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Rob Penn ride out

  • Posted by ade
  • 27 May 2011

Next Tuesday Rob is coming to Cardigan to start his ride from the coast to the Hay Festival. He's getting the train over to Carmarthen and then once he gets to Cardigan this is his very loose plan for his ride to Hay.

"Tuesday 31 May - 'Le Petit Depart':

Let's meet in Cardigan from midday, for a 2pm departure. We'll meet at fforest cafe, alongside Castle Street, on the banks of the Teifi River, beneath the howies shop.

Cardigan ain't easy to get to: the nearest train stations are Fishguard Harbour (about 20 miles away - and served by only two trains a day) and Carmarthen (about 30 miles - but 1 or 2 trains an hour). On trains beyond Swansea, the official bike policy is restricted to two bikes only: in practice, it's more flexible. Give me a shout with questions about bikes on trains. Carmarthen is obviously the easiest route in. It's quite a hilly ride if you want to pedal from Carmarthen to Cardigan.

If you'd like to arrive in Cardigan the night before, there are several great places to stay: try Llety Teifi (www.llety.co.uk) and speak to Clare, or fforest (www.coldatnight.co.uk).

Setting off from Cardigan, we'll ride 25 miles to just beyond Llandysul, following the Teifi River for the most part. There are a few steep hills, so be ready!

Sleep @ Nantgwynfaen Organic Farm (http://www.organicfarmwales.co.uk/): this is booked for us as a group. Accommodation here takes various forms - bedrooms, the 'Glamour Van' and tents if need be. We'll play spoof to see who gets what. There's a pub down the road for dinner, although Amanda has offered to throw a bbq. We'll plan food nearer to the time when I know numbers.

Wednesday 1st June

35-40 miles, mainly following the Teifi Valley, much of it on Sustrans route Lon Teifi. We'll have a picnic somewhere on the river, an ice cream at Conti's Cafe in Lampeter, a pint in the old drovers pub, Talbot Arms in Tregaron and stop for a bit of bird watching on Cors Carron. For those with juice left in the legs, there's a lovely ruined medieval Cistercian abbey at Strata Florida, a couple of miles beyond our destination.

Sleep & eat @ The Black Lion Hotel (www.blacklionhotel.co.uk), Pontrhydfendigaid (small prize for the first correct pronunciation): PLEASE BOOK ROOMS DIRECTLY with Dominic: 01974 831624

I've reserved four rooms in my name: Dominic will release them on a first come, first served basis. Please get on and book this.

Thursday 2nd June

30 miles, over the top of the Cambrian Mountains to Rhayader: this is a stunning day's riding. There's a long pull on to the tops of the hills, but it's worth it. The landscapes and views are wonderful and the descent through the Elan Valley is breathtaking.

Sleep (and maybe eat) @ The Elan Valley Hotel (www.elanvalleyhotel.co.uk). Speak to Cari - 01597 810448. Again PLEASE BOOK THIS DIRECTLY. There are other a few other options in Rhayader if you don't want to stay here.

Friday 3rd June

An early start for the 35 miles, following the Wye Valley, gently down to Hay. There are a few hills, but it's another lovely ride. I have to be there at 2.30, to give a talk at the Literary Festival. That's really where it ends... Accommodation during the festival is hard to come by.

We'll be pedalling light. Bring tools etc. Do, please, bring a spare tube or two that fits your own wheels. There are bike shops in Carmarthen, Cardigan and Rhayader. Bring some cash: we'll run a kitty for picnics etc.

Look forward to hearing from you and really look forward to riding with you. I leave you with this lovely quote from American poet and author, Diane Ackerman: 'When I'm on my bicycle, the world is breaking someone else's heart.'

If you fancy doing a bit, it's going to be a slow ride to Hay. We have our quiver at the ready.

How Far Can You Go?

  • Posted by ruben
  • 27 May 2011

Chris, an ultra-running-machine friend of mine just sent this video to
help with post-marathon inspiration.

Next week we're going to head out and run 16 miles of trail.

So the next adventures in running begin.

Hugo and Pete from SAS came up to our Cardigan HQ to build a plan about us (that includes you) helping with their annual fund raising raffle.

howies are giving away the headline prize and we will be asking you our whole database to sell tickets to help hit their target of £20,000.  Last year they raise £12,000, so we have a mountain to climb this time.

As well as howies kit, there will also be hand made wooden boards,

These are some reasons to get involved;

90p in every pound raised goes to fighting their causes.

They directly lobby industry with solutions to the problems they are causing.

Their support comes from many other users of the coast. Walkers, runners, body boarders, kite surfers, sun bathers, swimmers and dog walkers.

They are working as hard to prevent marine pollution, climate change and litter as much as sewage.

They are have a network of reps all over the UK who give their time to campaign, raise money and awareness and get hand on help to beach clean.

So when the time comes all we ask of  you is to sell a few raffle tickets to your friends and send the cash to SAS and we will give you regular updates on where we are, Blue Peter style.

And if you can spread the word over your social network to spread the word, we have the potential to give them the cash to campaign the hardest they ever have done.

And you could win an amazing prize.

26.2 miles

  • Posted by ruben
  • 24 May 2011

On Sunday, I ran my first ever marathon up in Edinburgh.

26.2 miles. At least 4 miles further than I had ever run before.

Towards the end, every mile felt like an impossible distance.

By 22 miles, I was sure I'd give up at any minute. How could I keep going?

When I saw the finish line ahead of me, I couldn't quite believe I'd done it.

10k: 51 minutes
Half marathon: 1 hour 47 minutes
30k: 2 hours 43 minutes
Marathon: 4 hours and 17 minutes.

Just got this video through from Mr. Matt Page.

It's a great insight into what goes on at a 24 hour solo MTB race.

Inspiring stuff.


  • Posted by ade
  • 23 May 2011

Dashed out the house in the the pouring rain on Saturday to the shed to get a drill and heard ducks quacking that quack where you know somethings not right.

Thought the fox might be chancing his tail with our chickens, and so did our terrier who shot off in that direction.

Worried he might eat the ducks if there were any I followed.  Looking up our river I spotted a big bird stood on the edge of the river and 4 ducks making haste downstream.

I went down to have a look and it turned out to be a big wet and very dishevelled Buzzard which just lay flat on the floor as I got close. Once I had picked it up I realised how big it's beak was and how long and sharp its talons.

I got it back to the shed, popped it into a cat basket where despite it's poor state it had managed to catch a duckling which it dropped. We took it and the deceased to the vets in Newcastle Emlyn.

Nothing was broken but it had a large scab above it's eye, it's 3rd eyelid was split, but the globe of the eye was fine.  We chatted about cutting some of the flappy scab off as it was obscuring the forward sight of the bird, but birds have poor circulation in their skin and if it bled it would take a long time to heal.

So with an injection of antibiotics to help the wound we headed home to nurse it through the bad weather with a little shelter and food.

It spent the night in the shed in the dogs cage eating duckling and chicken breast and shitting out the cage onto my bikes.

Sunday was fine weather, and after an hour outside in the sun it looked ready.

Blankets off, cage open, engines on, left flaps, right flaps..Then it flapped, flew, hopped, flew and bumped across the field to the woods where it was joined in a tree by another.

Cross fingers.

Boxes of Gold

  • Posted by hollie
  • 20 May 2011


Just heard from Ade down at the sample sale in London, sounds like it's all going really well, lots of people grabbing some gold.

We're sending down another nine boxes full of delicious bargains which will hopefully arrive by tomorrow morning, so even if you've already been down - it'll be worth another visit!

busy busy

  • Posted by ade
  • 20 May 2011

It was a classic crazy start to the sample sale.

Big queue, a rush once the doors opened and a fair few hundred people through the door.

Scott and James served the queue for 4 straight hours, Jack re hung stock and James and me spent 4 hours hanging new stuff on hangers.

If you are coming down over the weekend we are going to get Cardigan to send us up another delivery to see us through Sunday.

And there is plenty of gold left.

Sample Sale is GO

  • Posted by ruben
  • 19 May 2011

Just got this from Ade and Co. down in London. The calm before the storm.

They are opening the doors right now and the sample sale will run until Sunday - so if you are in the area at all over the next few days, make sure you pop down there to see if anything tickles your fancy.

Click Here for Location and Opening Times

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