Old Ma’s Coffee Shop

We finally managed to get out and ride our bikes after being ill over Christmas and New Year. Now I’m feeling better I could also try out the selfie stick Ryan got me for Christmas so I can use my GoPro more. Thanks to the GoPro Quik Stories app it is super easy to put together short videos too.

Getting up early to go out on a Sunday was definitely a shock to the system after letting myself have lie ins to recover from whatever illness I had. After getting out on the bikes today my head is so much clearer and I’m starting to feel a bit more like myself again. I’ve even found a gym to join so I can get back to training properly. When I don’t train I just donkt quite feel like myself. Being active and into fitness has always been a part of who I am.

With Ryan deep into his training for 2018, it was good to get out together too. No pressures to get back for a certain time, or because we actually got up on time, we weren’t chasing the light either.

We couldn’t believe how many cyclists and runners we seen out! I can honestly say we saw around 30 cyclists out on the route we did, or in the cafe we stopped at.

We stopped at Old Ma’s Coffee Shop, which isn’t too far from the Ice Cream Farm in Tattenhall. Ryan’s been before, but today was my first visit and I couldn’t recommend it more! It’s such a welcoming cafe with really good food. Value for money is great too.

I hope you all managed to get out and enjoy the outdoors this weekend, whether that was cycling or not.

Attingham Park, Shrewsbury

I put these photos into Photoshop, but then decided to I liked them as they were.

Our visit to Attingham Park was a bit sporadic, yet I’m still glad we went even if it was rather cold! Next time I’ll make sure to go back more wrapped up, but then we could just go back when it’s a bit warmer…

After a tour round the house, where I kept trying to make Ryan laugh, we wandered up to the deer since I was dying to take some photos of them. Next time, I’ll try and take a longer lens as I could photograph them all day!

18 Things to Do in 2018

18 things to do in 2018

I suppose it’s that time of year I should write a little post about the approaching New Year. I’ve had such a great Christmas, even if I was a little unwell for part of it. I couldn’t dive into all of the food like normal…ha!

To make a post that’s a little different, I wanted all of my readers to be able to get involved too. 18 questions about what you want to accomplish in 2018. Write your answers on a piece of paper or in the comments below. I’ve even put my answers at the bottom of this post!

1. New Year Resolution?
2. Sport to Try?
3. Place to Visit Abroad?
4. Staycation to Book?
5. Bad habit to get rid of?
6. Book to read?
7. Unfinished project you want to finish?
8. Mountain to climb?
9. Skill to improve?
10. Film to watch?
11. Recipe to master?
12. Planned event you’re already looking forward to?
13. Something to start saving money for?
14. National Trust Heritage site to visit?
15. Film to carry on watching a million times over?
16. 2018 Challenge to complete? (#365PhotoChallenge?)
17. Fitness/Activity event to conquer?
18. Thing to be most grateful for?

1. New Year Resolution?
With Ffion on our mountain bikes the other day, we were having a good old chat about New Year Resolutions and fitness came into both of ours. Mine is to get functionally stronger. I’ve let my fitness slip the past few months so its about time I did something about it! I just need to decide on a gym to join…

2. Sport to Try?
After hearing all about my brother’s trip to Whistler, I’m hoping I’ll get to try Snowboarding this year.

3. Place to Visit Abroad?
Oo a tough one, but France is probably the most likely whether that’s to hit the slopes on a snowboard or climb the mountain roads on my trusted Liv Envie.

4. Staycation to Book?
I haven’t managed to knuckle it down to one particulae location, but I’d love to organise a group holiday to a cottage/cabin somewhere with lots of cycling and mountains nearby!

5. Bad habit to get rid of?
Overthinking everything!

6. Book to read?
With motorsport being another big part of my life, the book I want to read os one written by the wife of Frank Williams. Williams: A Different Kind of Life is written by the wife of Frank Williams and the troubles they’ve overcome after his accident.

7. Unfinished project you want to finish?
Paint some canvas’ to put up in the house.

8. Mountain to climb?
Cadair Idris as I have actually only been up to the lake…which I ended up swimming in!

9. Skill to improve?
It’s cheating but I want to put two down, my photography and cycling fitness.

10. Film to watch?
The Nutcracker, which was actually filmed somewhere I have been with Ryan earlier this year. I can already recognise the place from the trailer!

11. Recipe to master?
Any recipe out of a cookbook I had off Ryan for Christmas, RAF 100 Cookbook.

12. Planned event you’re already looking forward to?
Going to see Stereophonics.

13. Something to start saving money for?
Snowboarding holiday.

14. National Trust Heritage site to visit?
Gunby Hall, Lincolnshire.

15. Film to carry on watching a million times over?
Any of the Fast & Furious Films or Skyfall. I always love getting all cozy with a hot chocolate with Skyfall on the TV.

16. 2018 Challenge to complete? (#365PhotoChallenge?)
In relation to my blog it will be to make sure I post every week, but for cycling it will be to enter some more CRIT races.

17. Fitness/Activity event to conquer?
Welsh Champs TT.

18. Thing to be most grateful for?
Having supportive family and friends around me.

I’d love to hear your answers below and what goals you’ve got for 2018!

Girls, Gossip and Bikes

When you’re a child you always want to be older, but as an adult you’ll often want to be a child again. Keeping in contact with friends was so much simpler back then, but as an adult there’s always something on the to-do list.

With some time off over Christmas I’ve thankfully been able to catch up with friends I’ve not seen for so long! Including Ffion who I’ve been up to Llandegla with today. With both of us having assignments to be handed in, catching up with each other hasn’t been that easy. Yet today both of us has some time to go and ride round Llandegla. We could have maybe gone somewhere a bit different as I ride there so much, but my confidence on the bike lately isn’t great!

Parking up at Llandegla I’d made sure to wrap up warm, although with the 10 degrees temperatures it turned out I didn’t need to. We pedalled our way to the top with conversation in full flow.

Going round the two berms right at the top of the forest we knew we’d both want to stop to take some photos of the view. With even more logging taking place at the top of the forest, it made way for being able to see fog sitting at the bottom of the valley. With all the times I’ve been to Llandegla, I’ve never seen anything similar happen.

With the start of the black closed off we followed the red round, whilst I was forever in the wrong gear. I’ve somehow still not got use to having two chain rings as opposed to 3, or I’m just more familiar with road bike gearing these days…

The forest was rather quiet, so we didn’t see too many people out on the trails, which helped make it a really relaxed ride. We stopped a few times, then quickly started pedalling again after realising we’d been chatting for 20 minutes.

Rolling back down to the trail centre I washed my bike down whilst Ffion tried out the Freeride. I don’t think me or my bike would have coped with that…ha! However, thanks to a revamped section at the top of the red I did actually manage to get my bike off the ground…I think!

With a piece of doorstop toast & cheese on top and an americano (although I was torn between the toast or a cake!), we both refuelled before heading home. I also had a quick chat with the guys at Llandegla about next year’s event ‘Girls at Llandegla‘, which I’m super excited about now! It’s registered with Help For Heroes now, I just need to make a few adjustments to the poster and I can fully get to work on organising it after everyone’s had a great Christmas & New Year.

Maybe you know someone with a New Year’s Resolution of trying a new sport or exercising more…why not bring them to ‘Girls At Llandegla’?

Should we turn around?

A catch up with Ellen was long overdue and we decided to meet at the rather amazing cafe by the reservoir at Llyn Brenig. However I did get an intense feeling of guilt when I couldn’t reply to the lady working behind the till in Welsh…she did speak English too thankfully, but can I even call myself Welsh if I can’t speak a word of the language…ha!

Breakfast butties on the way and hot chocolates in tow, we chatted away as us girls always do.

Ryan had gone off to clock up some miles on his road bike near the reservoir, so Ellen & I went for what I thought would be a quick wander round the reservoir.

How on earth did I manage to forget how big the reservoir was?

We just kept walking…and walking…and walking, up to the point where Ellen mentioned we turn back. But I thought it would be a good idea to carry on. We kept on walking but were slowly questioning whether we where walking round in circles.

Wandering along the path there were so many pre-cut Christmas trees around, which was rather random. They’d been cut down but not taken home to be covered in tinsel and fairy light. Such a waste…ha! The temptation to take on home was so big!

9 miles later I felt incredibly guilty for making Ryan wait for so long, as he’d only been out for 2 hours…we’d been 3. Not to mention the fact Ellen hadn’t got the comfiest of shoes either!

It was good to get away from the chaos that seems to unfold at Christmas though. No busy supermarkets or to-do lists to tick off. Just spending time with friends like Christmas should be.

Christmas Cards & All the Trimmings

It was a lazy start to the morning. I woke up, but instead of getting ready straight away I went downstairs to grab a coffee and some Weetabix (because this girl is rather fond of some Weetabix in the morning) and hopped back into bed to write some Christmas cards. Catching up on Made In Chelsea as well of course!

However, I’m not sure how much longer I’ll be a fan of the big MiC. There’s always a drama and they just seem to go round in circles rather than resolve arguments about the most minuscule of things.

So, with some Christmas cards written and my tummy full of Weetabix I slowly got my things together to get out on my bike. With a million layers thanks to me being so pathetic in the cold…ha…I headed out with no real plan of where I was heading.

The hills probably weren’t the best idea yet with all of the snow refusing to melt, so I ended up following country lanes over into Cheshire instead.

Having completed assignments I wanted to get sorted before going back to work after Christmas the night before, it was so refreshing to be able to get up and ride my bike with a clear head. I can try and switch off from work, but those deadlines always seem to play on your mind until they’re done don’t they? I can actually enjoy Christmas and not feel guilty for those assignments I haven’t done yet…because they’re all done. It was a hard slog to get them done, but they’re finally sorted.

The weather was fairly pleasant actually so I thought a 20 mile ride would be a good distance to aim for. Since I’ve been spending more time sitting at my desk than exercising lately, my fitness isn’t exactly great so I’m just easing myself back into things. I could just ride along at my own pace and get my legs use to being on the bike again.

At one point in my ride I thought it was going to become quite interesting. I turn the corner and the road is completely covered in hedge cuttings. I mean it was like a carpet of hedge cuttings right across the road. Yet somehow my tyres coped and I got around my ride ok, although I did have to stop a few times to check them!

Apart from that it was a fairly relaxing ride to be honest. I pretty much used my Garmin to record the mileage as I knew the stats wouldn’t be anything amazing. Although as the sun started to come out on my way home I knew I’d made the right decision in going out in the first place. I can’t remember which cyclist it was, but they said earlier in the year that a short ride is better than no ride. And I can totally agree with them.

Now though? It’s definitely time for a brew.

Review: Ryder Alumia 1600 Front Light

Cycling Light Review - Ryder Alumia 1600A good front light is a necessity for winter riding. Not only is it good to have something for when you run out of light at the end of a ride, having a daytime light will help you be seen by other road users, especially when the sun is low.

Choosing a light can be as hard as choosing a bike. With lots of options and price points, it can be a complete minefield.

So when the guys at Cycle Republic gave us the chance to test out their new Ryder Alumia 1600, I jumped at the chance to see what this brand was all about.

Cycling Light Review - Ryder Alumia 1600Due to an injury and weather conditions that always seem to be against me, I haven’t been able to get out with the light. However, Ryan is already deep into his training for another season of time trialling and road races. So he took it out and this is how he got on.

The light arrived with minimalistic packaging, with a simple handlebar mount and a USB charging cable (which is conveniently the same as a Garmin cable). The mounting bracket took seconds to fit and after a quick charge it was time to ride.

My testing ground was the Lincolnshire Fens, these often exposed long straight lanes with little light pollution, offered a great place to really see what the light was capable of.

As the name suggests the Alumia 1600 is a 1600 lumen light. In other words, it’s really bright! Starting off in daylight I put the light into daytime mode, which is a slow flash.

As the sun started to set it was easy enough to turn up the brightness, just a simple press of the big button on the top of the unit. The button also doubles up as the battery indicator, with a simple traffic light system telling you how much battery is left.

The first test for the light was to see how sturdy the bracket was, I purposely picked out a truly horrible piece of road that was all broken up and full of potholes. I hit it hard and chose an unforgiving line and even bunny hopped a few holes. And while the light rattled around a little, it stayed put, and not once did it move so much as to stop me seeing the road ahead.

Cycling Light Review - Ryder Alumia 1600

While having a bright light is good, what a lot of lights lack is a large beam width. It’s all well and good seeing directly in front of you. But being able to see the whole road is a major benefit.

Cycling Light Review - Ryder Alumia 1600The Ryder has a particularly wide beam width, even with the light mounted to the left of my stem, I could easily see the right hand edge of the road. What was even more impressive is that somehow, the light managed to light up my front wheel. Something I’ve never seen from a light before. While zipping along at 20mph I had no trouble seeing what was ahead and mostly rode without the light on maximum brightness (to save power and not dazzle oncoming drivers).

Cycling Light Review - Ryder Alumia 1600Another neat little feature is the the Alumia has a USB port and can act as a power bank for your Garmin/phone/etc.

Cycling Light Review - Ryder Alumia 1600At a RRP of £100 (currently on sale for £80) the Alumia 1600 is a good value for money light perfect for night riding on the road. We’ll be getting out over the next few weeks and possibly see how it manages on the trails!

Cycling Light Review - Ryder Alumia 1600

Bodnant Garden

This is somewhere which I’ve wanted to go for such a long time. It’s so easy to just get absorbed into estate gardens when you walk around them. So many paths with the only decision required is which path to take next.

Either way, this is where Ryan and I spent our Sunday and the closer we got to the garden the further the sun came from behind the clouds. Some might say we lucked out really!

This little guy started to follow us round!


This idea has been circulating around my head for a while. The more I come across #GirlsAtMoelfre photos by chance on my phone, the more I want to organise another event…so that’s exactly what I’m doing.

I wanted to get everything in place before I announced it, but then #GirlsAtMoelfre developed more as an event the closer it got to the big weekend. I wanted to be 100% sure on what I wanted the event to be about. Obviously girls having fun riding their bikes, but I wanted it to have a bit more about it too.

After this video popped up in my timeline this weekend, I guess I could say it just clicked. (Excuse the language in the video mind if little eyes are reading this!)

I want it to be an event for all ages. Where we can all encourage each other to ride bikes in a relaxed environment.

We’ll split into groups and go and ride the trails at Llandegla. No set pace, just choose whatever trail you’re comfortable riding. If your a beginner you can come and have a go. Even if you’re a seasoned racer, why not come and just enjoy a laid back day on your bike? With it being on the 31st March, hopefully it’s before your season has kicked off!

Take advice from another Russel Howard video…and make memories. Maybe grab a few photos, but most importantly just enjoy it.

I had no idea Russell Howard was making this new TV programme, but right now I can’t respect him more!

So what happens after we ride bikes? We’ll go and have a good chinwag in the cafe at Llandegla (in the ‘Classroom’ if you’re wanting to be specific!). We’ll have a panel of female cyclists leading the discussion. Like Loose Women but for cycling…ha!

Since we’re all just riding around the trails, if you want to just come for a ride around the trails, then this will be completely free (after paying for parking at Llandegla that is!). As I’m hoping to get some big names to the talk, I’ll be selling tickets for it closer to the time once I get an idea for numbers. I expect tickets will be roughly £10 and all of that money will go to Help for Heroes. I’ll re-release the #GirlsAtLlandegla with the Help For Heroes Logo on it…I’m just waiting on the registration of the the event with them to go through!

Fancy coming along? Register for your free ticket by following this link -> #GirlsAtLlandegla

Clocking up the Miles to Pass the Time

When Lucy said she was doing a Breeze course in Bangor, I thought that sounded like a great idea to go with her and enjoy a nice ride in Snowdonia as I waited for her.After it was planned I then found out that the course was running 9.00-17.00.

I now had a lot of time to fill, so I foolishly decided to go and ride 100 miles.
Lucy had started her course and I was left to faff about and get ready to ride. Heavy rain didn’t make me hugely enthusiastic about the idea though. Eventually the rain stopped and I thought this was my window. I headed out to Llanberis, which was the first major climb of the day, the Pen-y-Pass. Spray off the road made it impossible to stay dry.

The Pen-y-Pass is a fairly enjoyable climb. It reels you in with a nice gentle gradient at first before properly kicking up towards the summit. At the foot of the climb the weather looked to be improving, so I had removed my waterproof and gloves, only to layer back up for the cold and foggy descent. I shot down the other side through the fog and intermittent rain showers into Betws-y-Coed and then onto the next, and hardest, climb of the day.

The small village of Trefriw isn’t known for much, but it’s where the climb of the Old Cowlyd starts. This bit of road is insane, its been described as the hardest climb in the UK. While the Pen-y-Pass starts gently, the Cowlyd delivers a sucker punch from the outset. 

Have you ever climbed something so steep your feet hurt? 

Well that’s what the Cowlyd has in store. The almost relentless gradient eases off slightly about halfway (but not enough to leave your easiest gear) and then you hit the hairpins. All 8 of them back to back and incredibly steep. Never have I wanted a climb to end so badly. 

20 minutes of pain and suffering later I finally made it to the top.

Now it was the short ride back to Betws and onto the Crimea Pass, which would take me to Blaenau Ffestiniog. The Crimea is one of the few wide roads in the area and again starts out fairly steady with a few kicks, until you get to the last mile which really hurts. About half way up the heavy rain returned. Rain heavy enough to cause a car to loose traction and almost spin a full 360 degrees right in front of me. This ride was turning out to be quite eventful to say the least.

If climbing the Crimea was bad the decent was even worse. It was cold and wet with the rain drops like tiny bullets hitting my face.

Yet I was stubborn enough to have the Stwlan Dam as the next thing to tackle.

This dead end service road is closed to traffic and takes you up to the Dam at the top. The road snaked up the mountain with hairpins thrown in for good measure.

It was such a relief to find there was a cafe near the bottom. The kind ladies in there took pity on the drenched cyclist and made me an extra strong coffee and served up my order of egg and beans on toast in no time at all. I threw the food down my throat and then tried to warm up and dry out some of my kit.

After warming up a bit and plucking up the courage to continue, I set off but only to find myself cold again!

Now on the lumpy road to Beddgelert, the further I went the nicer the weather got. However, from Beddgelert I was riding on the long drag up to Rhyd-Ddu, which isn’t the steepest of roads really.

With fresh legs it’s hardly anything. But with legs battered by 2000m of climbing over the 77 miles I’d ridden? It hurt and went on forever.

After that it was over to Caernarfon and along the coastal cycle path back to Bangor. I was glad for a bit of flat riding as every little hill struck pain into my legs.

I got to Bangor with 96 miles on my Garmin, and although I was very tired, I couldn’t stop that close to the full 100. So after a couple of laps around some random streets I finished up at the university to find Lucy sat in the car having just finished her course. Not bad timing really.