A 5 day motorbike tour of South Wales (2/5)
Updated: Sep 3
"Mr Archer and the Abby of Shame"
Day 2: Cheltenham - Swansea
Distance: 140 miles (225km)
Highlights: Wye Valley, Afan Forest Park
Accommodation: Loads of places in Swansea - the New Lodge, Alltwen is cheap and cheerful at £50 (no breakfast)
SatNav route: (Settings > Avoid Motorways) Cheltenham · Newent · Hole-in-the-wall · Tintern · Usk · Pontypool · Blackwood · Treorchy · Cymmer · Swansea
Download directions: GoogleMaps
What a relief to wake up to a bright day in Cheltenham after the London deluge yesterday, plus a full English at the Crossways Guest House. Leathers were a little tight after this feast.
On Day 2, head out of Cheltenham on the A40 to Gloucester. Don't worry, fun times are ahead with a 90 minute drive through fantastic windy B-roads and single tracks. If your heart doesn't feel joyed just looking at the third map picture above, you're not a real biker.
After Newent, you enter the Wye Valley as you head towards Hole-in-the-wall... yes, I chose this place solely because of the name.
It was a great choice - extremely rural and the stunning River Wye on your left side.
I bumped into Mr Archer and his sheep before taking a loop around and heading south on the B4224.
There's a nice little place to stop and rest your legs about a mile after Walford called the Hen and Dot Cafe, just over a bridge.
After your cafe break, there are superb biker-dream roads through the Valley where the scenery is astounding. After Staunton, you'll meet the River Wye again, but this time on your right. You cross in and out of Wales and England as you follow the B-road south.
The roads become noticeably better when on the Welsh side - no potholes or sudden edges - but the weather gets noticeably worse too so have your waterproofs ready.
As I came around one particularly satisfying bend, a menacing ruin rose out of the hills, watching us on the road beneath.
The 12th century Abby was so enthralling that I drove straight into the kerb and promptly fell into the road.
The traffic screeched to a halt. An extremely handsome Welsh man leapt out to my aid, just as a biker passed on the other side of the road, shaking his head at my fall from grace and for shaming all of the biking community.
Now Saki was the one looking menacingly up at me, her shame complete and her brake lever broken. 'Shut up', I mumbled at her, 'At least your chrome looks good'.
I couldn't really understand my Welsh Knight in Shining Van but I thanked him profusely as he righted my bike for me.
There's a well-known phrase amongst motorcyclists -
There are only two types of Bikers: those who have dropped their bike and those who lie about it.
Read about Day 3: A motorbike tour of South Wales (3/5) For the full 5 day route and overview, head over to 'A 5 Day Tour of South Wales: Itinerary'.