Well, They certainly know how to do hills in Cornwall. You’re either going up one or down one for the whole 66 miles. Just when you think you’ve reached the top, there’s more hill round the next bend We didn’t go short of weather either – it rained for most of the day.
Did half of the day round quiet country lanes, but it meant stopping every 5 mins to check the map so we opted for the main roads after that. A bungee strap caught in the gears robbed me of all my granny gears and top gear, but we got up all the hills without pushing.
Nice lunch in a pub. All was well ish, St. Austell beckoned.
Then Jon fell off his bike.
I wondered where he had got to, a nice lady stopped me and told me he had gone a pisser back up the hill. Frantic race back up the hill to find a damaged but alive Jon about to remount. He’d gone down one of those drainage gulleys. Knocked himself about a bit but he still pedalled on after straightening up his bike. Lucky escape really, considering he went over the handlebars on a busy road.
Last 10 miles on to St. Austell at a more sedate pace but we’d done our first day and got the first 66 miles under our belt. Tired but still ready for that curry. Very nice it was too. Time for bed, repairs to do in the morning. Zzzzzzzzz
Day 2 St.Austell – Exeter
Long day today, 83 miles, higher hills too, climbing to 1000 feet. Perfect weather up to Dartmoor then torrential rain for hours. Not perfect but beautiful scenery and fine views over the moors. Feel sorry for those ponies up there in all weathers though.
Running late so we used the A30 as it was the most direct. Not much fun in the pitch black with cars tearing past at high speed. I heard glass crunch beneath my wheel and lo! I had my first puncture. Sorted that and ‘enjoyed’ a glorious 15 mile downhill freewheel into Exeter. Finally found the B&B. Too late to eat – have to have a good breakfast tomorrow! Who said “bring it on”?
Time for bed, no repairs today.
Somerset levels look inviting!
Day 3 Exeter – Weston Super Mare
Very sad day today. Poor old Jon’s knee has become so painful he’s had to stop riding. He struggled up every hill yesterday in absolute agony, but if he carries on he’s going to cause himself permanent damage. We tried all the potions ASDA could provide but the only thing for it is rest – so Jon will be following me in the car and providing me with welcome backup, also carrying my gear – thus improving my chances of completing this challenge in one piece.
After Exeter the route became much less hilly, following the Bridgewater and Taunton canal towpath for about 15 miles. A very picturesque journey which starts in the centre of Taunton. Knowing how accident prone I am I made sure I dismounted whenever the towpath became narrow and stayed dry as a consequence. Still got a bit lost though.
I met a group of cyclists from York who we’re also doing the End to End – but with a support vehicle. They dragged me along at 17 mph for a while before we went our separate ways and I slowed down to a more sustainable 12 mph.
Got to Weston at a sensible time and enjoyed the splendid hospitality of Jon’s niece and her family, who made sure I was well looked after and even gave me a lift back to Weston in the morning to start the ride. Many thanks to Nicola and Dorian for a very pleasant night.
Approx 75 miles today (iPhone battery went flat due to excessive use of Google maps) maybe I’ll work out the actual mileage one day. The Somerset levels were level though – nice change. 🙂
You don’t see many of these around do you. Apparently it clears the reeds and keeps the canal navigable.
Day 4 Weston Super Mare – Hereford
Out of Weston and skirting the dock area of Bristol. Still short periods of heavy rain but a following wind too so not complaining. Well, except on the Severn Bridge that is. Incredible wind blowing up the estuary. All I could manage was 3 mph pedalling against the 25 mph crosswind. If I’d had a beard it would have blown it off!
Giant bacon roll be Chepstow Racecourse then up to Monmouth along the Wye which must be one of the most delightful rivers in England/ Wales. I think maybe I’ll get my kayak out next year and spend a few days paddling down it.
Not as up and down as Cornwall but Wales still has hills in abundance. Saw Sooty getting a lift with a LEJOGger.
Just about worn out when I finally found my farmhouse B&B but soon perked up when I got my hands on a pie and a pint in Hereford, courtesy of Dawn who had travelled from Stratford to take me out.
Day 5 Hereford – Shrewsbury
Grey and blustery outside. Hope the wind’s going my way. Need to pop into the local bike shop for some spares. I’ve actually worn out my front brakes with all these hills!
Bought spares then got 1 mile and my trusty bike computer packed up – it was only 15 years old as well. Fitted a new one and set off a little late, and a lot heavier (new chain, brakes, chain breaker etc. ) – thank goodness Jon will be carrying most of this after tomorrow.
The scenic route turned straight into a headwind so I opted to ignore that and go straight up the A49 which, although busier, would cut out all that map reading for a day.
It’s still a nice way to travel even using A roads. I took my lunch on the bank of the River Teme (and fancied paddling down that too) and chatted to an old boy who reckoned he had done 100,000 miles on a bike in the 40s and 50s. I should have asked him how his knees we’re.
Shrewsbury has excellent cycle paths so a stress free end to the day, met up with Jon & Lin – pannier in the car and Hey Presto! my bikes as light as a feather, should fly along now.
Many thanks to Anne who put us all up for the night as well as feeding both us and the visitors who came along to say hello.