My Bike Rides along the North Wales Coast Part 15
Late Autumn and Winter 2017
© John Robert Cook 2017
When we returned from Cyprus in the middle of November, I was determined to get out on my bike, even though the weather was colder. However, no marathon rides at this time of year. At the end of November, and the beginning of December, I cycled from Penrhyn Bay to the new bridge at Rhyl. Outside temperature was around 7c and fairly strong North West winds which meant I came back with power assist on 2 or 3. I even went out on my old Powerbyke. Even though I use minimum power, there is no way I would be venturing out on a traditional bike in these cold, windy conditions.
My old Powerbyke. 13 years old now but with three new Panasonic batteries, as good as new.
However, much heavier than my new Wisper and much harder to get on and off.
2nd December 2017. St. Trillo’s Church and well, at Rhos on Sea, and my Wisper has covered 500 miles. Quite a coincidence that the odometer changed to 500 miles exactly at this point, as this had been one of my targets for walking when I was recovering from my operation.
A cold and windy December day. 6c and a very gusty NW wind. I had to cycle along the top footpath as the waves were coming over the promenade.
Photos taken holding onto my bike in the strong wind. It was like being on a surf board riding along the path, as the waves were travelling at the same speed as me.
I rode as far as Pensarn, 9 miles away.
When I cycled back, against a very strong gale, I used various levels of power. On Power 1, I was in first gear, and managing between 4 and 6mph. Without any power it was nearly impossible to cycle, as the wind was so strong.
Power 2, first and second gear and between 5 and 8mph.
Power 3, second and third gear and between 6 and 10mph.
Power 4, third gear upwards, and 10mph upwards.
Finally, on maximum power, I was still managing 15mph, but, with such a strong wind, it was very uncomfortable riding at this speed.
A few days later, with a strong wind against me, around 20mph, I rode back on Power Level 2 and 3 and achieved speeds between 10 and 15mph, in 2nd gear upwards.
This was the first time I had cycled back using power for the whole of the eight mile journey. The wind was blowing at me all the way back and I had two bars of power left when I arrived back, which flicked back to three bars after the bike had been parked up for a couple of minutes. The battery took two and a half hours to charge up, the longest recharge yet.
The next week was very cold and icy, but I ventured out, just riding the 3 miles to Colwyn Bay and back.
Temperature around zero and even the shallow sea water was frozen.
A very slow ride to Cayley Kiosk, after negotiating the ice and a welcome coffee. Then back to Penrhyn Bay. For the first time this winter, I felt cold on my bike.
The view overlooking Rhos Golf Club. I had ridden 6 miles in freezing conditions and just my hands were cold. Head, wooly hat under my helmet which covered my ears. Feet, two pairs of socks, second pair thicker wool and hiking trainers. Thick trousers, and four layers, M and S vest, tea shirt and sweatshirt, and hi vis cycling jacket. With a thinner pair of woollen gloves under my Asda gloves, my hands would have been OK. They actually got cold when I took off my gloves to take the first photos and did not get warm again.
December 22nd and I had completed 600 miles on my new bike. The usual café I go to at Pensarn is now shut for winter, but this café, at the far end of the prom, is still open. I have continued riding throughout December.
Before my bypass operation in January 2017, there would have been no way that I could have ridden as far and using as little power as I do now. I had not been out on my old Powerbyke for at least two years.
I have bought a non electric mountain bike in Cyprus and have ridden up some quite steep hills on it. Electric bike prices there were expensive and although I would have liked a pedelec, I could not justify buying one. However, one would be useful if only to outrun hunting dogs.
I will continue riding the coast path and try to find new, preferably off road routes. I would like to continue the National Cycle Route 5 to Holyhead.
I now want to walk the whole of the Anglesey Coast Path, having completed the Wales Coast Path from Chester to Bangor and then on to Beaumaris. I would then like to continue the Wales Coast Path and walk as far as Barmouth.
What amazes me is the number of people, especially retirees, who stop and talk to me when on my electric bike. So many are interested in getting back in the saddle. Many think the only electric bikes are g tech or the fold ups they have seen on shopping channels. If I go out on my old Powerbyke more people stop me, as visually it is an electric bike, more so than my Wisper.
For me, the advantage of having an electric bike here in the UK is that I go out on it in weather I would not go out in on a traditional bike. When I had a wind of 30 to 40mph blowing against me, and it was more or less impossible to pedal on zero power, I could ride with ease on Power 3 and still attain 15mph on maximum power, even though it was uncomfortable riding at this speed. I also can ride further distances knowing I will be able to get back home.
As the year draws to a close, I can only say how grateful I am for my health and how much I have enjoyed cycling over the past 8 months. If you ever know anyone who has to have a bypass operation, please show them this blog.
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