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.