Ode towards Wales

Our own bard-of-the-bike Matt Howes penned this homage to the recent Weekend to Wales, which he rode on his Pan-European. Thanks, Matt, for sharing your contemplations on the ride to Snowdonia

Ode towards Wales

Full tanks of fuel and we’re off
Well, maybe not….
A run across the forecourt
Oil smeared from the back tyre
And this time we’re gone
West towards Brum
… and fun

Winding roads, open skies
Noisy exhausts
Tractors & trailers, mud on the road
Keep Left signs, roundabouts
Slow down, speed up
Roll on, roll off
Out & round, out & round

West Midlands a hard slog
Road works, traffic lights
Garage food, garage loos
A detour or two
The SatNav defects and U-turns required
But we are all smiles
As today, no work is required

We are moving again…
As the Borders approach
Sunshine and dry roads
Twisties; what a delight
But then the rains come
and the SatNav recoils
Wet leathers, no view…..

We stop for a drink
And siphon the python
Or water the plants in a field by the road
We reprogram the SatNav
Back on the bikes we get separated
2 to the left, 2 to the right
Oh well, only 20 miles to go

Fueled once again with petrol & coke
Caked in road spray
We get to the village &…..
Surprise; 2 come from the left
We meet once again for the final 2 miles
Dolgellau here we are
Park up, clean up, the proprietor says Hi

Hang up the gear it’s time for a drink
Leathers in the drying room causing a stink
But who else is here ?
3 bikes came before us
2 arrived in a car
2 bikes come later
11 beers please, ‘Iechyd Da’ !

19:30 arrives & time for the meal
We sit at the table, but….. hang on
One person is AWOL
He never arrived
As he fell from a ladder
and injured his pride
A toast to our fallen comrade !

Tomorrow we ride into the mist
That’s another story…
For now you get the gist
Roll on, roll off
Peg down to the left, peg down to the right
Overtake that big lorry
Drink coffee and peeeeee !!

Weekend in Wales

An imposing Victorian house stands sentinel before the bend on the Bala road, announcing the end of the long journey to the Bikers Retreat. In twos & threes the 9 bikes found their way to Dolgellau, Snowdonia National Park. After some careful motorcycle Tetris all were squeezed into the covered bike shed, with one accompanying car left forlornly in the rain

Hosts Nigel and Tiv made us welcome for three nights, providing comfortable rooms, home-cooked evening meals and biker-friendly full Welsh breakfasts. Accomplished riders themselves, on Saturday Nigel and Tiv book-ended a challenging loop through Bala, the Llyn Brenig Reservoir (the Visitor Centre offering refreshments with beautiful views over the water), and the former Llechwedd Slate Caverns. The clouds gathered in the afternoon, and at altitude we were soon enveloped in drizzle. With rain settling in for the rest of the day, Nigel led us back using the direct route to Dolgellau via the A470

Evenings were spent in the cosy bar, where ale, Guinness, cider, wine and improbable tales were enjoyed. Precipitation was forecast, but its variety – mist, mizzle, drizzle, showers & occasional rain – caught some by surprise. However, the scenery is breathtaking (if you have time to glance at it) and the roads are extremely well maintained and afford great grip. True, there is the odd sheep wondering whether to cross the single track road under your wheels to nibble the greener grass on the other side, but this is terrific biking country

Thanks to Martin Pinion for suggesting this weekend and to Janet Pinion for organizing it