I decided to start this blog as it maybe the new way of getting outdoors following a knee problem which is currently affecting my walking trips.
A physio suggested that an exercise bike may help as there is less pressure on the knees, frankly sat in a room pedaling and going nowhere is not my idea of fun.
At the beginning of May we were fortunate to win a holiday at Bluestone in Pembrokeshire. If my walking Navigator is reading this he will be swearing as he has strong views on Bluestone as it was partly built within the National Park contrary to everything such a park stands for.
Anyway I have few principles and off we went. This would be an opportunity to hire a bike and see how the knee reacted. I thought I would just pootle around the site, but it was not to be.
The hire bikes are typical mountain bikes for mainly off road use. The chap fitted me up with something approaching the right size, gave me a map of suggested routes and wished me luck.
Bluestone is surrounded by woods and all of the routes to a greater or lesser degree use forestry tracks and old green lanes.
Now I had not ridden a bike in anger for a considerable time and there was a certain amount of time taken in getting used to the myriad of gears and their levers not to mention balance.
My first thought was to ride down to Blackpool Mill where from past memory they served a decent cuppa and cake and by then I would at least know if I should turn back and reclaim my deposit.
Immediately I was on a rough track leading down through a forest track which soon joined a wider forestry road with less steepness! However with on reaching the Mill I found it was shut and looked like it would be that way for some time. Any canoeists reading this need to take note as there is a good paddle from Landshipping up the Eastern Cleddau to Blackpool Mill – you will now need your own refreshments.
Anyway, now what? Well I returned up the forestry track and kept straight on as this was fairly flat and easy going. I decided to take the red route as described on the Bluestone map which if I had no problems would head towards Templeton, across the old airfield and meander its way back to Canaston Woods and home, approximately 9.5 miles. There were some escape routes to shorten the trip but I would see how it went.
On leaving Canaston Woods, which follows the Knights Way, I crossed the road and continued on the Knights Way, an improved track, riding through the first ford of the day. The track contained a number of up hills which saw my legs flying around in the lowest gears I could find. A lesson was learned in that starting from a standstill in the lowest gear can evolve almost immediately into “wheelie”!
There were some views back over to Narberth and a welcome camera break was had.
I came across my second ford on this track which took some concentration not helped by two dogs who came running out of the adjacent farm intent on giving me some grief.
Another minor road was crossed which led into a delightful lane which led to the disused airfield, at least by aeroplanes.
It is still used by the MOD and there are dire warnings about not touching suspicious metal fragments. I did come across at least two lots of army personnel who seemed to be involved with communications judging by the aerials surrounding their encampment.
Anyway I stuck to the sign posted route and for a short way joined a B road with more traffic than I had experienced so far. Thankfully it was only about half a mile when I turned north onto a minor road towards Washfield Farm, over the A road to Molleston Cross.
Here I turned left onto a track which soon became a fairly steep descent on rougher ground and eventually leads back into Canaston Woods and back to Bluestone.
The good news was that my knee gave me no trouble, although other parts of my anatomy had aches and pains!
I now need to try more bike rides and if the knee behaves, looks like some money may have to be spent. A quick web search shows there are a myriad of bikes to choose from and a wider range of prices.