Bristol to Barry Island - 22 July (night ride)
Ride leader: Steve
Calling all pontists! The fourth edition of this ride takes in iconic landmarks, beautiful countryside, rivers, estuaries and two countries. Aficionados of industrial architecture and Gavin & Stacey are in for a treat.
We depart College Green in Bristol at midnight sharp (gathering by the moat in front of City Hall), meeting 11:40 pm for registration and the interactive safety briefing. This is the start location.
Our exit from Bristol city centre starts with the necessary evil of a short-but-sharp climb up Park Street, which is the quickest route to Clifton Suspension Bridge and out of the city.
From there, we descend gently towards the coast, before crossing Avonmouth bridge and onto quiet lanes all the way to the Severn crossing, pausing for a 'splash and dash' at Aust services. Having shown our passports at the border, we re-group in Wales, taking swoopy lanes and some short sections of perfunctory main road, descending to the estuary, of which there should be glimpses in the moonlight.
We take our refreshments at McDonalds, before crossing the Usk via Newport City Bridge, re-gathering to admire the historic Transporter bridge. We then head south to the coastline, all the way to the industrial outskirts of Cardiff. Negotiating the city centre, we head for the Millennium Centre, passing the Norwegian church and onto the cycle path before crossing Cardiff Bay via the barrage. Re-gathering in Penarth, we skirt the steepness, before the final few miles to Barry Island (aka Barrybados). Breakfast is available from 8am.
Overall, the ride is about 70 miles and not too hilly.
Getting to Bristol:
The start point in Bristol is about a mile from Temple Meads station. This route will get you from the station to the start.
Barry to Cardiff:
I’m indebted to a Fridays regular who discovered that bicycles are not permitted on services arriving at Cardiff after 10am on Saturday mornings. We suggest one of the following:
Get a train arriving back in Cardiff before 10 am (three services per hour)
Ride back to Cardiff (10 miles)
Take a train to Bridgend, making the mainline connection there.
A note on train reservations: the local Arriva service to Cardiff or Bridgend does not require a bike reservation but all high-speed Great Western services to Bristol and from Cardiff do (most of the trains will take six bikes), and staff, while in practice usually amenable, have the right to refuse you entry without one. Blame GWR, not me…
If you want a taster of how brilliant this ride is, read the 2019 ride report.