Across Continents

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Back in North Wales

wheel-building

Photo: Peter Jenkins

A hectic but brief sort out back at the cottage, then a return to CycleWales’ workshops near Caernarfon.  A simple plan – spend 2-3 days consolidating my cycle maintenance skills, primarily by building an entire bike for my neighbour and good friend Peter.  And I mean entire – new wheels out of rims and spokes, preparing the frame with gruesome looking cutting tools, then assembling the whole machine.

If this strikes you as a bit odd – a diversion from preparations for a rapidly approaching departure date – you may be reassured to know that there is real method here.  Peter’s bike uses all the components from my old touring cycle, which generates some welcome funds for the expedition coffers.  But much more importantly, standfast the frame, a great deal of his new bike is the same as my expedition cycle – the gears and brakes for example – which makes the build a really great way to consolidate specific skills I will need out on the road.  It is also really humbling to be asked to do this by a good friend, a real mark of confidence in your new found abilities.

And a visit to North Wales is also rather fun.  Since I moved to Somerset a few years ago, Peter and I have completed a number of Long Distance Walkers Association challenge walks in South Wales.  We work well together as a team.  So no surprise then that we find ourselves in Caernarfon, in a rather curiously named hostelry.  The place, we were told, had been the haunt of students from a CycleWales course the previous week.  It was pleasant enough, the bar food a bit retro even if the pricing was contemporary.  But not somewhere you’d be drawn back to every evening for a week.   We were bemused.  Until a few evenings later when we returned to Caernarfon.  We drifted around the quiet streets, searching for a suitable establishment for dinner.  We soon found ourselves outside a familiar public house….

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