February 24, 2008 by welshcyclist
My cold’s alot better today, very few aches and pains, but still have a rasping cough. Went to bed early last night, and knew, when I woke at 05.45, I’d have to go for a ride. Lazed around in bed till 07.00, and got up with the winter morning light, not that you’d know it was winter, by the temperature, at any rate, very mild indeed. Anyway, I was out on my Subway 8 by 07.30, cycling locally for the first time in ages, I wanted to see how I’d react to my old haunts. I had decided to take it easy today, not that I ever go that fast or push myself very hard, but I thought it best after my cold.
I cycled up towards Pontneathvaughan, a long slow upward stretch, that used to tire me very quickly, when I first started cycling, but now I can manage it with ease, I rode up as far as the waterfalls. Here, I heard the rat-tat-tat of a woodpecker, chiselling a tree, I stopped awhile, trying to spot it, but no luck, it seemed as if it was teasing me. I’d hear a burst of rat-tat-tat, adjust my view, scan the trees, only for silence to reign, then when I’d almost given up, and decided to move on, another burst would come. 10 minutes of this passed and I failed to spot the woodpecker, so I can’t even say what type it was, they’re not that rare in these parts, but I’ve only ever seen one.
My ride continued with the return trip back from Pontneathvaughan, into and through the village of Glynneath, heading down the Neath river valley, towards Resolven. Following the main road through the village, by now it was 08.00, very few people about, just the odd one walking the dog, and getting the Sunday papers, and up to this point, I’d only seen 5-6 cars maybe. So I continued my lazy ride, past the Cwmgwrach drift coalmine to join the cyclepath which follows the canal all along the valley to Neath, and joining the National Cycle route 4 at Briton Ferry. The coal from the mines in, not only the Neath valley, but also Aberdare and Merthyr Tydfil, used to transported via the canal and rail links right into Swansea docks, when coal was king, as they say, days long gone now.
I didn’t go far along the cyclepath, sadly there some very muddy patches, which I didn’t want to get involved with, not today anyway, so I returned to the main road, heading for Cwmgwrach itself, I stopped at the McDonalds, on the roundabout, and a, not very good, cappucino. Then I cycled back through the village home.
All in all a nice easy ride, which has reminded me how good the cycling is to be had, in and around Glynneath itself. I was surpised to find, on checking the cyclecomputer, I’d done almost 12 miles, mind you it took me an hour and a half, a really gentle ride. I was fortunate, however, because now we’re having a deluge of rain, here in the conservatory, it is thundering on the roof, but I’d love to be out in it.
Until next time.