South Wales Ride - Bimblevonslow

Went to a scooter meet and took loads of photos? Post them in here for all to see.
bimblevonslow
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South Wales Ride - Bimblevonslow

Post by bimblevonslow » Wed Mar 27, 2019 7:24 am

I needed to make a visit to South Wales at the weekend and as I had Monday and Tuesday off work I thought why not take the scooter and then pop up to to Snowdonia National Park for a night's camping.

Managed to get everything packed into the Xmax 250, squishing all the camping stuff and clothes either under the seat or in the topbox. It wasn't necessary to use my tunnel bag for this trip as I was doing it solo.

Me and Xmax at the off:

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Saturday 23rd March - Stansted to Caerphilly (210 miles)

The weather was settled when I left home at 10.00am from west Essex. The satnav was configured to avoid motorways so it would be 'A' and 'B' roads (and some offroad!) all the way for this mini adventure. Today was not to be a sightseeing day as I've driven this journey to Caerphilly numerous times in the car. It was head down to get to Caerphilly as soon as possible.

I zipped over to Hemel Hempstead to join the A41 to Aylesbury. Then wound my way to Oxford to get on the A40, which took me on to Gloucester. From Gloucester it was down to Chepstow on the A48 alongside the River Severn. The final leg took me through Newport, past the transporter bridge, and out the other side to my destination today, Caerphilly. I stopped once for fuel and a quick break in Gloucester.


Here is Caerphilly Castle:

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muddyfox
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Re: New member from Essex

Post by muddyfox » Wed Mar 27, 2019 1:00 pm

Thanks for sharing. Is the scooter still better than your BMW ?
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bimblevonslow
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Re: New member from Essex

Post by bimblevonslow » Wed Mar 27, 2019 1:24 pm

I don't have any regrets about selling the BMW. The little Xmax is proving itself to be every bit as capable. Perhaps the BMW would be better for long distance motorway riding, but motorway riding isn't my thing.

bimblevonslow
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Re: South Wales Ride - Bimblevonslow

Post by bimblevonslow » Wed Mar 27, 2019 2:28 pm

Monday 25th March - Caerphilly to Beddgelert (185 miles)

After a nice couple of days with family and friends it was time to bid farewell and continue my trip to north Wales.

Up through the Rhymney Valley past the rows of stone terraced houses built for the mines. I was brought up here so many good memories were resurrected. Joined the A471 dual-carriageway to Merthyr Tydfil, which was a culture shock having been on the slower back roads. From Merthyr I decided to take the scenic route through the Brecon Beacons avoiding the fast A470. Instead my route took me past the steam railway and around Ponsticill Reservoir and Talybont Reservoir. Instantly, I could tell that I was in the Beacons. A strong wind appeared from nowhere and the temperature dropped 3 degrees to 7c.


Pontsticill Reservoir. The wind was strong and the waves were bigger than they appear here:

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There are some established pine forests in the Beacons:

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But mostly it's bleak and barren. The SAS don't train here for nothing!

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Didn't see any other cars. Didn't see any other people:

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Had a fantastic all day breakfast in Brecon before continuing north up through Builth Wells and Rayader.


Daffodil road:

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Clywedog Reservoir. Just outside the picture is a coach load of tourists that turned up for the view as I arrived!

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After Dolgellau you know you are in Snowdonia with the mountains all around. At this point I made a navigation error. I had researched some campsites before leaving home. My plan was to turn right at Beddgelert and follow the road for a bit with an option of two campsites. Confident with this knowledge I turned off the satnav. To cut a long story short I ended up on a completely different road at the northern side of Snowdonia. I found an open campsite though by accident, which turned out to be excellent. The showers were hot and clean. The only downside was a 20min walk to the pub for dinner along a narrow lane (the locals drive fast around these parts!).

Was tucked up in my sleeping bag by 9.30pm listening to some chill-out music. Bliss. Fell asleep quickly.


I had the campsite to myself. The temperature was 2c when I woke up so maybe that was the reason:

Image

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Re: South Wales Ride - Bimblevonslow

Post by Alanzzg » Wed Mar 27, 2019 2:55 pm

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Can't wait for are Wales trip .
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mottza
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Re: South Wales Ride - Bimblevonslow

Post by mottza » Wed Mar 27, 2019 3:18 pm

Luck with the weather!

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Re: South Wales Ride - Bimblevonslow

Post by bimblevonslow » Wed Mar 27, 2019 3:42 pm

Tuesday 26th March - Beddgelert to Stansted (285 miles)

I was awoken by noisy wildlife around 6.00am. It was toasty in my down sleeping bag so I didn't want to get up. After an hour or so of thinking about it, I eventually did. The Trangia was fired up (I was in no rush!) to boil some water for coffee. Glad I brought a cafetière. After packing the damp tent away and reloading the bike I was away by 9.00am.

Today would be a long riding day to get home to Essex so there would be no sightseeing. A few miles on to Llanberis and then a slow crawl up and over Pen-y-Pass. The views were amazing but wouldn't like to breakdown here!

Road to Llanberis. You can see Caernarfon and Anglesey in the distance (if you have a magnifying glass):

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Llanberis with monster peaks in the background:

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Approaching Llangollen.

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Once in England (after showing my passport at the border!) I decided it was time for lunch. The satnav brought me into Whitchurch where I found a quaint little cafe. Although car parking was in short supply there is always space to squeeze in a scooter somewhere. After lunch it was back on the road for an uneventful but slow journey home through the scenic sites that are Stoke-on-Trent, Derby, Leicester, and Bedford. Why does my satnav do this! I can't figure out how to configure it to avoid town/city centres. Anyway, I arrived home at 8.30pm cold and tired.


Conclusions
- Had a fantastic time
- The Xmax didn't miss a beat but it probably is due a service
- Snowdonia is spectacular
- Mild winter / spring camping on the bike is doable and enjoyable if it's not raining
- Bring plenty of warm clothes
- Riding in the dark on fast unlit 'A' roads is not very enjoyable
- Town centres are best avoided (especially in rush hour)
- My comfortable riding distance limit is around 200 miles a day in these conditions. Day 3 was pushing it, especially in the dark and cold

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Argyll
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Re: South Wales Ride - Bimblevonslow

Post by Argyll » Wed Mar 27, 2019 4:19 pm

Really good report with excellent pics !

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Re: South Wales Ride - Bimblevonslow

Post by rayb » Wed Mar 27, 2019 5:37 pm

Next time your in Whitchurch, try Lynn's Raven Cafe :) https://www.facebook.com/Lynns-Raven-Ca ... 567090938/

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StephenC
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Re: South Wales Ride - Bimblevonslow

Post by StephenC » Wed Mar 27, 2019 5:38 pm

Very jealous. Hope I'll be able to do similar when I've retired.
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