GUEST BLOG: Summer cycling in Cardiff

May 29, 2012 2 Comments »

Cardiff cycling blogger Simon Nurse cycle commutes daily, races cyclo-cross for Cardiff JIF, and edits the Odoni cycle blog at cyclestuff.wordpress.com.

From today, he is also yourCardiff’s guest blogger on all things bike in Cardiff, writing a monthly round-up of cycling news, events, and the best rides in the city. This month, he writes on the joys of summer cycling, and Cardiff’s upcoming cycling festival. You can contact Simon on Twitter @cyclestuffblog.

Summer has finally arrived (for the time being at least) and whilst the sun is shining, the coastline beckons. I simply can’t think of any finer way to enjoy a day at the seaside than arriving by bike.

We’re pretty blessed in South Wales. You’re never far from gently lapping seas and truly stunning coastline, or if it’s culture and cafes you seek, the thoroughly modern setting of Cardiff bay happily ticks the boxes.

Over the last few weeks, inspired by beautiful sunshine and soaring temperatures, I’ve been on a bit of a mission to experience fresh air and sea breezes, enjoying family outings to the Bay/Penarth and long solo rides along the Heritage coastline.

It’s completely liberating; unshackled from the car and given access to all areas. I can highly recommend it.

If the poor weather of recent months has kept your bike securely locked in the garage, perhaps now is the time to catch some of those rays and enjoy a ride or two along the (South) Welsh Riviera.

The allure of the coast isn’t the only attraction on the horizon. There’s an awful lot going on in June, with the Cardiff Cycle Festival arguably occupying top slot in the calendar.

Whilst slow to get out of the blocks (the ethos has a whiff of “Field of Dreams” about it – “Build it and they will come”) the festival is now starting to gather a definite momentum and new dates and events are being added all the time. Quickly scanning through the activities on offer, my standouts are:

  • ‘Real Cardiff by Bike’, June 20 and 22. Author Peter Finch will take you a’pyschogeographical’ cycle tour of Cardiff Bay. Featuring entertainment, history and poetry.
  • Adult Cyclist Training courses at the road safety centre in Maindy on June 17. If you’re one of the many prospective cyclists put off by tales of woe and safety worries (often seriously overstated!), what better way to strip those concerns away with a cycling skills session? Organised by the Cardiff council road safety scheme, pre-booking is essential.
  • Cardiff: One Planet Festival, Saturday June 30, City Hall and Kingedward VII Avenue, 10am –4pm. A melding of two separate events (the cycle festival and the one planet festival), there will be a “Cycle Chic” fashion show courtesy of cardiffcyclechic.wordpress.com, a punk bikes workshop, Dr Bike sessions (get your bike sorted by the very helpful people from Cycle Training Wales) and even a game of bike polo (very fun and technically tricky).
  • To keep abreast of these events, try the Cardiff Cycle Festival website for latest details.

June is also the month where the road season ramps up towards its summer climax.

If you’re the competitive type, you’ll already know all about the local criterium scene, but if you’re new to racing, this is the place to start.

Criterium races are fast, fun races on closed circuits, typically lasting around an hour.

Llandow (near Llantwit Major) and Pembrey (near Llanelli) are very popular venues. Often these events are organised at relatively short notice, so check the British Cycling website or ask at a good cycling shop. Cyclopaedia (Crwys Road, Cardiff) is the best for race kit and enquiries (029 20377 772).

Before stepping into the competitive arena however, I would recommend joining a club – where you can learn all about tactics, etiquette and approach – and I strongly advocate British Cycling membership for its reduced race entry fee and excellent benefits.

There is no finer way of honing your speed than racing in a crit.

I’ll be putting finger to keyboard again next month, but in the meantime, take full advantage of this glorious mid summer weather, there is no finer time to be sat on a saddle.

Whether you’re commuting, pulling the kids on a tag along, spinning in chaingang, mountain biking or touring; have a great time. The weather gods are – currently – smiling.

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