and let me park the bike off road behind a gate and was telling me about his Bandit. He wasn't so sound when we wanted to pay him at 8.30am the next day so we could leave. He seemed pi$$ed off that people might want to A) Pay him, and B) leave. Once again looking to the benchmark Littlest Hobo, Andy said he was about the rudest hostel owner he had stayed with. Ho-hum, I'm sure as long as you don't pay or leave he is a barrel of laughs.

That day's riding had the potential to be great as we were on the roads we had missed by taking the M4, but unfortunately it rained very heavily and we got completely drenched in the morning. However, the roads were great - even in the rain - so that made up for it. This time my TomTom itinery worked fine!

Anyway, was a great ride! The first time I have attempted any type of tour in the UK. I think now I will try to persuade Wendy that she could handle a long ride (oo-err) and attempt to ride round South-West England. Might take more that 3 days that one though!

Picture gallery here.

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