Day 5 – 5 July

Around the dams

Huge Victorian dams and reservoirs are spread around this central part of Wales, and there is a profusion of tiny roads linking and encircling them.  The water provides, we are told, the water for the city of Birmingham: it flows all the way there by gradual descent under gravity, taking 8 days (95% confidence interval 3-13) to get there in a six-foot metal pipe.


Outflow from one of the 6 dams  –               and a close-up of the foaming surface

Riding here has involved many of those spectacular narrow roads.  Our route-finder, who is also a part-time sadist, has chosen the highest and smallest tracks. His view of ‘Height’ in LAHOW is to get up there as often as possible.  We had one road with 11 steep-uphill arrows on the OS map, within 2km.  The descent was 12 miles of hectic switchback.


Note LAHOB members racing ahead, max speed recorded 43.6 mph.    The sheep:’You guys are deranged.’
A word or two is now needed about the e-bikeOn the e-bike, you get no power-support unless you pedal – and then only if you ask for it (for the p-s that is). LIZ has done the whole journey, except for those 2km, either free-wheeling downhill, or pedalling without power, or pedalling with power-help (which comes in 4 strengths).  Her maximum recorded speed on the downhill glides is 39.9 MPH (64 kph).  This is even faster than she used to walk up the long corridors of the Queen Elizabeth Hospital, Blantyre, Malawi, but doubtless the effort devoted to the latter made her ready for this.  At every lunch or coffee spot we visit (very few of course), we charge the battery, and it has never run out of power.  Malcolm took the e-bike up the 11-arrow hill, sacrificing generously his opportunity to prove he could ride up on the ordinary bike. ‘It’s no doddle, is it?’ said Liz.  In fact it was very hard work, and at the steepest point he had to get off and push.

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