Mon, or Ynys Mon, the Isle of Anglesey.
I first visited the island mid Sept 13′.
I’d always intended to return and take Mrs M down for a break in the area.
I’d thought of a bike ride around the outer roads of the island, I finally decided on a route of around 105 miles trying to avoid the main roads where possible taking in the N, NW and SW parts. I looked at the height elevations and decide the way to go. I later found that looking at this pre-warned me how ‘up and down’ parts of the Island are, folk say if you have to climb that you always get the descents to recover the legs, true to a point.
I’d thought to do the island anti-clockwise in two days but as you’ll read later that the plan soon went south. I hadn’t been off the main roads on my previous visit so it was unknown territory and was looking forward to the trip.
I choose a random 4 days in late March as I’d hoped, it being an island might have been milder at the time of the year plus it would be the first of this years planned cycles.
We headed down and arrived at Bangor, our base for the trip, booked in to accommodation and headed across Thomas Telford‘s Menai Suspension Bridge to the place with the long name for a touristy bit first.
I decided just to start at the Inn where I prepared the bike before heading along a new shared path towards the Menai Suspension Bridge, a couple of photos then a slow cycle over the bridge.
I’d decided on going anti-clockwise, coming off the bridge and turning right along the A545 towards Beaumaris, the road was quiet mid morning, I arranged with Katie to meet in Moelfre around 20 odd mile into my first day. I’d a quick look around the castle area at Beaumaris then headed into roads unknown, taking on higher parts and meeting signs like 17% en route passing through Llangoed, Mariandyrys heading west going over the highest point of this part of the ride, just over 600 ft ASL.
The legs enjoyed the more level roads after Llanddona whilst heading to Pentraeth then Benllech. It was hard going at times into such strong headwinds, the wind was forecast from the south-west, I’m not exactly aerodynamic but I plodded on enjoying new roads of which the surfaces were to enjoy, I stopped at Benllech for a bite, my handlebar pannier filled with goodies. Roads were very quiet and not one cyclist spotted, I wonder if the hilly part I’d came up was something to do with it?
I wasn’t too far from the town of Moelfre, my meeting place with K. It was an enjoyable ride down to the small beach car park where I found my back brake had been lightly seized on, I assume it must have stayed engaged as I headed down the steepest last part into town, a quick tweak with the multi-tool and all was well again, I hoped.
Off up the short , steep hill and I turned on to another side road which lead me eventually back on to the A5025, wind now getting stronger plus I was heading to Amlwch and my next meet with K at Cemaes. Passing through Amlwch I stopped to look at ‘Paddy’s Boat’, a stunning looking church see HERE then a slight detour rolling down to Bull Bay, descending quickly whilst trying to soak in the views, I knew if I was heading down, I’d soon be heading back up. You can see a pattern here but as I crested out of Bull Bay I was now exposed to a strong headwind which was making the going tough. I decided that either at Cemaes or Tregele, I’d stop for the day. I knew the next section was on very narrow country roads it could wait until the next day. Rendezvous with K and a meeting point near Tregele made. I stopped and had felt the effects of the ascents but more of the constant headwind in places. It was back to base and a hot bath to ease the tired legs.
I had mulled over the planned route and had a thought of heading clockwise and hoping to reach Holyhead at least, I’d options after that, one being the original route or heading up from Valley toward Tregele, I’d see how the legs felt as I headed.
I took the same route to the Menai Bridge but headed for ‘Llanfair etc etc’ and took the A4080 heading towards Niwbwrch, I cycled along fairly sheltered roads, Rhosneigr was our first rendezvous point, I soon hit the long straight through the dunes before Aberffraw, wow, this was heavy going. I wondered if I’d made the correct call. I had a quick bite and drink before setting off again. I took the loop down through Rhosneigr and emerged back on the A4080 heading towards Engedi and a left turn along some country lanes where almost immediately I got stopped as a tractor had broken down, I just carried the bike past and carried on, I was enjoying the sheltered lane until it was back on to open roads but the thought of a cake break kept the legs pedalling, I soon cycled along the Airport/RAF base before heading south past Valley down towards Trearddur, cycling along I could see Katie standing and gesturing to a Cafe, I padlocked Polly and sat to a coffee and clotted cream scone, delicious. Worth the stop!
Onward to Holyhead via the coast road (South Stack Rd) but I kept heading with the ups and downs of the shore before heading inland again with Holyhead Mountain ahead of me. I finally had the benefit of a tailwind, this made the last miles enjoyable. Cycling along the harbour I soon made our rendezvous point, I’ll finish it next day.
The easy run down from Tregele on the main A road towards Holyhead on a day which the wind had strengthened but no, I’ll revert to the original plan of down over country back roads. I set off from Tregele and within minutes I was ascending and laughing saying downhill Bob, downhill. Nope, I enjoyed the rollercoaster run of this section of NCN 566,
I decided at Rhydwyn to head out and suffer the headwind on the main road to Valley. Tough going at times but I knew as soon as I hit the town and turned west along the A5, my tour would end, it was along the Stanley Embankment onto Holy Island before continuing along the cycle lane into Holyhead, a quick run over and down and it was over.
106 miles, three sessions, 40, 45 and 21.
hard-fought, heavy headwinds, occasional steep ascents but enjoyable.
I had thought two days but in hindsight with a calmer cycle it was possible.
Do it again? why not as there are still side roads to explore.
The route had everything, leafy country roads, interesting geographs to stop at, coastal roads, a mix of main and back roads, I find back roads more interesting as you never know what is around the corner, traffic on the main roads wasn’t that bad and pleased to say apart from one twat going through a red light as I made my way right on to the A5, I felt safe. Every mile is different.
The following day, it was the long drive north, it was good to be back in the area, I’ll be back but I’ll leave Polly at home as there are plenty hills in the area.
Click on each image for larger view.