South Wales Branch “I’ve Never Been to Bala” Ride

“I’ve never been to Bala” said Tony Johnson on one ride, so it was noted. Yesterday (12th August 2021) he got his wish to visit the Vegas of the north. Well Vegas may be a bit of an exaggeration but nevertheless it is worth a visit.

I met up with Lloyd Williams at MacDonald’s in Newbridge and we left shortly after 9:30. A mile or so later I noticed that Lloyd had pulled over so went back to see what had happened. His visor had decided to try and escape. Looks like a small spring had gone on holiday without the rest of the helmet. A quick fix and we were on the way again to meet up with Tony and Brian Hudson in Govilon.

After a quick chat we were off to collect our last recruit, Craig at Bronllys outside the Honey Cafe. It was a good run up over the newly re-opened A479 over the mountain to Talgarth.

No time to waste as it was going to be a long day in the saddle. Heading north we picked up the A470 at Llyswen but quickly left it again as we crossed the suspension bridge at Llanstephan to take the back road to Builth Wells.

First stop was at Greggs at the Vulcan Garage south of Rhayader. After a refreshing cup of tea we headed further north but before reaching the crossroads at Rhayader Lloyd had disappeared again. Craig went back to find him as the rest of us faced the wrath of the traffic as they squeezed past us.

Back up to full complement we continued our way north. At Llangurig I made the obligatory exploration of an alternative route which turned out to be a dead end as we were in the wrong town. Next town was Llanidloes which was where I should have turned off. This route took us into the countryside (but there is a lot of that in Wales) as we took the B4518 to Staylittle and took us past Llyn Clywedog.

We rejoined the A470 having taken the “short cut”. At Dinas Mawddwy we headed for the hills over the mountain pass that took us all the way to Bala. We stopped to admire the view at the top at Bwlch Groes.

We had a nice lunch sat by the lake at Bala but the wind was picking up and it was time to head back home.

We headed south on the A494 before taking a short cut through Brithir to pick up the A470. A couple of miles south and we took the A487 past Cadair Idris to Machynlleth and continued south as far as Llanrhystud where we picked up the B4337. We got stuck behind an old beaver tail lorry carrying an old Hillman Minx. It struggled up the hills but boy did he go for it down them. We eventually passed him but when there are 5 of you and are in twisty lanes it is a struggle to keep the group together. We eventually joined the A482 to Lampeter and continued to Llandovery where Craig left us to go home over the Black Mountains. The rest of us headed for Brecon. At Sennybridge Brian and Tony said goodbye leaving myself and Lloyd to find the A470 and home.

As Wallace would say, “a grand day out lad.” A very good ride and NO rain. As far as stats go I covered 275 miles and burned 17.7L of fuel and got home after 7pm.