Ceredigion and Pembrokeshire are best known for their glorious coastlines – but the cliffs and bays do tend to exercise the weary cyclist’s legs. What if there were a way to explore this rural idyll without all the climbing?
That’s the idea behind Lon Teifi, which follows country lanes down the Teifi Valley to the sea. The river, once known for its salmon fishermen in their tiny coracles, flows through countryside rarely visited by tourists.
This is an enjoyable route, but a little deceptive in two ways. Firstly, although it largely follows the river valley, the lanes have a tendency to dart up and down the valley sides – so don’t expect a long, easy descent all the way to Cardigan. Secondly, it follows more A and B roads than is normal for the National Cycle Network. This is rural Wales, so they’re not exactly highly trafficed; but even so, at times you might find traffic roaring past you at speeds greater than you’d expect.
At 100 miles, this is two days for the fit cyclist, or three at a more comfortable pace. More than most routes, though, there’s a strong case for taking four or even five days over it and enjoying the towns en route. That way, the A and B roads will seem like less of a slog.
The route is almost entirely on roads and the occasional well-surfaced railway path, so hybrid bikes and road bikes are equally suitable. There is one muddy bridleway near Newport, but an easy diversion exists for those not of the mud-plugging persuasion.
The route starts on the coast at Aberystwyth, touches it again at Cardigan, and finishes at the port of Fishguard. In other words, it’s the same amount of climbing either way. Do what’s easiest for your there-and-back travel plans; we slightly prefer north–south as it gives a gentle descent down the valley.
Pretty much, unless you’re really nervous about traffic. If you’re a city commuter looking for your first long-distance tour, you won’t encounter any issues. If you’d prefer something largely traffic-free, perhaps look elsewhere.
Both Aberystwyth and Fishguard have railway stations, but it’s a very long way by train between the two – you’ll have to go back into England and out again! So don’t think about parking a car at the start and getting the train back; better to do the whole lot by train.