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FROM PONTYPOOL TO ABERDOYEY…

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FROM PONTYPOOL TO ABERDOYEY ON A BICYCLE. It was a fine August morning, and about half- past eleven, as I rode slowly out of Pontypool, mounted on my 48-inch machine, which, during the previous week, had carried me from London to Bristol. Continuing along the Usk road, I took the turn- ing on the left, which occurs before coming to the Railway Arch, and is generally known as Colonel Byrde's road. I found the ascent steep and rough, and therefore dismounted; indeed, I was very glad when I again reached the main road at Llanover, from whence to Abergavenny I enjoyed a capital spin, arriving shortly before one o'clock. While at lunch I heard that it was the Warden's fete-day at Raglan Castle, so rode over, and spent three hours very agreeably that afternoon among the classic ruins which year by year afford so much interest to hundreds of tourists. I found the first few miles fairly good, but from Clytha to Raglan the roads were decidedly rough, so that a stretch on the grass under the shade of some of the numerous trees in the Castle grounds was a very pleasant change. Afterwards a stroll round the ruins, a refreshing cup of tea, and I was in the saddle once more, shortly after six, with a clear summer evening, and a long ride before me. I had the wind against me on my return journey to Abergavenny, so found the riding hard the greater part of the way. Reaching the town about seven, I stopped a short time for a glass of milk and soda water (my favorite drink, when on the track), and then pushed on to Crickhowell, some six miles, the whole of the way being level and smooth, so that I did the distance in a little over half an hour, without dismounting for the short hill at the entrance to the town. I found com- fortable quarters at the Beaufort Arms for the night. Previous to supper I was shown round the place by an old inhabitant, who pointed out the principal objects of interest, and, with evident pride, conducted me through the pretty church- yard, so neatly kept, and abounding in rich floral decorations. Descending on to the bridge over the Usk, in order to observe the view and watch the fish rise, we chatted for a while, till the shades of evening deepened into night, when 1 returned to the hotel. Next morning I rode away at 10.30, for Brecon, fourteen miles, and found the roads excellent, as usual in this county, with only two slight ascents till reaching the well-known Bwlch Hill, up which I was, of course, compelled to walk. While doing so, and occasionally looking back to admire the country I had traversed, I met a fellow bicyclist slowing riding down, mounted on a 44-inch machine, and certainly somewhat heavily encumbered with luggage. Ap- parently he found it warm, for he had Jiis coat off, and a handkerchief thrown over the back of his neck to keep off the sun. On reaching the top of the hill, a crowd of Bma.11 boys soon col- lected, anxious to see me mount and ride down the steep descent, which I found required to be carefully ridden over at the commencement; but soon the incline becomes more gradual, and with the wind behind me I had a splendid ride into Brecon. After lunching at the Castle, and a. walk round the town, I was off again at three o'clock, and had an excellent spin on the Hay Road as far as the 7th milestone, when I turned to the left near a smith's forge, and had a rough cross-country road for a few miles, till I again met the turnpike-road to Builth, on the banks of the Wye, which introduced me to some of the most romantic mountain scenery of Wales. Riding swiftly, but silently, I was in constant fear of running over some of the rabbits which were rushing from one side of the road to the other, and only just managed to escape my front wheel. With a slight stoppage at Llyswen, I completed the nine- teen miles to Builth before six, and, after tea at the Lion Inn, proceeded for Llandrindod Wells, six miles; but, unfortunately, I took the wrong turning after crossing the bridge, and made a long round through Newbridge and Howey, of at I least ten miles, over very indifferent parish roads, so that it was quite dark when I reached the Rock The Evening was pleasantly spent in the company of some old acquaintances who hap- ) pened to be staying there, and with whom I drank the famoutj waters early the following morning. I After a substantul bJIILkfast, I wad ready to mount at the uyuak^timo {li^f-past ten), but for the first two milos kad to my horse, the pa&ottJ, wlierri mounted, anS luwi a the turnpiko road, through Dcldowlod, where I the turnpiko road, through Dcldowlod, where I again enjoyed a continuance of the mountain I scenery I experienced on the preceding day, which makes the course of the Wye so interesting to tourists. Rhayader, 12 miles, was reached about noon, and a stoppage made fur a refresher, the morning being somewhat sultry. Soon, however, I was bowling along the Aberystwith road, which winds through grand mountain scenery for some ten miles, till the remote hamlet of Liang-urig is reached, where I turned to the right, and com- menced the descent of five miles into Llanidloes. Here I had my usual cold luncheon, and afterwards 6trolledroundthis secluded little town, which, being market day, was rather full of country people, so that I had made up my mind to lead my machine on starting, but the people at the hotel were de- sirous of seeing me ride, and sent a man to clear I the way; and thus I rode away, the dandy horse receiving quite an ovation from the numerous market folks. I was informed that the direct road to Machynlleth was far too hilly, so took the longer route of thirty milea through Caersws; and, with the exception of some few miles after passing Carno, I had most excellent travelling, the last ten miles being a continual descent; the only dif- ficulty was to prevent my machine going too fast. It was a magnificent evening, and I experienced most thoroughly th £ charms of bicycling under specially favourable circumstances. Arriving at Machynlleth as the town clock chimed the quarter before nine, I was persuaded to stop the night, the road to Aberdovey being dangerous afLer dark for a stranger. Next morning I was in the saddle at seven, in order to complete the ten miles before breakfast, and felt thankful for the advice of the previous evening, the road being rough in places, with numerous sharp turnings on a steep inclme. By daylight, however, the riding was easy enough; j and the view of the estuary, with the tide coming in, and the morning mists slowly rolling up the wooded mountain sides, very charming. I found 1 my luggage, which I had sent on, awaiting me at It my friend's house, for I "had carried nothing with me except a few collars and a comb. 1 Thus terminated a most pleasant ridft through some of the finest scenery of Wales, without any j accident either to myself or my faithful steed. August 11, 1877. J. H.

THE NATIONAL DEBT.

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