"S2S": Swansea to Sandhurst Cycle Ride
Swansea, South Wales to Sandhurst, Berkshire
15th & 16th July 2021
Hot on the heels of the King Alfred Way cycling experience, the Penguin Peloton saw another Breakaway led by the redoubtable Trevor the Navigator. A pleasant sojourn in the Gower peninsula culminated with a 180 mile cycle ride over 2 days from Swansea to Sandhurst.
Charlie B (L) and Trevor the Navigator (R)
prepare to depart Swansea Docks
An overcast dawn presaged a gentle 2 wheeled meander through Swansea docks via Fabian Way to Margam. It is difficult to understate the joys of cycling through the industrial nexus which is Port Talbot. Soon thereafter, however, we were greeted by the genuine delight of little explored rural South Wales. Notwithstanding the fact that one of the breakaway grew up in Swansea, some of the place names proved challenging. The delightful village of Hoel-y-cyw is one such. It is clearly not pronounced ‘Holy Cow’. The coffee stop was in the twin towns/villages of Bryncae/Llanrahan with lunch in an incredibly well organised COVID-proof pub called the Dragonfly in Newport (which both of us could pronounce).
We eventually reached Chepstow and transited across the old Severn Bridge. A roundabout tour of Bristol’s periphery through Frampton Cottrell and Yate saw us reach our accommodation, The Crown Inn, Dyrham conveniently situated next to the Fine Cheese company.
The following morning revealed a problem. Charlie’s rear wheel had a broken spoke and buckled rim (unsurprising noting the load it was having to bear). A quick trip to Chippenham Halford’s did not provide much succour. Devizes, the home of the Wadworth’s brewery, the birthplace of the magnificent 6X, was an entirely different story. The superb Bikes 'n' Boards shop, sourced and fitted a new spoke and unbuckled a very deformed wheel, whilst the Breakaway drank tea. Thereafter we traversed the Vale of Pewsey enjoying spectacular scenery, including the Alton White Horse, big skies, rolling countryside, the Wilton windmill and great tarmac. The Crown pub in Kingsclear provided a sumptuous lunch consisting of an enormous delicious fish pie and a pint of finest Pewsey ale. The journey culminated by eventually reaching Stratfield Saye, paying our respects to the Iron Duke and repairing to the White Swan and its extraordinarily peaceful beer garden in Sandhurst, for a pint of Amstel in honour of our staunch Dutch allies.
Ultimately a fun, demanding 2 day international ride allowing us to experience much previosuly unvisited, spectacular country side.
Charlie Beardmore, PAC President