Camchain and tensioner seen up close in a cutaway bike engine

Home Travel StoriesSouth Wales 2017

Into Tywyn

By Ren Withnell

After Storm Aileen last night I'm relieved to find the 500 still upright in Sharon's garden. In fact save for a few additional random leaves you'd be hard pushed to notice there'd been a storm. The forecast is for more rain though and I can see Sharon's not too enamoured with this. It's time for her to put on her big girl knickers and face the prospect of more than a week under canvas, potentially very wet canvas. 

The 2 motorcycles buckling under a mound of luggage, ready for the forthcoming adventure
We are only going to South Wales for a week and a bit. Honest.

Out on the road the prospect seems a lot less daunting. The rain comes and goes and the miles are passing sweetly. It's been a good few weeks since the North Coast 500 trip so it feels refreshing and invigorating to once again open the taps and achieve 60mph for more than 200 yards as we sweep down the A494 and onto the A5.

I pull into a farmshop before Bala, this proves to be pricey so we just have a brew. Lake Bala itself glistens in a fleeting moment of blue sky before another patch of mizzle occludes the vista once more. Dolgellau brings forth another dry spell and a cash machine, the A493 offers rain and at last the vast ocean. I like the sea.

Sharon looks at the camera while drinking her cup of tea at the rhug estate
Food! At those prices! Just a cuppa for you young lady.

Architecturally Tywyn doesn't have the same curious narrow streets, old stone buildings and ancient character that Dolgellau has in the centre. To look at Tywyn is at best ordinary save for a curiously wonderful little cinema. That matters not, not when you're hungry. What matters is finding a chip shop that serves good quality chips AND provides tables and chairs for those of us without such luxuries. Skippy's Fish And Chips has all this and a smile thrown in. Fabulous.

Just a regular chippy but with seating and good chip Skippy's is a godsend
Just what we need for tonight's meal. Thanks Skippy's.

After wobbling our fat bellies back to the tent a cup of tea is in order. Lighter for the stove? Which bleeding imbecile hasn't packed a lighter for the stove? Erm, that would be me. I enjoy my solitary walk back into town as the rain stays off just long enough.

By Sharon Parker

The fact I have secured my Kriega luggage to my bike a few times now still does not ensure that I can believe it will defy the logic of gravity and stay secure and in place. It does. I know it does. It just does not look like it should be able to. 

Three black bags tightly packed rest on the narrow rear seat of Sharon's Kawasaki
It is secure is just does not look it

It takes me a good few miles to become adjusted to the weight of the luggage on my bike but once I do things get fun. It is good to be out of town and getting the bikes back up to 60mph again on some nice roads. Pity I have to wear my full waterproofs. It is not quite the feeling of freedom I want when I am all layered up like an onion. 

We stop off at what immediately looks like a posh cafe. It is posh, well its prices are however the food hygiene rating of 3 is not top class. No we shall not bother eating here just a brew then and a little rest. Rain comes and goes as we reach our first campsite.

As we pull into the campsite at Tywyn we are blessed with sunshine. Always nice to get to pitch up with the sun shining. It is only a small campsite but the nice lady owner gives us a discount for the night due to the bad weather. Thank you very much, sometimes looking like a bedraggled hobo pays off. 

As I go to put my bike on the grass I realise I have not got my puck. Which means neither do I have my little bag that has my puck in. Which also means I do not have my tyreweld or my lighter. Damn it! Ren as always comes to my rescue with a spare puck. I doubt I could ever be an independent solo traveller, I am clearly not a full picnic without someone bringing the bread. Besides I do not want to be solo I enjoy the company too much. I like to share experiences, to have a hand to hold. 

Ren is stood outside the tent taking pictures surrounded by caravans and the motorcycles
Happiness is pitching up in the dry, even makes Ren smile and I like to share those smiles

We have a walk into town which is very ordinary in a nice way. I have fish and chips, a small portion. I have until recently had a reputation for being a big eater for my size, a reputation that was well deserved. I could easily eat more than Ren. I remember when we first started going out and he asked me if I wanted to share a pizza. Share a pizza??? I was horrified. Who shares a pizza? Err no I eat a whole one thanks. 

Ren got use to my big appetite and we both got use to when ordering meals whilst out waiters bringing the bigger meal to Ren and him having to say no sorry that is hers. The waiters eyebrows would raise and I sometimes got "but you wont eat all that?"... but I always did. However this big hunger of mine has begun to disappear. I was a bit concerned I was ill but no it seems that it is just yet another indicator I am getting older. Jeez I will be on pensioner portions soon, yikes. 

Fortunately no zimmer frame is needed for the walk back to the campsite. What is needed is a lighter though because not only did I forget mine but Ren has forget his also. Oh bloody hell it is no good this getting old malarkey I can tell you. I climb into my fluffy PJs, yes another sign of getting old wearing fluffy warm PJs, and snuggle in. At least I am not to old to camp...yet. 

If you'd like to share your own 2-wheeled adventures both big or small drop Ren a line -

Not Even Wales! With a storm set to cause havoc across the UK is this day the best day to set out on a camping holiday? Maybe not.
Into Tywyn Finally Sharon and Ren get themselves out of the house and onto the road. They've set out, but have they got everything?
Exploring Around Tywyn Mid Wales provides an engaging, gorgeous and sometimes challenging landscape to explore. With all the sea, hills, mountains, valleys and single track lanes that go nowhere, our explorers are exploring.
Bracing Winds And Wobbly Hobbits Between the rain and the beauty Sharon's riding is creating mixed emotions for her and Ren is getting giddy over a TV programme.
Exploring St Davids - On Foot It is time to leave the bikes for just one day and set out on foot to explore the tiny city of St Davids. The city is small and pleasant, the cathedral is just sheer delight.
Exploring Around St Davids In the land of a thousand coves Sharon and Ren are looking into a handful of them. There's a chance Ren's 500 might not be getting out of one of them though.
Is Tenby Really Utopia? Tenby has been much lauded to both Sharon and Ren but now it's time to see if the reality will live up to the hype. Will Tenby be amazing or an amazing flop?
Exploring Around Tenby Between the endless cute coves, splendid coastal resorts and curiosities there's time for some field repairs. The big worry now is the forthcoming weather.
Spoiled Rotten In Gower Sharon is for once actually preying for rain and Ren is wondering if Sharon is going to kill him. What on earth is going on?
Exploring The Gower Peninsula Considering the day was supposed to be a washout Sharon and Ren get to look around the Gower Peninsula in good conditions. There's only one problem with Sharon's perfect beach - the walk back.
New Friends And Llandovery While the weather is very much against them Sharon and Ren enjoy the day with new friends and a lot of hot tea. They're heading a little North in South Wales.
Exploring The Brecon Beacons After yesterday's deluge will the soggy campers get chance to dry out and actually see The Brecon Beacons? Sharon is bleating out some awful sheep puns too.
Epilogue - South Wales 2017 Once again another trip comes to an end and it is time to return to the reality of everyday life. Neither Sharon or Ren are ready for it to be over.

Reader's Comments

Bob said :-
You're certainly not afraid of the weather you two! Tomorrow I'm setting out to ride 170 odd miles from Sheffield to Aberdaron for a long weekend, but I'm staying a cottage with a log burning stove!
It will be the utltimate test of whether I've made a mistake buying a "little" 250cc (KLX250S) bike.
Depending on how the trip goes I'll either stop obsessing about it or buy that G650X / DS644 / DRZ400 on Evilbay....
If I'm spening the whole time strung out in 5th gear with the revs wound up and having to crouch to maintain 60MPH then that'll be that I think.
5/10/2017 10:41:52 AM UTC
Ren - The Ed said :-
I'll add a link to our visit to Aberdaron in 2008. Lovely little place.

Why...why do you HAVE to maintain 60mph? Using the Snake Pass and the motorways - A55 according to Google maps your trip is 172 miles. at a constant 60mph that's 2.87 hours, about 3 hours. At a constant 55mph that's 3.13 hours, just over 3 hours. Bearing in mind with traffic, corners, junctions and the like actually maintaining a constant speed is impossible. I bet the difference between setting a max speed of 60 and a max speed of 55 would be measured in seconds.

I think the only time you'll be frustrated is when you have to climb a steep hill such as into Blaenau Ffestiniog if you go that way. I admit when I did it on the 125 with luggage I was down to 30mph in places. It's all part of the fun.

Be sure to take some pictures and let us know how you get on. Speaking of rain - just wait till the next installment :)
5/10/2017 11:27:57 AM UTC

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