Wednesday, September 6 – Bettws-y-Coed to Bolton

Up again at 7.30am, we were ready for the road at 8.30, and crossing the famous Waterloo bridge we started the long climb up Dinas Hill (620ft high). How beautiful the Lledr valley that morning! How cosy Bettws-y-Coed looked as we mounted steadily upwards, and I was constantly gazing backwards until a bend in the road shut out the view. Then we concentrated on the hill before us. I have a suspicion that Dinas Hill is higher than is supposed. At least we agreed so. Now we are climbing spasmodically, and at Pentrefoelas we were over 1000ft high. The road surface was terrible. Huge chunks seem to have been cut out to give trouble to travellers such as we, and we had plenty to do to dodge them all. This patch of the Holyhead Road has not been repaired since Telford built it. Welsh roads are like little girls:

When they are good, they are very very good,

And when they are bad they are terrible

This also applies to my writing – only it is never good. A slight downward tendency soon took us to Cerrigydrudion. Here we took the Ruthin road over the Denbigh moors. This road is only a secondary one on the Survey maps, and though it is narrow it is of good surface. Uphill again, (a walk), then we were fairly going.

Up, down, level was our routine, and soon we ran through the typical Welsh village of Clawddnewydd. Now for miles we rode alone, constantly dipping and rising at an altitude of 1400ft above the rolling moorlands. It was good to be alive on those free, clean roads. At last we started rushing downwards round some hairpin bends. Then the thing happened. I was letting it go, and I whirled round corners at an angle of 45 degrees when I started creeping towards the hedges and I could not pull up. Then I had the sensation of slowly overbalancing. Just as I was wondering if Denbigh roads are hard, I found out. The floor jumped up, then I remember sitting up with one foot in the rear wheel.

Crawling to my feet, I inspected the bike. All was well except that four spokes were broken in the back wheel and the rim just missed the forks, but it was rideable. So we limped through Ruthin. Into the Clwyd valley and upwards for 1700ft over the Clwydian range, then down into Mold where we had a late dinner. Then on to Queensferry, across the bridge, and on the Wirral Peninsula. Along a wonderful and pretty road we sped through Hooton, Bromborough and old fashioned Eastham, utterly disregarding the wobbles of the wounded wheel.

Then a rotten road took us to Birkenhead, where we just caught the ferry across to Liverpool. Now came the worst thirty miles in England. We got lost leaving Liverpool, which mistake cost us 8 miles. Righting ourselves we ran through Prescot to St Helens, Ashton in Makerfield, Hindley, Westhoughton and the familiar road to Bolton, arriving home at 6.40pm, the back wheel bearing up bravely. This short tour has decided my future course in cycling, and holidays, there is so much variety. From town to woods, and ancient castles, and again to the coast or the wild mountainous desolation, is a change which only the road can effect.

93 miles, 8.25 hours