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Cycling to Tenby 1976 (Vera Stancliffe) PDF Printable Version E-mail


Cycling to Tenby, 1976

Vera Stancliffe

October 2007

Vera, now living in Hoddleston in Lancashire, writes a nostalgic account of a family cycle ride to Tenby in south west Wales in 1976. Capturing the atmosphere of those days, 30 years ago, Vera reminds us that it was once possible for a family to ride safely and happily on the roads of England and Wales.

This was Vera's first serious long-distance ride, but it certainly wasn't her last.

Good to read about your cycling in Wales. We (my husband, Roy, and I) have very many happy memories of cycling through Wales in the 1970's. My first experience of cycling was in 1976 - our daughters were then 13 and 14 years old - and it was decided to acquire bikes for the girls and I. Roy already owned a bike and had done a lot of cycling, since being a teenager.

Our training run was from Hoddlesden to Clitheroe and back! Then, on 1st August 1976 we left Hoddlesden (in the pouring rain) with panniers on all four bikes, containing a 3-man tent, primus stove, four sleeping bags and various necessities for the trip to Tenby in Pembrokeshire. I remember our first night was spent on the outskirts of Chester - a very kind farmer allowed us to set up camp in the corner of one of his fields. We all slept very well, regardless of three very tender behinds.

We then continued into Wales and again a very good night's camp on the edge of Lake Bala. Our cycling continued through the wonderful Welsh scenery, camping near Aberystwyth for one night, then Newcastle Emlyn before arriving in Tenby on the 5th August, and thankfully the weather could not have been better. We set up camp on Meadow Farm, North Cliffe, Tenby for our 4 day stay on 'holiday'.

Our journey home was equally enjoyable and again wall-to-wall sunshine was the order of the day. So for a number of years following that we enjoyed the 'cycling' way of life. Once Heather and Jane (our daughters) got a little older they of course decided to 'do their own thing', so Roy and I purchased a tandem and continued with lovely trips. One was from Lancashire across country to Norfolk and Suffolk; then another from Lancashire through the wonderful Yorkshire Dales, just managing to reach Peebles in Scotland before making our way back through the glorious Lake District, spending our last night with Hylda, Joe and Michael on Knepps Farm!!!

As you can imagine, many happy memories have flooded back to me.

Vera Stancliffe