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  • July 01, 2024 3 min read

    One of our Honorary Members, Jeff Staples, fancied a trip to Wales to retrace places on a ride we made back in 2003 to the Brecon Beacons. This trip was a first for us back then and again now: with Jeff in his Audi TT (a four wheeled motorcycle in performance) and me on my VStrom. We had organised and tested voice comms using our old Interphone Bluetooth helmet comms units prior to the trip. Jeff’s headset was modified for use in a car. He had organised routes for each day.

    This is now

    Meeting at Reigate Hill car park and using a well-known back roads route off the A3 towards the A4 and Marlborough. We gradually worked our way to the Severn Crossing on the M48, Severn Bridge. Then using several very narrow and tracked back roads, with some sections flooded and dirt and difficult passing places, especially for Jeff in a car, we got to the Bridge main road. Over the bridge we entered Wales and rode through Usk and Pontypool. As we neared Abergavenny, we took one of these narrow roads which took us up, onto and over the Brecon Beacons with sheep roaming across the roads and then dropping down towards Abergavenny and our first night hotel at Llanfoist. The route was good and the weather kind all day. The comms were a great success for route finding and to keep the ride/drive lively. Evening with our usual Scotch and Ginger and then dinner in the restaurant at the hotel.

    For day 2 the route which was about 270deg of a circle went further west into Wales. We drove through Bwlch, Llandovery, Govillon and Builth Wells. We stopped for coffee in Llandovery in beautiful sunshine, where we decided the route might be a bit short for the day. So, we added a diversion to Rhayader for lunch and then on to the Elan Reservoir and reserve. This road was fabulous with views and interest at the 1896 Victorian dam and bridge over the reservoir end. Well worth the diversion. The whole day was amazing with great roads, both in quality and interest, along with some stunning views and scenery. Our accommodation for the night was the on the outskirts of Ross on Wye with a restaurant alongside for our dinner.


    That was then

    Day 3, going home, we used much of the A4 towards Marlborough, where we stopped for coffee in the main high street. continuing along the A4 towards Hungerford, Highclere, and Basingstoke. Once on the A25, traffic got busy and so approaching Reigate we said our goodbyes and made our own ways home. Total trip mileage was about 560.

    Using a car and motorcycle SatNavs caused some disparity in the SatNav directions, but in general, other than in some areas where a motorcycle could make more overtaking progress, especially in heavier traffic, the trip was successful, combining a car and a bike. But Jeff’s ability to make good progress was key along with the bike to car comms. The weather was very kind throughout

    Two factors that were noticeable on the trip were how the road surface condition changed from Wales to England as did the amount of traffic on the roads. We also found that the recently introduced blanket 20mph speed limits were not a problem. They were generally in areas where 20 was plenty and many roads still had 30mph in the outer parts of the villages and towns.


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