It’s fair to say that roundabouts are not a cyclist’s friend. Even by car they require timing and a reasonable amount of good luck to navigate.
However, by bike they offer the added challenge of getting off the mark and up to speed in time to exploit a gap. Sure, it can be done, but there’s a reasonable amount of risk involved.
Today we spotted on Twitter the news that a cyclist was hurt on the roundabout at the bottom of Fidlas Road in Llanishen and, whilst the cyclist is said to have only sustained “slight injuries”, it’s still one accident too many.
The Fidlas Road roundabout facilitates travel both north to south and east to west. The route from Cardiff to Thornhill and the route from Pentwyn to Birthgrove & Whitchurch. This makes it quite an important roundabout, but an absolute pain to negotiate in any form of transport.
It’s a very “small” roundabout and it isn’t always clear whether cars are heading straight across or taking a right before you are committed to moving off –so accidents happen.
Fortunately, it can be worked around.
North to South
If you are travelling up from Cathays or Roath it should be fairly easy to avoid the roundabout by following Allensbank Road to Heath Halt, taking a left onto Crystal Avenue, Crystal Glen and onto Fishguard Road. This will take you right to Ty Glas Road, which has traffic calming measures and a load of amenities & retail options.
You can then take Kimberley Terrace to Heol Hir and up to Thornhill.
East to West
The east-west route is a little more challenging, as the Bargoed train line runs across it and there’s only a couple of places you can traverse it –at the Three Arches and at the top of Fidlas Road.
If you take the Fidlas Road option you may well find yourself at the big roundabout on Caerphilly Road/Beulah Road. This is best avoided, so we need to find away to get across the Fidlas roundabout and through the Arches.
If you are coming from Pentwyn and would normally take Rhyd-y-Penau road, take a left instead and head through Cyncoed to Celyn Avenue. At the bottom of this road is another roundabout, but it’s bigger, visibility is better and may be easier to predict traffic behaviour.
Cross the roundabout and take Lake Road North, Heath Halt Road and then take a left under the arch.
Your mileage may vary
Of course, you may be happy to take your chances on Fidlas Road –and good luck to you. Your route will be more direct but it’s not a route we would recommend to someone, with a clear conscience.
However, we are grateful for alternative suggestions for this area, as it is a very busy neck of the woods, but not a great place to be a on a bike.