Biking From Holyhead, Wales To Liverpool, England – Bicycle Touring Professional

by jpc_touring-bicycle

As scenic as Eire was at occasions, I used to be glad to now be in Wales. After per week of touring round Eire with my associates in a rental automobile, I had taken the ferry from Dublin, Eire to Holyhead, Wales (in the UK) and I had three quick days to get myself, my bicycle and all of my earthly possessions to the close by metropolis of Liverpool earlier than taking a prepare to Henley-on-Thames (close to London) and staying with my household associates, Jill and Shaun, who have been anticipating me.

The ferry journey to Holyhead was a simple (however costly) one. After I landed in Holyhead (on the very high of Holy Island), I instantly went to the close by Lidl grocery store and loaded up on meals and water. Then I obtained again on my bike and began biking south. The purpose for the day was to cowl as a lot floor as attainable in order that for the next two days I wouldn’t should rush to make it to Liverpool.

I’ve by no means been to Wales earlier than, so I wasn’t certain what to anticipate, however I appreciated it there virtually instantly. In comparison with the crowded, slim streets or Eire, Wales felt extensive open and relaxed. There have been far fewer automobiles on the highway and the streets went in a lot straighter traces more often than not. I may breathe once more!

After simply a short time I reached Britannia Bridge after which cycled throughout the close by Menai Bridge that takes you from Anglesey Island to mainland Wales and town of Bangor.

Houses in Bangor, Wales

Leaving Bangor was when the true bike touring enjoyable started. Quite than cycle alongside the shoreline, which is the really useful biking route, I selected to go uphill right into a steep, mountainous space not even mapped by Google Maps.

Narrow roads for bike touring in Wales

It was right here, close to Aber Falls, that I ran right into a Shepard escorting a couple of dozen sheep down the roadside. I pulled by bike to the facet of the highway, letting the person stroll his few sheep down the highway.

Earlier than I knew it although, there have been a number of hundred sheep in entrance of me and so they simply stored coming. I requested the Shepard what number of sheep have been coming down the hill (as a result of I couldn’t see up the highway – a bunch of bushes and bushes have been blocking my view) and I used to be knowledgeable that there have been a very good 2,000+ sheep being escorted down the hillside.

Counting sheep - sheep crossing

When, at first, the person instructed me that there have been 2,000+ sheep within the space, I didn’t consider him as a result of on the time I used to be solely taking a look at about 250 sheep. However then, proper in the course of the center of my dialog with the person, the roadside appeared to blow up with sheep. Each spare inch of the highway was coated in sheep. There have been actually 1000’s of sheep working previous me and my bicycle.

Welsh sheep

Sheep crossing road in Wales

After greater than a half hour, the sheep had all been ushered previous and I used to be lastly free to proceed up the mountain. It was beginning to get darkish now and I nonetheless had no thought the place I’d be sleeping that night time, or if any appropriate campsite may very well be discovered on this steep mountain highway.

And the highway to the highest of the mountain was certainly very steep. It didn’t take me lengthy to get to the highest nevertheless. And after I did finally make it to the highest, I used to be handled to some good climate, some spectacular views, and (better of all) I had your complete mountain to myself. There wasn’t one other particular person in sight!

Dirt road cycling in Wales

I discovered a spot only a hundred ft or so off the gravel highway on the high of the hill the place I may arrange my tent for the night time after which I set to work establishing my camp for the night. This spot, excessive on the mountain above Bangor, Wales was severely among the finest campsites I’ve had in my complete life. It’s moments like this that make me notice why I like bicycle touring!

Packing up campsite

I love camping handstand

The picture under exhibits the view I had from the entrance door of my tent. If I had had the time, I’d have stayed up there on the highest of the mountain for a number of days. It was great!

The view from my campsite in Wales

After a very good night time of sleep (and I used to be drained after waking up so early that morning to take the ferry from Eire to Wales), I packed up my bike and, slightly than biking down the mountain and again to the principle highway, continued climbing upward into the hills and east towards the city of Ty’n y Groes.

scenic cycle touring photo

Bicycle Touring Pro in beautiful Wales

The highway main away from my campsite was not a very good one. It was a gravel highway, with a number of steep areas the place I used to be compelled to push the bike uphill. However that is really the kind of bicycle touring that I like most – tough, technical terrain with no automobiles or folks to cope with. I may have gone on like that for days on finish and been very, very glad.

Pushing a loaded touring bicycle uphill in Wales

Following the facility traces that have been stretched throughout the mountain high, I merely adopted the highway because it led east. Crossing over a number of small streams alongside the way in which, I noticed dozens of sheep and horses all through the day and didn’t see one other particular person till someday earlier than lunchtime.

off-road bicycle touring in Wales

After I lastly reached the highest of the hill, I prepped my brakes for a protracted downhill descent. After practically 4 months of motorbike journey, my brake pads have been barely able to slowing (not to mention stopping) my closely loaded bicycle, however I pressed on… cautiously.

Sheep road in Wales

At one level the place the highway narrowed to such a level that just one car may squeeze by way of, I ready myself to go round a pointy left-hand flip, when abruptly a big purple van pulled out from behind the nook. He was headed proper at me!

I slammed on my brakes and realized they might be unable to cease me in time, so I turned the bike sharply to my left and purposely crashed my entrance wheel into a big raspberry bush on my left-hand facet. My legs and arms have been virtually immediately coated in blood. Raspberry thorns dug into my flesh and scratched dozens of lengthy purple traces into my legs and arms. The motive force of the purple van had seen me by this time, and he too had slammed on his brakes, stopping simply an inch or two from me. If I had not pushed my bike into the bushes at my facet, I’d have absolutely been thrown into the windshield of this huge van.

After I gave the driving force a “Whoa, that was shut!” glare, the outdated man behind the wheel casually rolled down his window and stated to me, “These slim roads aren’t excellent for biking.”

The remainder of the day went largely undocumented. After making it again to the principle highway and town of Conwy, I noticed simply how far I nonetheless needed to go. I positioned my bike alongside the principle highway heading towards Liverpool (the A55), put my head down and began pedaling. For what appeared like a number of hours I cycled alongside the shoreline whereas passing seashores, golf programs, ice cream stands, carnivals and lots of of cell houses. I didn’t cease biking, nevertheless, till I used to be within the tiny city of Mostyn. From there, I cycled uphill and pushed my bike down a protracted horse path to a flat and secluded space the place I used to be in a position to arrange my tent for the night time.

Bicycle campsite in Wales

The following morning I awakened early, packed all the things up and solely then realized that one of many bolts holding my rear rack in place had snapped off and was now caught in my bicycle’s body. Fortunately, I used to be in a position to merely transfer the rear rack down a gap, put in a brand new bolt and proceed on my approach. I must get that damaged bolt out of the body at another time!

Liverpool ferry crossing for bicycles

The journey from Mostyn to the ferry crossing at Birkenhead was a very good one, however not particularly memorable. I paid about 3.50 kilos to cross the ferry from Birkenhead to Liverpool after which had a couple of hours to kill earlier than I arrived on the residence of my host in close by Bootle.

Capital Building in Liverpool, England

I killed that point by grabbing a SUBWAY sandwich and consuming it in a park whereas listening to podcasts on my smartphone and studying a chapter from my e book.

Whereas I used to be sitting within the park, I regarded up instantly and noticed two younger, teenage boys down on the grass in entrance of me. I believed the boys have been simply playfully wrestling at first, however then I noticed that the bigger 15+ yr outdated boy was holding the smaller 13+ yr outdated boy on the bottom and attempting to choke him out. After 15 or so seconds handed and I may see the smaller boy being bent additional and additional backward, I made a decision to step in.

I used to be sitting solely 100 or so ft away, so I left my bike, went over and grabbed the older boy by the shoulder, lifting him off the boy he was holding on the bottom. The older boy had a giant welt on his face and it regarded like he had beforehand been crushed. With no time to assume I stated, “Get off him!” and the larger boy regarded up at me with a glance of shock on his face. However he didn’t rise up, so I stated it once more. Calmly, however louder this time. “Get off him!”

Each boys jumped up at this level and I may inform they have been each okay… if a bit of purple within the face. I gave them each the “evil eye” and didn’t say one other phrase. Then I calmly circled and walked again to my bike. The larger boy quickly ran off and the little boy stumbled to his ft.

I used to be shaking in the course of the confrontation (I don’t prefer to get myself into conditions like this) and shortly thereafter started to pack up my bike. As I did so, I observed that I had drawn the eye of an older man within the neighborhood who had been watching the boys “wrestle.” I walked over to the person and stated, “I wasn’t certain in the event that they have been simply taking part in at first or if he was attempting to choke the little man out.”

The older man simply laughed. “Yeah,” he stated, “The youngsters round right here play tough.”

Now with solely quarter-hour or so to get to my WarmShowers host on time, I cycled down a close-by canal bike path after which pushed my bicycle as much as the deal with I had been given by Ivan, the younger man who could be internet hosting me for the night time.

Simply as I regarded up from my bike and pointed myself within the path of his residence, Ivan got here driving up in entrance of me on his bicycle – his proper hand prolonged. I shook his hand after which he walked me inside his residence the place I met his girlfriend (Kotryna) and a good friend of theirs from the close by Isle of Man.

Ivan and Kotryna instructed me that they have been each from Lithuania and so they have been to listen to what I although of their nation after having cycled throughout it only a couple months prior.

With our introductions out of the way in which… and with such stunning climate exterior, Ivan recommended that all of us go on a motorcycle journey to a close-by seashore. I used to be kinda soiled and drained from a protracted day of motorbike touring, however I used to be up for some extra biking. So all of us jumped on our bikes, took a brief journey north on the prepare, after which cycled by way of the darkish to a close-by seashore.

Ivan, Kotryna and friend in Liverpool, England

Ivan and Kotryna at the beach in Liverpool


Once we made it again to Ivan’s home (effectively after darkish), I took a bathe after which went to sleep on my sleeping mat on the ground of Ivan and Kotryna’s bed room. I hope I didn’t snore too loud. 🙂

The following morning I woke simply in time to see Ivan go away for work (He works at a pawn store). I stayed a short time longer and spoke to Kotryna about her plans for getting a job in Liverpool after which I stated goodbye.

Someday round midday, I boarded a prepare that took me to London. I then took the subway to London Paddington station after which took one other prepare from there to town of Twyford. From there I pedaled my bicycle about 8 miles to the close by metropolis of Henley-on-Thames and was so very happy after I reached the small bridge that acts because the entry solution to the small riverside metropolis.

Within the picture under you possibly can see (on the very high) a photograph I took in Henley-on-Thames throughout my European bike tour in 2012. On the underside you possibly can see that very same bicycle in the identical actual spot, however this picture was taken on September 4, 2012 – greater than two years later. Identical location, totally different bike excursions!

Bike Touring in Henley-on-Thames, Oxfordshire, England

In Henley-on-Thames I spent two nights with Jill and Shaun (associates of my household who I additionally stayed with for 2 nights throughout my bike tour in 2012). Whereas staying with Jill and Shaun, they took me out to eat some Mexican meals and the next day took me to close by Blenheim Palace – residence to the eleventh Duke and Duchess of Marlborough and birthplace of Sir Winston Churchill. We took a tour of the home and the gardens surrounding the property.

Blenheim Palace

Blenheim Palace, England front door columns

Blenheim Palace interior entrance room

Gold room inside Blenheim Palace

Side entrance to Blenheim Palace

Shaun and Jill Stewart

Jill Stewart and Shaun Stewart

Then we returned to Jill and Shaun’s home within the night the place they spoiled me with a scrumptious home-cooked meal. They washed my garments, took me to the native bike store, and usually helped me put together for my flight to Romania. That’s proper Romania!

Vegetable and Noodle Stir Fry

Whereas my authentic plan was to spend two full months biking round Eire and the UK, I shortly modified plans after arriving in Eire. It was chilly, moist and depressing and I wasn’t certain if, after 4 months on the highway, I may deal with one other month of biking in these international locations (particularly after I don’t actually prefer it there (That’s proper – I’m not a significant fan of biking in Eire or the UK (I’ll have to clarify why in a future weblog publish maybe.))). So I made a decision that it was time for a relaxation.

Quite than cycle round Scotland for a month within the chilly and rain (like I had deliberate), I’d fly to Romania, hire an residence there for your complete month, and do some much-needed laptop work. It will be hotter, an entire lot cheaper, I may get some work completed, and I may get my vitality again. Power I would wish for the ultimate leg of my 2014 bike tour – a one-month-long bicycle tour across the island nation of Taiwan.

Keep tuned for extra info on that journey! I go away for Taiwan on October 14, 2014. Extra particulars coming quickly!


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Biking From Holyhead, Wales To Liverpool, England – Bicycle Touring Professional  
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