Work is underway!

I’m hopping around with excitement in preparation for the Cardiff Bike Art Trail 2012. Today, I have been painting Milgi’s window with Sophie Barras with a collaborative design to celebrate our love for the bicycle.

Sophie’s back tomorrow to complete it. Mary Anne Cooke and Jacob Stead have collaborated to create a Circue de Cyclisme in Sho Gallery’s window. It’s adorable!

Route maps are available from:

Milkwood Gallery, Lochaber Street;

Sho Gallery, Inverness Place;

Reg Braddick Cycles, Broadway;

The Bike Shed, Cathedral Road;

Cyclopaedia, Crwys Road;

Sustrans, Bute Street.

Tomorrow, I’ll be hanging work in The Printhaus, Llandaff Road, and next week, in Milkwood Gallery. I hope you can all make it to some events at Cardiff Cycle Festival starting this weekend. I’m certainly going to do the Peter Finch tour with Cardiff Cycle Tours. Can’t wait!

Wenallt Woods

 

We shall not cease from exploration,

And the end of all our exploring

Will be to arrive where we started

And know the place for the first time.

T. S. Eliot

In search of a little respite from the constant traffic crescendos outside my house on Allensbank Road, and a little less serious cycling, I headed out past Rhiwbina to Wenallt Woods. I parked the bike at the bottom of Wenallt Road, locking up to a road sign or someother forgotten construction and took the nearest path into the woods.

Within minutes, an emulated sky of bluebells had appeared under the canopy of beech trees, which date back to at least 1600AD. The Cardiff Council managed pocket of ancient woodland consists of Oak, Hazel and Beech. There is a red circular walk that can be followed from the car park, but I chose to meander around its abundant pathways watching squirrels breaching out of the sea-blue floor.

“..such things are wild. Seeing them, you are made briefly aware of a world at work around and beside our own, a world operating in patterns and purposes that you do not share. These creatures, you realise, that live by voices inaudible to you.” – Robert Macfarlane.

The evidence of play; dens and rope swings, took me back to my childhood of wading through my local brook, extricating ancient remains and plunging from tree top to river. For me, it’s important to find wildness outside of our man-made environment. Wenallt Woods is perfect for this and a stone’s throw out of Cardiff, can be easily accessed without a car.

Recommended reads:

The Wild Places, Robert Macfarlane;

Wildwood: A Journey Through Trees, Roger Deakin.

Your Local Bike Store: Reg Braddick Cycles

I’ve previously had some unsatisfactory experiences of customer service from some of the larger cycle chain stores where rushed sales staff offer inadequate advice and after sales service. I felt it wasn’t personal. Buying your trusty steed should be an enjoyable episode and the first step to a happy relationship with your two wheels. This week, I caught up with Suzy at Reg Braddick Cycles with the intent of familiarizing myself with my local bicycle stores.

With 65 years in the business, Reg Braddick Cycles have a wealth of knowledge to offer about bicycles and cycling in and around Cardiff. The running of the business was passed from father to son and granddaughter; originally started by Reg, a competitive cyclist and butcher’s delivery boy who participated in an olympic time trial and the Empire Games in Sydney.

Reg Braddick cover all disciplines of cycling and have noticed that riders today are enjoying a varied range of riding, often a road and mountain biking combination. It seems like ‘one for every occasion’ is the new way to stock your shed. There has been a recent increase in cycle use as transport and the shop stocks a range of town and electric bikes; a great way into cycle commuting, giving the confidence to build fitness with an extra kick up the hills where necessary or to speed you along to that post-work cuppa.

Suzy’s advice to someone beginning cycling is “Make it easy for yourself. Get a good quality bike that is efficient and a pleasure to ride”. Like your friends, choose your bike wisely and it will serve you well. If you are considering making a new purchase, your local bike store is a great place to seek some advice. Think about what you want to get from a bike and the staff will understand your needs, offering the best advice for you.

The workshop offers servicing, repairs, rebuilds, wheel truing and wheel builds. There is no need to book, simply take your bike in. An after service is provided within four weeks of all bike sales for readjustments. Reg Braddick also have an online notice board where riders are offered free advertisement of their bikes for sale. The cycle community is at the heart of Reg Braddick and Suzy is keen to get riders to ‘buddy up’ and share their experiences, whether it is trying a new route or helping a novice rider begin cycling on roads. You can find this information on their website: Reg Braddick Cycles. Be a part of the hub and find Reg Braddick on Facebook.

Reg Braddick Cycles 63 – 65 Broadway Roath Cardiff CF24 1XJ Tel: 029 2049 0137