The Ride Diary

Home > Ride Statistics > Diary Day 12

Monday the 24th of July

What a great site to wake up to

On our way to the adjacent Supermarket customer canteen for breakfast, we were greeted by a hot air balloon, which had a great bonus of an advertisement for underwear featuring a rather large picture of a half naked young lady across it's side. It was a sort of free, mobile pornography. And it was good.

The helpful receptionist at our hotel informed us of a cycle track that would take us out to Taunton Town Centre on an NCN, traffic free route. A welcome find after yesterdays nightmare trip of the A38 through Bristol. The weather didn't let us down and the sun was out. All was right with the world.

We popped up in the middle of Taunton, cycled passed the Castle Hotel and out towards Perry's Cider Farm. I've bought many a croc of Cider from there but sadly hadn't got the luggage space for any at the time. We found a lay-by with a refreshment van parked up in it and thought we'd take the opportunity for a break with a proper cup of tea on hand. It was a tad early but what the heck.

As we sat there with our cup of tea, the 3 end to enders who we passed between Luss and Glasgow took a turn at passing us. We waved but as we were sort of hidden, they never spotted us. Not to worry, not long after restarting our journey we bumped into them as they took a break of their own. It was good to see they were enjoying their trip. We swapped our stories and wished them well, they needed all the luck they could get as they had about 115 miles still to cover for that day. I didn't envy them at all as we all knew the terrain was going to get quite hilly as we moved further south.

At Cullompton we got off the beaten track a bit and followed NCN routes through narrow country lanes and stunning scenery. The route seemed to meander a little so we checked the map and followed its straightest route. And that appeared to be quite a mistake. We set back our progress somewhat by following some vicious climbs towards Butterliegh. After getting on level terrain we decided that it would be better to head for the more major roads which had flatter routes to make up some time.

Cycling in Devon

While enjoying the views Dad made Matt a victim of the biggest stack of the trip as he tried to cycle through him. The accident happened behind me so I didn't see it. I did hear it mind. A screech of brakes, a clatter of metal on metal, a thud of flesh on flesh. And then an apology from Matt as he was helped up from the floor by Dad and Dan. It seemed a rather generous apology after being run over. The good news is nobody was hurt and the bikes were undamaged.

Undeterred we carried on heading for a major road until Matt spotted a very inviting shortcut. We all agreed we'd been stupid not to spot it before. And after our progress was halted further by scary climbs in uncomfortable heat we all agreed that the real stupidity was not to stick to our plan of heading for the flatter major roads. The scenery was good but our average speed had dipped to around just 5 mph through this "shortcut".

We stopped in the village of Crediton at the first pub we came to, which happened to be called The Crediton Inn. It was a traditional old pub and didn't really do food beyond sandwiches. So that's what we had for lunch, supplemented with a couple of packets of high energy peanuts. We managed to find a bit of shade outside on a picnic table and sat there, keeping an eye on the bikes. It seemed minutes before Dad vocalised his thoughts in the now immortal phrase of "We need to get cracking"

The views that took our breath away

We set off and hit some severe hills through the village heading for the country lanes and make fairly steady progress, though very tiring. Now brace yourself good reader, the most unexpected thing happens. It's hard to believe given his good luck so far on this ride, but Dan runs into a problem. As we climb up a hill quite steadily I hear an almighty crack followed by an expletive from Dan. He informs us that his seat has "gone". Further examination shows that his seat post has split. Carbon Fibre isn't as strong as they make out. It looks to me as though Dan's day of cycling is done but Dad came up with the genius idea of dropping the seat post lower, well beyond the break. Dan gives it a quick test and seems happy to carry on. I warn him to be careful, especially on climbs as dropping the saddle will put an extra strain on his already dodgy knee.

We enjoyed our cycle through the countryside (or rather all but Dan did, the lower position of his saddle did indeed give his knee some considerable pain). We headed up some severe and some steady climbs until we hit Okehampton, where we were relieved find a nice hill we could coast down. Then through some genius anti-logic map reading, we managed to cycle 4 miles the wrong way. We turned around and cycled 4 miles back into Okehampton and back to the junction we should have turned right at, not left. We were just a few miles from our digs yet it seemed like they might be as far back as John O'Groats. We clock our 800th mile just past this junction.

800 miles!

We took a map check at the A30, which we didn't want to get on but was inevitable that we'd have to. There was a steep climb up a very busy dual carriageway and we really didn't relish it. Tempers were raised as we discussed whether we could find another route or if indeed we were actually on the right track at all. After a little discussion and re-examining of the surrounding features in relationship to our map and we set off up the A30 to our digs.

800 miles (still)!

Dan decided to grab a sandwich at the local petrol station and then get an early night while the rest of us went out for a beer and food at Betty Cottles Inn. A great pub that has camping facilities. If we'd known we'd have stayed here!

<< Previous DayNext Day >>