On & Off-Road riding in Wales, April 2015

In late August / early September 2014 we ran our first On & Off-Road riding tour in conjunction with The Lake Vyrnwy Hotel and The Mick Extance Kawasaki Experience and it proved so popular then, that we have put three tours in the same format on for 2015, the first of which took place from the 26th – 28th April and the others are in July and October.

The tour is limited to 12 participants in the off-road day and this was only our second all male tour since we started DMT, in fact we could have called it a “family affair” as we had a grandfather, father and son, and two other father and sons on the tour, all very keen motorcyclists and a great group of people to ride with over the three days.

Clywedog Reservoir

Clywedog Reservoir

We started the tour on the outskirts of Shrewsbury and headed through the Shropshire Hills towards the border with Wales for our first Day 1 Brew stopcoffee stop in a small tearooms which has over 27 teas on offer, not to mention excellent tea cakes! From there we continued on some very open flowing motorcycling roads into Mid Wales and lunch was at The Elan Valley Visitor Centre.  We continued towards Machynlleth having a spectacular view of Clywedog Reservoir sparkling in the sunshine, and the blue skies continued all the way to our hotel which was our base for the duration of the tour.

Monday morning we headed over to the Tanat Valley to be met by Mick and his team who Briefing at Mick'sthen kitted everyone out in all the necessary safety gear and a comprehensive briefing was delivered as to how to handle the bikes and before you knew it everyone was out riding up into the forests and mountains.  As with this tour last year there were a mix of abilities as far as off-road riding is concerned but by the end of the day everyone throughly enjoyed the mud, the boulders, the inclines and declines and the sense of achievement as they negotiated the forest roads whilst learning new skills which are valueable not only for riding off-road but also for improving your road riding skills, especially slow speed and awareness of what to do on gravel or uneven surfaces.  Spectacular views over the Tanat ValleyThe views were stunning and several photo opportunities had to be taken during the course of the day as can be seen from our gallery.

We returned to the hotel for dinner that evening and a presentation delivered by Mick about his experiences in the Dakar Rally.  Everyone was enthralled by what Mick and all other participants in this Rally have to do to succeed.

For the last day of the tour the weather had been forecast to change, but luckily for us we continued to have blue skies although a little blustery riding over the Berwyns and into the Snowdonia National Park.  The top of Snowdon was easily seen albeit the cap of the mountain was covered in snow!!!!  We had a coffee stop at The Oakeley Arms hotel who had a roaring log fire burning to welcome us and then a lovely lunch stop at Conwy ValleyThe Eagles hotel in Llanrwst nestled in the Conwy Valley before riding over the Denbigh Moors and across the border into Shropshire for our dispersal point of the tour.

We had a fantastic tour where we enjoyed open roads, beautiful vistas and we are certainly looking forward to joining Mick and his team for the next event in July 🙂

 

First Tour of the 2015 Season – South Wales

Sometimes things come together in a way you can only imagine and that was exactly what happened for us on our recent motorcycle tour of South Wales.

When we put the tour onto the schedule for 2015 and chose the dates of 17th – 21st April we had our fingers (and toes!) crossed for good weather as we had previously toured through this part of Wales in the summer months of July 2012 and August 2013. Newgale beachAll we can say is that the “sun gods” were with us as we had brilliant blue skies accompanying us as we rode open roads through the counties of Pembrokeshire and Carmarthenshire and visited the picturesque Gower Peninsula.

The other key ingredient to a good tour is the people and we were joined by an excellent group all sharing the passion of motorcycling whilst enjoying the scenery and locations we visited. It was good to renew acquaintances who have joined us on previous tours but also to meet new people and over a third of this tour were new clients to DMT.

Our tour started on the Friday with a route starting in North Shropshire, crossing the border into Wales and riding to a very picturesque spot at Elan ValleyThe Elan Valley Visitor Centre, nothing quite like an al fresco lunch to set you up for the excellent motorcycling roads we had planned for the afternoon.  We had a quick “pit stop” at The West End Cafe in Llandovery and suitably re-fuelled with ice-creams 🙂  we set off for the last 30 miles to our base for the weekend in Carmarthen.

On the Saturday we had a ride-out route into Pembrokeshire through rolling hills taking in the smallest city in the UK, that of St David’s before stopping for a not to be missed photo opportunity at the top of the Presili Mountains Presili Mountainswhere the views back over Pembrokeshire to the south and over Cardigan Bay to the north were stunning – as you can see some of our riders took time off their motorbikes to soak up the views 🙂

We stopped in the small fishing harbour town of Aberaeron for lunch and yet more ice-cream before heading back to Carmarthen.

For the ride-out on Sunday we called in at The National Showcaves of Wales, a great place to spend time at, although there was a very “fresh” feel to the air on the ride down the A40 and everyone was more interested in a warming brew in the on-site cafe rather than a visit down into the caves…… maybe next time!  Luckily we came back to the bikes with the temperatures on the rise and by the time we got to Rhossili BayRhossili Bay on the Gower Peninsula we had perfect riding conditions and were able to soak up the beauty of the beach and the surrounding landscape including Worms Head, as you can see from the picture, it is no wonder this beach ranks within the top 10 in Europe 🙂

The last day of the tour continued to be ridden under blue skies with yet more open, flowing riding roads through South and into Mid Wales.  We had morning coffee at The Owl’s Nest Tea Rooms and Diner in Llandovery and had an excellent welcome from Ian and the team – they even took a small video of us leaving as you can see from our facebook page!  Black MountainThe road over the Black Mountain has recently been reduced to a 40mph speed limit but quite honestly you would not want to ride too much faster on that road otherwise you would miss the excellent views you have from the top and as you descend towards Llandovery the hairpins you encounter mean you need to be keeping your speed low……. it’s still a fun road to ride!

In summary, we had waited the 6 months over the winter since our last tour of 2014 looking forward to the start of our 2015 motorcycle touring season and it was a cracking way to start the year………. thanks to all who joined us and here’s hoping the sun shines for us for the rest of the year 🙂

Riding in Ireland – Wild and Fun

We recently spent just under a week motorcycling in Ireland, taking in some of the Wild Atlantic Way to the South and the Antrim coast to the North – the dramatic coastline of Ireland lived up to the descriptives you often hear e.g. “wild, rugged, stunning…..” but nothing can prepare you for some of the breathtaking vistas that open up in front of you, especially if, like us, you fall lucky with a good weather window…… (for most of the time anyway!!).

We have already taken a couple of tours to parts of Ireland – County Mayo and The Antrim Coastline in 2013 and Cliffs of MoherCounty Clare in 2014 when we visited the stunning Cliffs of Moher, (pictured here).  This year we are going to be touring Donegal and Kerry in September and already have two more motorcycle tours to Ireland for next year.

It is not just the scenery which draws us to this wonderful part of the world, but the warm welcome we receive wherever we ride to.  We certainly had a great laugh on our most recent trip whilst having coffee in Ardee Ger Ardeeat Caffreys Home Bakery – there we were sat outside enjoying the sunshine and the next thing our motorbikes drew a lot of attention with people coming up to us and asking where we had been, what had we seen and where were we going!!!  We had one lady offer to help us drink our tea and eat our cakes, and two ladies who said they weren’t allowed into the Bakery ???? reason being they said they were too tempted by all the cakes on display 🙂  We met the owner of the shop, his 91 yr old mother who looked years younger, and two of the sisters who’s favourite place to visit is the Antrim Coast.  The town had such a welcoming feel about it and is certainly one to call by in if ever you are passing that way.

During our 6 days in Ireland we encountered all 4 seasons!!  The Wild Atlantic WaySunshine in the south with warm temperatures and blue seas reflecting off the blue skies, snow on the hills overlooking the Hills over Antrim CoastAntrim Coast, rainstorms blowing in from the Atlantic and early morning fogs and mists rolling in from the sea.  The senses of a motorcyclist are always being treated as you ride and we had a real treat on this tour through Ireland – we are already looking forward to riding there later this year 🙂