A group of friends and I organise a fancy dress city bike ride twice a year. This summer, Cardiff was the city of choice. The sun was hot, the parks were lush and green, and the theme was Mexican.
Setting off from Roath, it seemed obvious to cycle around Roath Park lake and into the Roath Pleasure Gardens where the air was filled with the scent of summer roses. Being such a beautifully sunny day, the park was teeming with people. The boombox was blaring out Mexican tunes as we dodged children and ducks, and it was great that so many people greeting us with a friendly ‘Hola! Buenos días!’ The friendliest side of Cardiff was out in the sun.
We stopped off at a pub for a refreshing pint, the old reliable Pen & Wig, which of course sports a fantastic beer garden. We then cycled into the City Centre and posed in front of the National Museum of Wales for our obligatory cycle tour group photo.
We continued on to the stunning Bute Park, and up to Blackweir Bridge where we pulled up and jumped off a tree into the River Taff for a cold and invigorating swim. We paddled right on the weir and shared a bottle of champagne.
We cycled back through Blackweir Woods, and to Mochyn Du pub next to Sophia Gardens for some chips. It was here that an unforeseen and terrible coincidence made itself apparent. We had scheduled our Mexican bike tour for the very same day as the Cardiff naked bike ride! A group at least fifty strong of men and women completely starkers cycled past us, and made us feel horribly upstaged and inadequate.
From here, we went on to the very trendy NosDa Hostel, overlooking the River Taff and the Millennium Stadium.
After this, we followed the river along the embankment, all the way down to Cardiff Bay, and into what was once Tiger Bay. Here it felt strangely appropriate to visit The Lookout Café Bar at World of Boats, for carrot cake and Estrella, spectacular views of the Bay, the Barrage, and the cliffs of Penarth. We cycled home in the glorious evening sun.