On Saturday 21 June, a toddler in a child-seat and twenty cyclists from the Welsh Youth Forum on Sustainable Development, Gwerin Y Coed (Woodcraft Folk) and Grwp Beic Aberystwyth completed the 157 miles from Machynlleth to Cardiff to publicise the need for cycle-lanes and provision for bikes on public transport.
At the Senedd, where they delivered a petition, cyclists were welcomed by Leanne Wood AM and Gordon James of FoE Cymru. Although cyclists endured some hostile motorists, they thoroughly enjoyed the ride. “Everyday was an achievement”, said Ailish, “moving slower is so much nicer!” In Merthyr, cyclists met Residents Against Ffos-y-Frân and visited the open-cast coalmine. “It spoilt the day to see Ffos-y-Frân and its horrible effects”’ said one young cyclist. Others felt sickened, angry, and finally galvanised to do something.
Their chance came soon enough when they met with Environment Minister Jane Davidson. Not deflected by talk of the remote prospect of carbon capture or the hollow claim that Ffos-y-Frân is a land reclamation scheme, cyclists found the Minister sympathetic but seemingly unable to fix a problem she inherited. Back on his bike after the meeting, Fred judged Ffos-y-Frân “a crunchy square of capitalism coated with a smooth blend of exploitation and greed.”