Planning the Cycle Tour
For a few years now I have had this urge to do a little bit of cycle touring, instead of our usual 50-70 mile per day jaunts across the UK over 2 or 3 days. I wanted to take my time and savour the cycling experience. So here is our guide to how we planned and executed our Cycle Touring trip to Wales in September 2019.
The five-day trip broke down as follows, however, we did not plan this ahead of time, I will explain that in more detail a little later.
- Day 1a to the Sheffield Train Station (10 Miles)
- a hilly Day 1b Chester to Milwr (18 Miles)
- Day 2 Milwr to Abergele (28 Miles)
- Day 3 was Abergele to Rhos on Sea (12 Miles)
- an easy Day 4 Rhos on Sea to Conwy (11 Miles)
- Day 5a Conwy Youth hostel to the Train Station
- Day 5b Sheffield Train Station to home. (10 Miles)
When I initially planned the route, I knew I wanted to do the Cycle Touring in Wales and the locations I wanted to have at the start and end locations. But not where to stay on all of the days inbetween.
Many factors would help decide where we stayed, for example, the distance we could ride each day whilst going at a leisurely pace with 20kg+ of additional luggage on board the bikes. Also what places we wanted to visit during the day, the weather and any mechanical issues we may have encountered and obviously, costs.
So we adopted a more fluid strategy to making arrangements about where we would get our heads down for the night on days two to four. So I created a sheet with locations the distance between them and possible places to camp or lodge for the night.
Distances & Possible Locations to Stay
|Location||Distance to next|
|Dolphin||1.5||18.5||Glan Yr Afon Inn|
Nant Mill Touring
|Rhyl||2||36||Ty Mawr Holiday Park|
|Rhos on Sea||2||47.5||Dinarth Hall|
Lets start at the beginning…
Day 1 (Sheffield to Milwr)
On Saturday, September 7, we were up bright and early. Before we could get underway, we had to make our final preparations for our Tour of North Wales.
First checking that we had our money, booking confirmations, train tickets & id. We could then move on to the slightly larger items like phones, bike lights, torches, first aid kit, shoes, cooking gear, clothes, sleeping bags, sleeping mats, and our tent. Then finally we checked our bikes were under all the baggage.
Once we had checked we had everything we needed we set off from home on the 10-mile journey to Sheffield Train Station, I still call it Midland Station on occasion. According to CycleStreets the journey would take 1:45 on a balanced route. That seemed a little bit longer than I expected, but we had heavy luggage to carry so we planned the day using those figures.
The route took us on roads to Oughtibridge where we joined NCN route 627 which we followed off-road down to Penistone road. We then continued on route 627 on the pavement alongside Penistone road as far as Khelam Island were we jumped on to the upper done walk until we arrived at Waingate. At Waingate we turned off the 627 and went past the old market areas and over to Fitzalan Square, before heading down to Pond Street and arriving at Sheffield Station. The journey took just under an hour, so we had plenty of time to sit around and drink coffee.
Navigating the Trains
The outward leg of our train journey was interesting but went without too much of a hitch. We probably didn’t pick the best destination for our first multi-day cycle tour, due to the complexity. The trip to Chester had two changes using three different trains, so the journey went like this.
Sheffield -> Stockport -> Crew -> Chester.
We did not really have much time once we arrived at a station before we then had to hustle with our bikes and all the luggage to another platform as quickly as possible. Not counting any late arrivals I think we had between 12 and 19 minutes to get our acts together and be ready on the correct platform before our next train departed without us. Sarah had found an app which confirmed the platform your next train was leaving from, this was invaluable, it’s also named well, “Trains”, we can highly recommend it.
Two and a half hours & three trains later we arrived in Chester.
Cycling from Chester to Flint Castle
Once we left the train station in Chester we headed South down City Road. where we joined National Cycle Network Route 45 (also marked 70 & 71) following along the canal West for a few miles.
Once we reached Telfords Warehouse (a restaurant & bar) on Tower Wharf, we left the canal behind and headed to the banks of the River Dee where we picked up National Cycle Route 568, which took us into Wales.
We followed the River Dee for around 6 miles until we crossed to the other bank near Shotton. A few miles after Shotton, the route weaves through Connah’s Quay. Once we were back by the water we had just 3 miles to ride before we reached one of the places I wanted to look around.
Flint Castle to Milwr
We arrived at Flint Castle, with plenty of time to have a look around. With it being one of the places I had highlighted to visit, which handily is right on NCN route 5 at the 14-mile marker along the route from Chester.
Flint Castle or “Castell y Fflint” in welsh was one of the first castles built as part of King Edward the 1st’s campaign to conquer wales.
We snapped a handful of pictures on our phones as we wandered around looking at the castle and enjoying the fantastic weather.
We were at the castle for some time. When we left the castle we headed northwest along the coast following NCN route 5 until we reached Bagillt. Once we passed through Bagillt. The fun really started. I had read a few complaints about the routing of this part of the ride but thought hey, it’s only a climb. It turned out to be a very long and very steep climb. Cycle touring in Wales appears very difficult especially with 20kg of extra weight on your bike.
It was fantastic to reach the Glan Yr Afon Inn at the top of that awful climb. The locals at the Inn were fantastic and extremely friendly. Telling us their cycling tales and listening to ours.
After a long rest and a shower, we decided to try out the food at the Inn and it was great. We found the staff very helpful and attentive throughout the evening, we were pleasantly surprised because the place was very busy.
Wrapping Up Cycle touring in Wales Day 1
We thought long and hard about taking the cameras and spare batteries as well as all the other things required to film this trip. But, in the end, I decided to leave them behind on our first multi-day cycle touring adventure. This decision helped us save weight and not have to worry about charging all that additional electronic equipment. I made the decision that I would document the visit to North Wales on this blog.
I will film and produce a video from our next tour, I promise!
So I do hope you found this first post about our Cycle Touring in North Wales very interesting & informative. It might even inspire you to take the same tour!!
If you would like to see some of our video content please visit our YouTube channel Here
Until next time, stay safe on those trails.