Thursday, 30 August 2012

Ceredigion by Bike

You too can enjoy the tracks and byways of Dyffryn Aeron.  Photo Credit: Janet Baxter
By happy coincidence, one of Wales' most attractive coastal towns is connected by an easy cycleway to one of Wales' most fascinating country houses open to the public.

The town is Aberaeron, with its wonderful architecture and equally wonderful ice cream and chips, and the country house - you've guessed it - is that miraculous survival from our rural past, Llanerchaeron. 

And now you can enjoy both these attractions without having to resort to the usual necessary evil of the motor car.

Since January, a cycle hire firm has teamed up with the National Trust to establish its base at the car park at Llanechaeron.

I met Simon Firth, the enthusiastically friendly proprietor of this little business, the other day on my travels. With his dog Woody (my "trusty side-kick") sitting patiently at his heels, Simon explained how he'd been approached by Paul Boland, the Trust's Property Manager about a year ago.

"I was working at a bike shop at the time, and Paul put the idea into my head. Although it’s taken a while for people to realise I'm here, I've not looked back."

Simon, who took up cycling on his doctor's orders to combat chronic back pain, is a convincing advocate of the restorative powers of cycling.

I asked him about the route to Aberaeron - which opened as a foothapth and cycleway 14 years ago when the track-bed of the Aeron Valley Railway was awoken from 40 years of neglect.

"At three and a half miles, it's such an easily-achievable distance.  Naturally, its popular as a safe peddle for families, but I've noticed how retired visitors have told me that its the perfect cycle for anyone who’s not been on a bike for a while."

Of course, when you get to your destination, there's no shortage of things to do: there's the ice-cream and chips for a start.

I wonder how many calories you burn off in three and a half miles of cycling?


Simon has a wide range of British-made bikes, trailers for people of all ages.  To contact Simon, phone 07896 895366 or email him on silikesbikes@gmail.com.  To download a leaflet, click here


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