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Oct 06

The Trevors’ Big Adventure

On an overcast day in early autumn, the Trevors and Trevorettes set forth on their biggest adventure to date. There was much celebration in the street by Donkey Lane as, first the Trevorettes and then the Trevors were waived off on their arduous journey to Aberdovey, turning their backs on comfort and heading off into the wilds of Wales. The first day was a test of endurance, a day of prolonged pedalling via twisty rural roads all the way to Rhayader, some 50 miles in all. The prospect was so daunting that an early stop for coffee at the Aardvark Bookshop was a definite necessity to bolster determination. It was also the first rendezvous with our excellent support vehicle, piloted by Sue Phipers and David Parry. Refreshed, the next stage to lunch at the George & Dragon in Knighton seemed a mere nothing, probably something to do with the lack of intervening hills. Not so the afternoon. From Knucklas there was plenty of up and down, over the top via Llanbister Road to join the A44 and thence to Rhayader. Unfortunately, the cyclists arrived too late to take advantage of the selected tea stop at Crossgates. The Trevors very kindly waited for us outside the firmly closed tea room door in order to let us know that they had had a very good cup of tea but that the shop was now closed. Very thoughtful. Our nights lodging, pleasant apart from some plumbing difficulties, was very welcome and our host set us up with a good breakfast for ….
Day 2. Although shorter than Day 1 (at about 40 miles), Day 2 represented a real challenge as most of it was up hill. Our total ‘ascent’ that day was about 3,500 feet; a long way up for senior cyclists! Even the mopeds had difficulty with the steepest sections (perhaps unsurprising). Luckily, it was a fresh, invigorating and sunny day. The first part was relatively gentle, following the Wye valley from Rhayader to Llangurig, along a very minor but very beautiful gated road that tested the Trevors’ ability to do two things at once – open a gate while preventing your moped from falling over. Coffee in LLangurig was welcome if a little mentally challenging because of the large number of safety signs all over the shop – “For your own safety don’t ….” touch the display in the window; lean on the mirrors; break anything; choke on your Welsh cake etc etc……. And then came the difficult bit: over an unnecessarily high hill towards LLanidloes, up the upper reaches of the Severn (almost to its source), through the Hafren Forest to Staylittle and then on up to Dylife – lunch. The cyclists were getting increasingly worried that they might be too late for lunch (like yesterday’s tea) due to slow uphill progress but fortunately the Star Inn still served us although we arrived after 2pm. There was also compensation for the uphill exertion because all the cyclists were treated to a sighting of a young Osprey in Hafren Forest, and a Jelly Baby from a passing kindly motorist! Two more miles of ‘up’ after lunch and then, joy of joys, eight miles of downhill to Machynlleth. The view from the top was stunning (including a glimpse of the top of Snowdon). No wonder it was a favourite spot of Wynford Vaughan-Thomas. By the time the breathless cyclists had reached the summit, the Trevors had befriended two ‘bikers’ (750cc BMWs) who were showing an unnatural interest in our 50cc super-machines. As it turned out, they were staying in the same hotel as us in Machynlleth and, pint in hand, greeted our arrival when we finally reached our night’s accommodation. Later, we met them in the bar, still pint in hand, when they decided to change to G&Ts. After supper in a neighbouring restaurant, we returned to the hotel to find the bikers just finishing theirs and an empty bottle of red wine on the table. They were clearly enjoying themselves. The hotel had an air and charm of aging provincial splendour – and more importantly, every room had a bath (soaking of sore derrieres for the use of)!
Day 3 dawned inclement. Luckily, we only had 15 miles to go to reach Aberdovey and so could have a very leisurely start – just in time to catch the worst of the rain. Our chosen route was via Happy Valley which, given the conditions, was not an apt name. It also included a severe ‘up’ near the start. Undaunted, the intrepid travellers reached Aberdovey on the dot of 12 noon and there, in the carpark on the sea front, were Mike and Amanda with their stock trailer – so our tired and overused transportation could have a lift home. While bicycles and mopeds, snuggled up in the trailer, caught up on the excitement of the journey, their riders decamped to a nearby sandwich bar for lunch. The hospitality of the lady in charge was quite overwhelming. She managed to fit eleven of us plus three dogs into a space approximately 9 feet square and fed us copious coffee and excellent sandwiches while we quietly steamed. About ten doors up was Seabreeze, our overnight accommodation and venue for our celebratory feast – an extremely good fishy treat. Much to everyone’s surprise we had reached our destination – and without any breakdowns, not even a puncture! (Merely a certain smokiness, blue in colour, emanating from T1’s exhaust).
Thank you to all our helpers, supporters and sponsors for making this ridiculous escapade so successful.
Matthew Brundrett