Friday, 24 April 2015

Chester to Chepstow - January 2006

Chester to Chepstow | Travel
by John Davies

There was an old man from Glamorgan
Who could not play a tune on the organ
So he got on his bike
And round Wales did hike
Till he returned once again to Glamorgan

Quite unexpectedly on a dreary January day my son, Ian, said to me, “Hey Dad, what about that bike ride you’ve been talking about? When are you going to do that?” Good question, when am I going to do it?
It’s something I’d thought about for many years, but other things kept getting in the way. It lodged in my mind though, so after a few days gestation I decided to start planning for it straight away. After all, at 57 years of age with the old knees playing up, if I left it any longer I’d probably never do it.
The journey was initially a vague notion of getting to somewhere in North Wales by public transport, then somehow cycling back home to Port Talbot. After a bit more thought I decided to cycle from Chester to Chepstow. Not the direct north-south route, but roughly following the  Welsh coastline  along the north coast through Anglesey, Llyn, Cardigan Bay, Pembrokeshire and eastward across the south coast.
I worked for BP Chemicals in Baglan Bay for more than 30 years. For the last 16 of those years I cycled to work come rain or shine. The bikes I owned at this time were a Raleigh mountain bike and a GT lightweight road racer. Neither of them were suitable for the trip I’d planned, so this meant buying a new one specifically designed for touring.
I’m not an expert on bicycles, I just enjoy riding them. I had no experience of touring at all, that was why I contacted my old friend Geraint Griffiths. He is a Veteran of many cycling trips to Ireland, amongst other places, and was able to offer me some good advice.
I first met Geraint back in 1960 when we both attended Glanafan Grammar School in Port Talbot. Our mutual interest in music and cycling brought us together. We rode many miles together and in 1965 joined a short-lived rock band where Geraint first displayed his considerable talent as a singer and guitar player. We couldn’t decide on a name for the band so we became ‘The Undecided’. My budding career as a rock star ended with the demise of the band. Geraint went on to become a much-respected star of Welsh language music, television and radio.