Friday, 8 July 2011

Motorway madness

Look at the map of the area between Swansea and Porthcawl and you'll see that the M4 motorway cuts a swathe through the countryside. Other major and minor roads also run in a general east/west direction. Hidden amongst this maze is a cycle route - NCR4. But try to find it when you're out there on the road. I carefully tried to follow the signs, but gave up when the last sign appeared to point me down a ramp to the motorway. So instead I took what I thought was the most likely alternative, only to wind up at the end of a rough track a couple of miles further on. So it was back to the point where I'd deviated and to choose the only other alternative that didn't take me on to the motorway. No more cycle route signs, but at least I was heading in the right direction. I eventually made it to Porthcawl, which on a dreary, windy morning, was nothing to write home about. At least the harbour was full of water; last time I was there the tide was out.

Pressing on, I arrived at the Penarth end of the Cardiff Bay Barrage at 17.00, where I met Chris Evans (Mike Page's future brother-in-law), who transported me and the bike to Mike's parents' house near Bridgend. There, Stephen and Marjorie welcomed me (although we'd not met before) and showed me to my room. Mike and family are expected soon (20.30) when we'll all have supper together.

After getting the third puncture yesterday, I've become quite neurotic about glass on the road. There's an amazing amount of it, usually just where the cycle goes. You don't notice this when you're in a car, but when you're cycling, you're looking at the road a few metres ahead. I can usually avoid pieces of glass by steering around them, but quite where the rear wheel goes is another matter; I think that's the reason all the punctures have been in the back wheel.

I've been very lucky with the weather today. Although it rained for the first hour, that was all. Other areas had showers, including Cardiff, but somehow I missed them. In fact the sun shone for most of the afternoon. The forecast over the weekend is for a gradual improvement. Well, it is mid-July and summer hasn't really started yet.

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