The city beneath the lake

Llangasty Retreat House – the base for our Brecon Beacons Beano – sits near the shores of Llangorse Lake, the largest natural lake in South Wales. As previous Beanoers will testify, it’s a mesmerising place and it’s possible to lose hours watching the play of sun and shade across the water and surrounding hills, the wildfowl […]

Mud, mud and more mud. Also: mud.

I’ve been out on my mountain bike recently. To those of you who know me well, that may come as a bit of a surprise. I have strong views about mountain biking and they largely involve not getting my mountain bike muddy. Dusty, yes, but muddy? Uh-uh. My MTB is a 1998-model Specialized Rockhopper, to […]

The fine art of saying hello

A few months ago I joined a small group of cyclists on a day’s training organised by the South Downs National Park Authority, at the end of which we officially became the first batch of ‘South Downs Cycling Ambassadors‘. Slightly to our disappointment, this turns out not to involve lavish embassy receptions or stacks of Ferrero […]

Cycling on the edge of the day

In which Andy plays tag with a barn owl I nearly didn’t go for a ride on Sunday. We’d been out for the day and by the time we got back, on a chilly March afternoon, there wasn’t much daylight left. After I’d gone out into the side alley, found the flat back tyre (d’oh!) […]

Four more ways to dodge the Puncture Fairy

Spring is nearly here in the UK, which means more hours of daylight and (we hope) better weather to get out for some nice bike rides in the countryside. The roads and tracks, however, are still covered in mud, grit, stones, thorns and twigs. So it’s a good time for another look at the cyclist’s […]

The curious case of the two Ellesmeres and the Pointless Aqueduct

Our Shropshire Beano is based in a gorgeous country house just outside the town of Ellesmere, in the heart of the Shropshire countryside 15 miles from Shrewsbury. However it’s not unknown for unwary travellers – or those armed with a temperamental satnav – to end up at Ellesmere Port, some 30 miles away at the base of […]

Vegetarian Week recipes from the Snowdonia Beano

Our Snowdonia Beano is based at the Trigonos Centre in North Wales, a place renowned for the quality of its vegetarian catering – partly because of the excellent chefs, and partly because much of the fruit and veg is grown on Trigonos’s own 3-acre farm just a few hundred yards from the kitchen. To celebrate […]

Five ways to avoid a visit from the Puncture Fairy

Punctures. Or if you’re American, “Flats”. Or if you’re superstitious, The Word That Must Never Be Spoken. (As in, “Hey, we’ve been out all day and we haven’t had a single punctur—- what’s that hissing noise?“) If there’s one thing guaranteed to give you a sinking feeling when you’re out riding your bike, it’s a […]

Bara Brith: the ultimate cyclist’s energy food?

Andy waxes lyrical about his favourite coffee-stop snack The Welsh call it bara brith, the Irish barm brack and the English, more prosaically, tea bread. The first time I tried it was on a solo cycle tour to south Wales as a teenager; Madelaine discovered it in the cafes of Pembrokeshire, on the first Bicycle Beano […]