June 24, 2011 by welshcyclist
Cycling home from work yesterday I met Neil Baker. I’ve seen Neil, though I didn’t know his name, on many occasions whilst commuting to and from my work. These past couple of months we’ve passed , each other going in opposite directions, but more often lately, he’d pass me while I was on route down the valley, with a quick hello, and then pass me going the other direction, before I got to Aberdulais.
Obviously he travels at a much faster rate than my rather sedate pace, on what looks like a mountain bike. I always thought to myself he was a very fit chap.
Which brings us up to date and yesterday. He passed me as I was leaving Aberdulais, when he was just arriving, and he turned round to cycle back up the valley in the same direction as me. As he passed me, I asked him what he was training for? He replied he was getting in condition for a sponsored ride, and sped on.
Then when I was arriving at Glynneath, about half an hour later, he was the opposite side of the road, adjusting his bike, so I stopped for a chat. We exchanged names, and he told me that nowadays, after a stint in the navy he was a long distance cyclist. He went on to explain that last year he cycled from the east coast of Australia to the west coast, alone!
My jaw dropped, and I said I’d love to do that. Neil said he was preparing for another long ride, and he was currently arranging sponsorship etc.. Meanwhile he was cycling up and down the valley several times a day, getting his fitness in order.
Sadly he’s not on the internet, I told him he should get a blog together, as it would increase his chances of sponsorship. He did the Australia trip to raise funds for Ty Hafan, a local hospice, well done Neil!
He recounted some of his experiences in the outback of Australia, camping at night on his own, fantastic stuff.
Anyway, for me he’s a real local hero,