Fixed gear ride to Penarth headland

Friday evening the sun was flooding through my window and had the effect of feeling like it just grabbed me by the shoulders and yelled in my face, “GO FOR A RIDE, NOW!”. I had time to kill and no good reason not to go for a ride. Putting it like that makes it sound as if I don’t want to ride but I find myself working on bikes so much I have to remind myself to make time for recreational rides and a spur of the moment ride is always good!

F.C.ParkesI knew immediately it was the perfect occasion to get my old fixed gear out. I love this bike. Well, as much as is normal to love an inanimate object. It’s a combination of things that makes me love it, which combined result in a bike that I would never sell. Other bikes come and go, some cost many times more, others I ride far more often. But this is the bike I’d choose over all of them. I’ll leave the explanation for another time.

Parkes on the rocks

With a quick check over, pedal swap and pump of the tyres, I was ready to go. I wanted some views, a bit of a climb but nothing too far as I’d not ridden fixed for a while and didn’t know how my knees would feel about it. I decided on heading to the bay then over the barrage and toward Penarth.


Once I was across the barrage I began climbing Paget road toward the headland and didn’t want to believe it when in no time my legs felt like I was pedalling through treacle. Too many months off and the high gear ratio wasn’t being kind! I may have stopped a couple of times “to take photos”, I kidded myself. At the top decided to take a look down a dead end lane in a moment of intuition and found it led right to a viewpoint looking back across the bay one way and down on Penarth seafront the other. The fact the lane was called “Penarth head lane” may have been a clue.

Penarth Seafront

Having struggled a little up to the viewpoint I decided against heading down to the seafront as I’d have to climb back out of Penarth again. So I headed back the way I came, fighting hard against gravity on the steep hills I was reminded how when riding fixed gear, down can be as hard as up. My knees had just about enough.

Parkes light

Back on the barrage the sun was low and looked great on the water, shadows where stretching out the lower it got. I took a few snaps and considered how nice it was out there and that apart from a handful of people taking a walk and a few skateboarders at the skatepark, I felt that more people should spend time there. With That I headed back through town, got a quick shot of the stadium looking nice, although maybe it was more about the reflection on the river, then home.