A motorcycle parked in front of a tent on a pleasant green campsite

Home Travel StoriesBank Holiday Anglesey

Should I Go To Anglesey?

Ride Date - 6 May 2018

By Ren Withnell

Bank Holiday weekend. Unbelievable. Remarkable. Shocking. Amazing. The forecast is dry. The forecast is warm. This is a good thing, surely?

Well, yes and no. 

It's rare the weather is nice here in Blighty so when it is I feel guilty if I'm not making the most of it. There will be many weekends when the rain comes down, when the wind blows cold and when the days are short. On those days I'll be wishing the weather was better. Now the weather is better I should not be moping around at home.

leafless trees line a dirt track, everything is covered in snow
Won't be long before the trees lose their leaves and the cold weather returns.

On the other hand. Being a bank holiday with nice weather means that anywhere, ANYWHERE that is remotely pleasant or interesting or beautiful will be ram jam packed with hundreds, nay thousands of other people just like myself trying to make the most of this rarest of opportunities. 

Everywhere I think of I immediately conjure up images of long queues, traffic jams and crowds of rapidly sunburning people who's skin has not seen a ray of sun since August last year. It's hardly the kind of thought that entices me to hop on the bike and ride. 

Oh what am I to do? I used to be indecisive but I'm not so sure these days. 

Sharon is not playing out. Her daughter is in hospital - please don't ask what is wrong because the doctors and specialists don't know so I've no chance. If you want more details you'll have to ask Sharon. Sharon is encouraging me to go and do something. I suspect she feels a little guilty about not seeing me this weekend and would feel better knowing I was entertained elsewhere.

Saturday comes and goes having breakfast with friends then riding to Southport. Southport confirms my worst fears with thick traffic and equally thick pedestrians. Thick as in plenty and thick as in stupid. Perhaps it might be better to just stay home?

No, no I must go. I have a duty to myself. I have a duty to motorcycling. I have a duty to my readers. I am an idiot.

Sunday morning and I'm up bright and early. I gather my gear together and load up the 125. The 125? Well if I'm going to be stuck in traffic I might as well take the 125. The 500 is all ready for Espana, I dare not touch it just in case.

Ren's CBF125 Honda covered in luggage on the way to Anglesey
The 125 is the perfect touring motorcycle.

I'm heading for Anglesey. I know a campsite close to Holyhead town centre so here's my thinking; It's not a particularly nice campsite so hopefully it won't be too busy. Holyhead is a town so hopefully everyone will be heading out of town. I accept these are very flimsy assumptions but it's the best I've got right now. Desperation causes a person to grasp for anything to hand.

Sharon has suggested I contact Dave F who we know through Chunky Tread. He lives on Anglesey, he and his wife have invited us to visit on several occasions. I feel cheeky asking if he's available in a random off-chance way but Sharon's right, there's no harm in asking, they can always say no.

The 125 is just starting to blow from the exhaust gasket at the head. Urgh. It hasn't reached the point of being noisy but this will need to be fixed. Urgh. The motorway is busy but flowing. The sun is shining. I have my kit. This, well this could actually turn out alright.

Oh. Oh dear. It seems the M56 towards Chester is being used as a car park for all the people heading to Wales. Just like me. Dammit. After filtering between hot cars with hot drivers for 6 miles I depart the motorway at Frodsham. I knew it. Everyone else has the same idea. 

Or maybe not? As soon as I'm out of Frodsham the traffic clears and we are underway once again. Despite the clear road I am in need of a brew and pull into "Cafe Fresh" for a brew. 90p for a cuppa, cheap by modern standards and the surroundings are pleasant. Oooh, I have a message.

Cafe Fresh is a smart cafe at the side of the A56 near Chester
It's becoming a favourite stop-off for Sharon and I.

Dave whom I contacted earlier has got back to me. He's in and he's available and is asking when I'll be there. I'm what, about 100 miles away? That's about 2 to 3 hours but with this traffic? I'll give myself plenty of time, I suggest I'll be there teatime, roughly.

I pass a handful of bikers waiting for each other at a junction. I think nothing of it save for a Street Triple, I know someone who's got one of those. At a later junction they're behind me. I join the A55 ring road around Chester and while many bikers whizz by this group remains behind me travelling at my lowly 50 to 55 mph. 

I can't imagine there's many people like myself happy to do 55 on a dual carriageway even on a large machine. But hey - who am I to think I'm special. Maybe this group like to savour the sunshine and chill on the open road rather than carve it up? 

After about 10 miles if this I can't help but feel something is amiss. Maybe they know me? Maybe the recognise the bike? Maybe...maybe they're BAT followers? HA! No, no it's Sharon that's famous not me. It could be...could it be...is that an NC750X?

Yeah. It's 5 of my friends. I pull into a layby to say hello. What are the chances that 5 riders from home would be on the same road as me at the same time? Actually statistically speaking it's fairly probable but still it seems remarkable. We talk a while.

I head to Ruthin but before I reach the town I take a random turning on the right. Moments later I'm in the sticks. I think my 500 is a wonderful motorcycle but here on the single track 20mph sinuous back lanes a 125 is always the best choice. Even if I wanted to I cannot go fast as around every bend could be a tractor or a stray sheep. 

Rolling green hills with trees and grass in the countryside near Ruting
Perfect weather and perfect countryside with the perfect motorcycle. How lucky am I?

This modest machine is in its element chug chugging along sipping fuel and negotiating the tight bends with ease. The sun is warm, the fields are green, the lambs are growing fatter now and the hills are filled with life. Most of this life is welcome save for the annoying buzzy thing that has joined me in my helmet. Get out!

On the main roads I head back towards the A55 otherwise I'll never find my way to Anglesey on these farm tracks. There's another bike behind me, a BMW of some description. I pull to the left on a straight to allow the rider to pass but he or she remains behind at 50mph. For the next 5 miles the rider has plenty of opportunities to pass and I'm desperately trying to work out who I know with a Beemer.

As I rejoin the A55 the rider passes by. He is unknown to me upon his very nice R Ninet-T. For years when I'm on the 125 I've become accustomed to EVERYONE overtaking, I find it odd when riders don't. Is this a sign that not every single motorcyclist apart from myself is a tarmac shredding hooligan?

It's cold on the coast. Not cold as in sub zero but after riding with just a t-shirt under my jacket as I look out to sea from the A55 I feel a distinct chill. There's something strange and unexpected here too. Mist. It has been warm and dry and sunny all day so far. Why are these random patches of mist rolling in from the sea here by the Conwy tunnels? I'm guessing no-one informed this area about the weather forecast.

A hazy mist comes from the sea over the A55 and the entrance to a tunnel
It's cold enough to cause me to stop and put my jumper on.

I'm on Anglesey too early, about an hour and a half too early. Good. This would have freaked Sharon out. We could have stayed in bed longer, we could have set off later and we could have spent longer in the cafe. For me? It means I've had a relaxed journey with time to spare. No fretting about being late, no stress in the traffic jams and a genteel pace. 

I ride to Anglesey Sea Zoo, well nearby at least. I park up and sit in the sun looking across the Menai Strait to a town with a castle. Google maps tells me that's Caernarfon. Wow! It looks a lot smaller from here, it's a huge castle is Caernarfon Castle. 

I ponder life. Spain is on my thoughts. Sharon's predicament with her daughter's mysterious illness is on my mind. I like to fix things. I like to solve mysteries. I have to accept I know absolutely zero about how the human body works, the enigmatic thyroid or the contents of the skull that may be at issue. 

Looking across the Menai Strait we see the majestic Welsh hills and mountains in the sun
I can think of worse places to stop and think.

I'm not entirely sure Sharon will be coming to Spain with me. There's a great deal happening in Sharon's life and Spain is rightly not her priority. Oh dear. I'm a big boy and I'll be fine doing the trip alone. Should I do the trip alone? Should I stay if Sharon doesn't go? To be honest I think I'd be more of a hindrance than a help to Sharon. She'd feel guilty if I didn't go. But...

Thinking is important. Overthinking makes things worse. I get on the bike and ride to Rhosneigr. The last time Sharon and I were here it was a windswept, cold and wet town. Today in the sun it is vibrant, alive and far more pleasant than I recall. I make an effort to find the campsite and note that while it is busy even on this warm dry bank holiday there is space. 

A big beach and blue skies at Rhosneigr
Rhosneigr looks much more inviting today.

I guess the time is about right to head to Dave's place.

If you'd like to advertise with Bikes And Travels contact ren@bikesandtravels.com

Should I Go To Anglesey? How hard can deciding to ride a bike be? Ren makes it seem very difficult indeed. Luckily he makes his mind up otherwise this post would not exist.
I'm Glad I Went To Anglesey Ren is seemingly quite positive today! Has the sun gone to his head or has Dave's barbecue cheered him up? We're sure he'll be back to his usual miserable self.

Reader's Comments

Bob said :-
I think I might have seen you, or your bike at least. I was in North Wales for the whole week and I saw a heavily loaded CBF125 parked and I wondered if it was you!
I can't remember exactly where I saw it but it was on the coast which would have been right if you were heading for Anglesey.
I was on my BMW G650X.
North Wales is an amazing place, I'm intending to move there when I retire.
noswaith dda!
20/5//2018 6:44:20 PM UTC
Ren - The Ed said :-
Hmmmm. There's 2 places I stopped near the coast. On the Sunday on Anglesey overlooking Caernarfon. Then on the bank holiday Monday I was near Rhyl and Prestatyn?
20/5//2018 9:23:08 PM UTC

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