Camchain and tensioner seen up close in a cutaway bike engine

Home Travel StoriesA Brief Break In Bangor

Winter Wonders In Wild Wales

Ride Date 26 January 2022

By Ren Withnell

Life deals us some peculiar cards. I was made redundant this time last year, since then I've been working for myself once more. That's not been going as well as I'd hoped so I looked for a job. I found one, several in fact. Suffice to say I start full time at the beginning of February. Which means I've a couple of days of freedom left.

It's too short notice to find a cheap Travelodge somewhere "nice", isn't it? Actually no, I can stop on a services/fuel station just outside of Bangor for £30 a night. While the hotel's location is hardly "beautiful" (Travelodges seldom are) there's plenty of beauty within easy riding distance. Whoops! My finger must have slipped and I've booked myself in for Wednesday and Thursday night. Oh dear, what a silly boy.

Wednesday brings the threat of rain yet considering this is the middle of deepest darkest winter it's not too cold at all. Still, being me I've packed several options of winter clothing as well as food supplies and my flask. 

Ren's Honda is lightly loaded parked by trees on a country lane in rare winter sunshine
A light load today and a flask full of tea. Sorted.

This is strange. 

I know Sharon and I have enjoyed several journeys between various lockdowns and rule changes and still this feels wrong. I've checked the regulations for both England and Wales and I'm within the rules. I'm not planning on mixing with people. I've gotten masks and unlike many I'm still using them. It still feels wrong, I have been conditioned, it'll take a while to decondition.

It's strange this being winter and I'm not enduring frostbite and hypothermia. The clouds are leaden and heavy then part to reveal warming sun then close once more. Oddly the rain always seems to be "over there" as opposed to the typical situation of being "over here". The roads are damp to wet yet (surely not?) grippy.

I've no plan. This is strange too as I'd usually have at least some kind of route in mind, all I'm doing presently is heading west... ish. I find myself on a most splendid and wonderful road, flowing through the countryside at a perfect pace, fast enough for fun, slow enough to not be scary and with time to admire the scenery. Fabulous, this is life, this is living, this is what it's all about. 

Sunshine and heavy skies over vast Welsh moorland and mountains
It doesn't need to be bathed in sunshine to be impressive and majestic.

I spot a sign for the A5 and Pentrefoelas. Aaaahh, yeah, oh dear, durgh, fool. I've ridden the A543 a few times before but I didn't recognise a single curve, hill, view or valley. That's good, I've enjoyed the road afresh! That's bad, I fear the old memory ain't what it used to be. 

I know the A5 is rather spectacular and this time I do remember being here before. Oh my, today is a treat especial. These clouds, menacing and ominous, the tinge of dusk lowering the light and the mood, I sense drama and tension all around. I ought to be at least worried if not scared. For reasons unknown I am impressed and in awe. This is absolutely perfectly brilliant.

Bulbous rocky mountains, ominous skies and a lonesome house by the road
Sinister and beautiful at the same time. 

I roll into the expectedly unimpressive car park at the Travelodge. The staff are friendly as ever, the room is bland and a tad worn but clean and warm, as ever, everything is just as I would expect from a Travelodge, both the good and the bad. At £30 per night there is nothing to complain about, the fact the tap drips oh-so-slightly and the main light flickers really is splitting hairs.

Lockdown has given me one good thing at least - the ability to do very little for a whole evening without dying of boredom. I'm happy to nibble on the munchies I brought with me while watching YouTube videos, showering and generally doing something without achieving anything. 

I wasn't expecting much today, a soggy, wet and grey ride into Wales. I've been treated to wonderful panoramas set against bewitching skies. I'm a positive pessimist. I expect the worst and if anything other than the worst happens then it's been a good day. Today has been great.

Advertise here - contact

Winter Wonders In Wild Wales Might be a bit of a strange read this one folks. Inexplicably Ren seems to be in a (relatively speaking) positive frame of mind. Even old misery guts himself can't help but be lifted by a bit of Wales at it's best.
Anglesey In Winter Sun It might be worthwhile consulting with a quantum physicist because reality has taken a turn for the weird. Ren is having another good day. This time Anglesey in the sun almost cracks a smile on the old curmudgeon's face. Almost.

Reader's Comments

Bob said :-
I did Wales a couple of years ago between Christmas and New Year's - a great trip even though there wasn't much daylight.
Out of interest which Travelodge did you use and how was the motorcycle security for overnight parking?
10/02/2022 18:27:32 UTC
Bogger said :-
Spending money...shock horror. Enjoying yourself....double shock horror.

Something is seriously amiss at BAT Towers. I'm concerned and.

10/02/2022 19:19:39 UTC
Ren - The Ed¹ said :-
The Travelodge is called, on their website, Bangor Travelodge! It's actually just off the junction of the A5 and the A55 on what is considered the services. As stated the location itself is far from special, quite the opposite, merely a car park, petrol station, small burger king and noise from the nearby roads.

I asked and was allowed to park the bike off the car park and under the canopy of the entrance. There's a pillar I secured the bike to. My thinking is where it was it was away from being lifted TOO easily into a van in the car park. Nothing and nowhere is entirely secure, I'd say "better than a public car park but not ideal".
Posted Image
10/02/2022 19:24:38 UTC
Ren - The Ed¹ said :-
Fear not Bogger, beneath all this jovial spending lies the spirit of Mr Scrooge. Bah hUMBUG!
10/02/2022 19:26:52 UTC
nab301 said :-
Excellent Ren , It's been pretty mild in my part of the world too, and spring has sprung with daffodils flowering in the garden.
Quote "I'm a positive pessimist" I consider myself something similar but since I was a child I've always described myself as a pessimistic optimist!
10/02/2022 19:40:43 UTC
Upt'North ¹ said :-
I'm with you Bogger, I fear I've awoken in a parallel universe where Ed is generous and a bit of a spendthrift. I'm confused.
11/02/2022 00:14:16 UTC
Ren - The Ed¹ said :-
"pessimistic optimist" nab301 - I'm 'avin that.

If the dear readers are struggling with me having a good day then the next instalment is going to be really difficult to handle. Luckily only a small amount of money was spent.
11/02/2022 09:14:56 UTC
KiwiJeff said :-
Hmmm... Ren your winter is looking better than our summer currently we have had rain, 27 degrees celsius and 100% humidity for weeks now, finally had to venture out today for a very wet muddy slippery ride, sort of enjoyed it. NZ about to get whacked by an ex tropical cyclone so weather not improving. We seem to have Fiji weather at the moment must be that global warming thing or could just be the weather? Picture of mist attached that was present the entire ride could be Scotland apart from the temperature and the punga ferns!
Posted Image
12/02/2022 09:38:20 UTC
Bob said :-
I know that Travelodge well.
Some years ago I went to see a band I like play in Antwerp. I rode down there on my FJ1200. When I arrived at the hotel I saw it was right in downtown Antwerp and I was concerned about security (many drunk types), the Hotel clerk insisted that I rode my soaking wet and filthy FJ1200 in through the front doors, across the tiles of the lobby and out of the back door to an enclosed yard out the back! I was really scared of dropping the bike on the slick tiles but I managed.
Imagine that level of service in the UK!
12/02/2022 12:38:15 UTC
Ian Soady¹ said :-
Many years ago I was in the Pyrenees on the Commando. I stayed in a little roadside auberge and was just going to leave the Norton outside. The chef insisted I put the bike in a little anteroom off the kitchen and helped me drag it up a flight of steps and through a narrow doorway. I'm sure the tarte des gesiers had a whiff of GTX about it.....
12/02/2022 14:28:59 UTC
Upt'North ¹ said :-
KJ sorry (I think) about your weather, looks miserable.....but it doesn't look like Scotland, you can see more than one centre line.
Enjoy your summer, we've got a feels like of 28f and a 41 mph blow from the NW. Having been in the garage most of the day fitting sockets and getting the genny power "in" sockets sorted I can confirm it feels like 28f.
12/02/2022 17:10:40 UTC
Jim said :-
I feel I must defend my country's honour
Posted Image
12/02/2022 19:48:32 UTC
Upt'North ¹ said :-
You know I'm joshing Jim. A nice warm summers ride in Scotland is pretty darn special.
12/02/2022 21:59:00 UTC
nab301 said :-
This thread is almost as variable as the weather, we have a happy Ren touring in winter in warmish wales, we have Scottish weather in NZ, NZ weather everywhere else and Ian recounting going commando in the Pyrenees!!

13/02/2022 12:55:27 UTC
Ren - The Ed¹ said :-
I follow a chap on YouTube who lives "off grid" in NZ KiwiJeff. Just seen he's been flooded out quite badly so it seems the wevver daan saaaaaf is pretty grim this year.

I must have an unfriendly face. No-one ever asks me if I'd like to bring my motorcycle into the hotel and park it in the kitchens. Pfffft. Actually... wait on. In the Netherlands a campsite let us park the bikes in their lawnmower garage on a particularly wet night. Then there was the truck hotel in Spain who let us park the bikes in some large random garage filled with other motorcycles and cars. For the most part people are generally quite helpful.

13/02/2022 20:24:22 UTC
Ian Soady¹ said :-
I'm sure I've posted this before but it's the Commando on another trip. Guess where? The hotel proprietor was quite happy to have it on his marble slabs....

Nigel I think you've got hold of the wrong end of the stick.......
Posted Image
14/02/2022 10:22:56 UTC
Upt'North ¹ said :-
That tower's in a Shockin state.
Av you seen the lean on it?
14/02/2022 12:49:30 UTC
Ren - The Ed¹ said :-
I reckon I can fix that tower right up no problem. I need a couple of old H-beans, half-ton of gravel and a pallet truck, be right as rain.
14/02/2022 16:03:01 UTC
Borsuk said :-
Okay, when was Ren replaced by a pod person and where did he get a hydraulic jack powerful enough to overcome the closing spring on his wallet.
16/02/2022 22:29:36 UTC
CrazyFrog said :-
I'm sure you know this Ren, but the definition of an optimist is 'a pessimist not in possession of all the facts'.
25/02/2022 17:22:34 UTC
Ren - The Ed¹ said :-
Haha! I like that one CrazyFrog and I've not heard it before. Let's be honest, none of us know all the facts until it's way too late.
25/02/2022 22:22:46 UTC

Post Your Comment Posts/Links Rules



Add a RELEVANT link (not required)

Upload an image (not required) -

No uploaded image
Real Person Number
Please enter the above number below

Home Travel StoriesA Brief Break In Bangor

Admin -- -- Service Records Ren's Nerding Blog