Triumph Owners' Club, West Wales branch, rideout today.
We met at the Hafod Hotel in Devil's Bridge, where the rest of the gang had been staying overnight after another rideout yesterday. With family staying, I didn't feel able to justify doing both days, so I made an early start this morning and was in Devil's Bridge by 10 am. The weather was glorious in the morning, although it got cloudy and rather sticky by the end of the day. This was the view over Aberystwyth from the A4120 between Aber and DB:
and this was the view over the mid-Wales mountains from the same spot:
Hard to see in this picture (thanks to the crappy camera that comes with the iPhone), but several of these hills are crowned, if that is the right word, with a forest of wind turbines. This view is one of my favourite views in the world, and the desecration of it with these ugly and pointless gestures to right-on environmentalism grieves me every time I see it. Fortunately, I had other things to do so I moved on quickly.
The rideout was supposed to encompass three mountain passes, but circumstances meant that only one was achieved. We had a coffee in a pleasant outdoor café in DB and fuelled up, and then set off over the tops to Nant-y-Moch reservoir:
and then over the mountains to Tal-y-Bont, where we stopped for a break in the excellent White Lion. (Incidentally, is Tal-y-Bont the only place in the UK with colour-contrasting pubs? We were in the Llew Gwyn and next door was the Llew Du, or Black Lion. If there's someone you don't really want to meet, you could say "Meet you in the Lion" and stand a 50% chance of avoiding them. Just a thought.)
The guy leading the trip had intended to take us over a couple of passes in the mountains near Bala which, from experience, I know to be spectacular. In fact, one of them, in a car, can be bloody frightening, as the road is narrow and very steep, and the drop-off to the side is immediate, unprotected and a bloody long way down. I was looking forward to tacking it on the bike which, being narrow, affords plenty of opportunities to avoid the precipitous bits. However, two new members came along, bringing inexperienced pillion passengers, and after a route-finding error cost us a bit of time (and learning that one of the pillions was neither happy nor comfortable), it was agreed to curtail the day by returning to Aber for a cup of tea and a bun on the sea front, followed by a blast back down the coast road. We did cover some of my favourite roads, however, going up to Machynlleth and then up the pass by Cadair Idris and then on to Corris and Dinas Mawddwy.
The ride up to DB was, shall we say, brisk, and the group ride part was sedate. The last 50 miles, after I had separated from the others, was 'progressive', which is another way of saying that I spanked the Bonnie's pretty little metal arse unmercifully. I was therefore quite surprised to find that my fuel consumption for the day was 60 mpg. The Hepco and Beckers stayed in place, and carried everything I needed without drama.
224 miles, 16.9 litres, just over £20 in fuel (petrol in them thar mountains is expensive). Add in a few cups of tea and a bacon baguette in Aber, and the whole day cost well under £30.