Cycling from Aberystwyth to Newport Parrog
Thwarted by the weather. Rewarded by the weather...
Believe it or not, this cycle tour actually started on the 27th December! The winter of late 2017 and early 2018 turned into one of the worst on record and I twice had to alter my plans to visit West Wales because of unusually heavy snow in all parts of the UK.
I rebooked for the first Bank Holiday in May expecting the worst and was rewarded with one of the best weather weekends in recent times. In fact, the early May Bank Holiday of 2018 was the hottest on record and I was cycling for the full three days. All of the costly ticket changes paid off and my perseverance to go was rewarded with warmly deserved sunshine after a tough few months in Rochdale.
Change of plan required...
The new plan was to catch the train from Rochdale to Aberystwyth in West Wales, cycle down the A487 to Aberaeron, through Cardigan before spending the night in the YHA youth hostel in Newport (not to be confused with Newport Gwent over 100 miles away near Cardiff!)
After doing some research on Google Maps and Streetview, I soon realised that my plan was flawed because the predicted good weather would have made the main A road very busy and I was due to arrive into Aberystwyth around lunchtime at the busiest time of day.
The main road is hilly and narrow with long 60 mph stretches with no real alternative for either cars or bikes to reach different parts of the West Wales coast. A solution to the problem was required and as ever, my trusty Brompton bike was the solution and an inter-regional public bus.
Taking the Brompton on the TrawsCymru...
The TrawsCymru bus network connects towns in Wales stretching from Bangor to Haverfordwest that are not served by a railway station in a bid to move people around the region easily and boost visitor numbers to towns along the way.
Amazingly at weekends, the bus is free due to a public subsidy by the Welsh Government (thanks Devolution!) and the good news was that my Brompton could travel too when folded down. I would then be able to avoid riding on the busy A road and pick up a quieter route further south!
I arrived into Aberystwyth after a pleasant journey from Rochdale with a short wait in Shrewsbury to change trains. I’ve always enjoyed travelling on Arriva Trains Wales services. I like the layout of the trains and the routes tend to be very scenic. Wide, panoramic windows and comfy seats allow passengers to enjoy the often spectacular views along the Cambrian Line.
Back to Aberystwyth...
I went on a day trip to Aberystwyth when I was at university and have fond memories of sitting in a once-ubiquitous ‘National Milk Bar’ fully decked out in the finest Formica whilst waiting for my return train to Birmingham in the pouring rain. I was now back in the town many years later and to be honest not much had changed except for a new retail park built in the ‘clone town’ style and a busy Wetherspoon’s had opened up in the train station.
For those interested in regional quirks, the Aberystwyth branch of the