From April 14-21, a group of cycle tour alumni are taking to the tarmac once again, pedalling round Wales to run workshops on sustainable living and volunteer at a few amazing projects along the way. Follow along here to read about their adventures:
Hello and welcome from the Cambrian Challenge alumni cycle tour!
We band of 5 intrepid adventurers are all set and ready to go, and are looking forward to pedalling the roads of north Wales. We arrived to Luci’s parents house near Machynlleth, a small but vibrant town in mid Wales, on friday evening safe and sound after some pretty challenging journeys.
The team assembles
Luci had her first experience of taking a bike trailer on a train on her own, and despite a few bruises and well placed strong words is still just about friends with Bob, our lovely yellow trailer.
Alex, Leah and Ellie arrived after some major delays to a torrential downfall that unfortunatly Wales seems famous for! Many thanks to Arriva Trains Wales for holding the train at Shrewsbury for a WHOLE hour so our Cambrian Challengers wouldn’t miss the last connection- it would have been a long cycle ride!
Day 1: turbine first aid
Saturday and the rain cleared. After a quick spot of birthday breakfast for Luci we hot footed it up to see the affectionatly named Nora, a local community owned wind-turbine. People from the Machynlleth area own shares in the turbine in return for a share in the profit (as well as some seriously green kudos).
Our host Rod was attempting to nurse Nora back to health as she had mysteriously stopped spinning. After a quick examination of the control board in the huge turbine tower it was decided that the flashing ‘ERROR, ERROR, ERROR’ message warranted a call to the local wind turbine doctor. Even though the turbine wasn’t spinning it was definately windy, so after admiring the stunning vista of rolling hills, mountains, valleys and rivers we set forth back to the homestead.
After a quick venture to ‘Mach’ (spray it not say it in a Welsh accent), where some swish new bike gear was purchased (namely waterproof socks n gloves to keep us nice and toasty for our journey ahead), we power pedalled towards the sunset to a happy little field filled with friends to celebrate Luci’s birthday with warming fire chats and dancing.
Day 2: on your marks, get set ….
After a frosty night snoozing we were woken to beautiful sunshine and some reggae tunes. A cycle was just the remedy for our weary dancing feet, swooping through the valley back to Mach to hot cups of tea and a delicious curry provided by Rod and Angie.
With food in our bellies it was time to put our noggins together to draw up our food mandate – how we will choose our food for the week, considering the impacts on the environment around us, opting for a flexigan (mostly vegan) diet that is as locally sourced as possible as well as being organic. Luci then revealed our route and we dusted off of twinkling fingers for a spot of consensus decision-making, putting together a mini-wheel of responsibility to share the daily tasks of cooking, cleaning, and the all important ‘time-lord’ to stop us faffing and get us places on time!
Right, we shall have to bid you goodnight, we have a very very busy day tommorow! We are getting up super early to visit the renowned Centre for Alternative Technology to learn about all things sustainable, before jumping on our bikes for a 30 mile cycle ride into Snowdonia National Park, to our next destination- a permaculture farm deep in the mysterious woods of Coed-Y-Brenin just north of Dolgellau. Please cross all your fingers and toes to keep the rain away from us- it ain’t looking too hopeful, but at least we can all test our our new swanky waterproof gloves.
Love, peace and bicycle grease!
Ellie, Leah, Josh, Alex and Luci
Love the sound of this and want to get in the saddle as part of an Otesha team? Sign up for our summer 2012 tours here.