So after the disaster that was Bala Lake, we thought it best to go on a smaller expedition. The Ruthin Craft Centre seemed like the perfect medium, 8 miles there, 8 miles back; half of the journey we did last week. I was feeling extremely optimistic, I mean I had to be right, the bike tour is happening I couldn’t bury my inadequate fitness and last weeks failure in the sand. Let’s face it, head on.
The Craft Centre is a delightful place to visit with grand exhibitions displacing local artists work, smaller galleries along the courtyard and a sweet cafe, and gift shop. The route Ryan had chosen was along fields, over streams, through small villages; just the kind we’d like, slightly uphill to begin with but then with a gentle decline to end with.
The course was going really well, could it be that I was enjoying myself? The pace was mellow, we were in no rush; the sky was clear, the sun warm on my skin, my bum feeling comfy in the saddle. With the green pasture either side of us, fields lined with crocuses and daffodils, spring was here and it really felt like it. We cycled and cycled, no real reason to stop, this was wonderful, what I thought cycling could be like. Our first paused would be Llangynhalfal purely because we needed to confirm the route. We checked in with each other here, both of us feeling great we pedalling off into the distance.
Further, en route, we came across an old structure in a field; turns out its the end station for an old cable car system that was operating in the 1930s. A little bit of local history and it made for a nice picture.
The rest of the journey to the Craft Centre occurred quickly, we pedalled at our leisurely pace and we made it to the Craft Centre in just over an hour. I was surprised at how I felt when we arrived, I wasn’t gasping for breath and my legs weren’t screaming at me. This felt amazing, whether this was the endorphin rush talking or what but I really enjoyed that little trek out.
We locked the bikes up nice and secure and headed into the cafe; black coffee for Ryan, English Breakfast tea for myself, cake for neither of us (we’re trying to watch our sugar intake, Lord knows why). We plonked ourselves on the sofa in the cafe and had ourselves a little rest and a people watch (my absolute favourite). An hour or so had past and it was time for us to head back; a quick tour around the galleries and we knew this exhibition wasn’t for us, some modern pottery but nothing to grasp our full attention.
A quick trip through the gift shop and loo, and we were back at the bikes. We’d go a different route back, on a cycle path along the A road, still had plenty of lovely views to take in but the path was tarmac and smooth. Off the A road cycle path and we were back into the dense country lanes.
Fields speeding past me I became even more comfortable on the bike. I was able to change gears with greater ease, anticipating the path ahead. Go up a gear or down a gear? Could I really put some energy into this and speed round this sloping bend or was it a slow hill climb where I’d begin to feel that unwelcome burn in my thighs?
Soon we arrived back at our lane, the bright red post box, a landmark, telling us we would be home shortly. the gentle path from the main road to our sweet bungalow was quite as ever, just Ryan and I with the wind blowing through the trees and the lambs bleating in the fields passing by us.
On reflection, cycling wasn’t something to be apprehensive about. We just had to be realistic about my abilities, I wasn’t going to be able to go from 0-100 overnight. Let’s take this journey just that bit slower, proceed on smaller routes we need I could manage easily rather than tackling huge routes I probably wasn’t ready for. Hopefully, all our future routes will be like this.