This year’s April Fool’s Day I became a “fool” in some people’s eyes – I cycled about 100 km from Bristol to Cardiff in about half a day. In fact, it’s more like a Valentines’ Day for me. I was riding with my boyfriend and the picturesque landscape along the way was the best gift.
I’ve visited many places in Wales but mainly by train and bus. Many times, holding my camera against the window of the running train or bus, I tried to capture the natural scenes of sheep eating grasses leisurely on farms, colourful flowers and crops dancing elegantly with breeze in the fields, streams flowing down hills smoothly, rivers rushing under bridges, birds flying by and the shining sun and the clear blue sky. I often call these pictures “hazy beauty”. This time I had the chance to be really embraced by the real beauty but I still don’t have satisfactory photos because a static picture simply cannot cover what I totally immersed in. It’s more than what I would see and expect on a train or bus. I smelled the freshness of grasses and the fragrance of flowers. I heard sheep baaing, birds tweeting and streams babbling. I smiled and said “Hello” to spring and of course, to other riders as well.
We are not professional cyclists dressing in jerseys and tights. We didn’t even have our helmets (a policewoman told us it’s for our own safety but it’s allowed :). But it didn’t stop our running wheels. We set off at 11 o’clock in the morning from a place near Bristol Park way train station. By following the national cycling route No. 4, we avoided the main streets and traffics and changed to route No.8 and Taff Trail when approaching to Cardiff centre (thanks to the Opencycle map org).
Most parts of the roads are flat and pleasant to ride. When it came to hills or slopes, we adjusted the gear to the lowest level to reach the top but a few of them were so steep that we had to walk. All the struggle was worthy as what followed was the high feeling from the top leading downhill. I felt like flying. Somewhat it’s like life – we have to work hard to overcome difficulties then we would have the joy and would cherish it. Another exciting moment was when we finally reached the Servern Bridge. Before that, we could already see it from far away but couldn’t go directly to it. The feeling was like you know something is there or you have a goal, but you cannot reach it easily and you know that there is a long way to go. I’m glad we conquered it. Besides that I learned how to put both of my hands away from the handlebar for the first time in my life (it’s dangerous I know but it was an empty space and it’s convenient sometimes if you know how to do it :P). We missed the sunrise in the morning but the sunset was impressive enough and for a short time it seemed that we were chasing the sun. Then we met the moon. It was at around 8 in the evening that we arrived at home.
It wasn’t my first time cycling from one city to another but it’s the longest one and the most beautiful one. I’m proud of myself. It also proved that I’m fit and everything is possible 🙂 I enjoyed and learned a lot from the trip. I agree now that walking and cycling are the best way to travel within cities and fields as you can go into them. Having said that I appreciate that it’s based on the infrastructure and services, such as the cycling path and maps, which I wouldn’t find back in my own country.