2017: May 5 - Bristol to Barry Island

Calling all pontists! Registration is now open for the inaugural Bristol to Barry Island (via four bridges and a barrage) edition of the FNRttC. This brand-new route 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. A map showing the start location is HERE.

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. 

For our halfway stop we have a special treat: the Sea Walls Tea Rooms at Goldcliff is opening up for us for the very first time. Leaving Goldcliff, we ride into the sunrise, crossing the Usk via Newport City Bridge, re-gathering to admire the historic Transporter bridge. We then head south to the coastline, taking the sinuous, silky and pan-flat St. Brides road 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, functional few miles to Barry Island (aka Barrybados). Breakfast at Marco’s café is available from 8am.

Overall, the ride is about 65 miles and remarkably unhilly, considering some of the topography in the area. As with all Fridays rides, we will employ Waymakers and Tail End Charlies to deal with directions, mechanicals and to make sure that no-one is left behind. We ride at a conversational pace, re-gathering every few miles, and the only reliable way to get lost is to ride off the front.


Getting to Bristol:

The start point in Bristol is about a mile from Temple Meads station. A guide will be available at the left of the station main entrance, leaving at 11.20pm to take you to College Green, or please feel free to make your own way. Click HERE for a sample route. 

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… 

Café stop:

As this is a brand-new ride we have a brand-new café stop. Goldcliff Tea Rooms (near Newport) has an excellent reputation for feeding hungry walkers and cyclists. Please remember that they are getting up in the middle of the night to feed us, so we need to make it worth their while: buying food is not compulsory but strongly encouraged. There is a flat charge of £7 for a pasty (meat or veggie) OR sausage roll, plus cake and tea OR coffee. If you do want hot food (a pasty or sausage roll), you need to email us so the café can prepare sufficient quantities. The café also has a shop selling snacks, drinks and chocolate, but please note that it is cash only, so bring change.

Please contact them directly with any dietary requirements.

Want to come? Of course you do. 

The sign-up form is HERE

If this is your first FNRttC of the year, please read about how to register, when you sign up, you will need to confirm you have read The Basics. And before the ride itself, you need to ensure you know the score with regard to third party liability insurance

Ride Leader: Steve R.