Monthly Archives: April 2013

Day 5: Kington to Delamere Station – Rare birds and obscure Saints

Welsh roadsigns...don't get me started!

Welsh roadsigns…don’t get me started!

Today we did 91 miles with 5,000 feet of ascent. We left the hills of the Welsh border and arrived in Cheshire. Once again we had the Northerly headwind and bright, chilly, dry weather.

We left Kington Youth Hostel at 07:45 after extra porridge and crumpets to prepare us for the hills ahead. Continue reading

Day 4: Bristol to Kington – A bridge, an abbey and a very steep hill

The Severn Bridge

The Severn Bridge

Today we did 70 miles with 6,000 feet of ascent. It was a day of bright sunshine, blue skies with a brisk chilly wind on the nose from the North. It was a day of constantly changing scenery with dramatic views.

We left Bristol at 0800 and made our way up the A38 and out of the city. We were going against the flow of the traffic and moving quicker than the motorised vehicles. We made good progress and were soon passing under the M5 and out into the more rural area before reaching the original Severn Bridge.
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Day 3: Tiverton Parkway to Bristol – Good company, punctures and cheesecake.

Another day - another county.

Another day – another county.

There was much less wind today and it was bit warmer.   It was quite overcast but no rain.  70 miles and about 3,400′ of ascent.  It felt like a rest day after the headwinds and hills of the first two days.

Our overnight accommodation at Tiverton Parkway Travel Lodge worked very well and we were both well rested and ready to leave at 0700.  We had arranged to meet my daughter Kathryn and her boyfriend, also called Steve, off the train from Bristol, at Taunton at 0820.
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Day 2: Tintagel to Tiverton Parkway – Blue skies, sunshine and views.

Steve...a man who likes to eat...a lot!

Steve…a man who likes to eat…a lot!

We knew today was going to be one of the toughest because of the distance and the hills.
77 miles with 6,500 feet of climbing with a strong headwind…hmmmm!

We left the magnificently situated Tintagel Youth Hostel at 07:45 and pushed the bikes up the rough track to the church on the cliff top.  After a pleasant ride through the village we began the 3 mile ascent towards Davidstow.  The view behind us as we left the coastal landscape was beautiful. As we gained height the vegetation changed to moorland as we were now on the north side of Bodmin moor. Continue reading

Day 1: Lands End to Tintagel – Head winds and steep hills

At a blustery Lands End, ready to go

At a blustery Lands End, ready to go

Our LeJog plan gradually came together over several months, but the day of departure came upon us with a bit of a rush, as suddenly it was the 26th April. At 05:30 we picked up Steve and all his kit and set off for Lands End. With little traffic on the road we made good time and arrived at 08:15. It was blowing hard and very cold but this had not deterred Phil, Maggie and Richard turning out to see us off. We got the bikes loaded up with the panniers, pumped up the tyres and posed for photographs at the famous finger post. The Dorset flag was produced for the first time and it acted as a sail in the strong wind, almost lifting us up.
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Mud, Sweat n Gears Club Ride

The MSG group ready for the off

Muster stop at Gore Cross

Bridport has a branch of Mud, Sweat n Gears – a bike shop. They have started a Club which has an evening ride on Tuesdays. Steve and I have joined the Club and yesterday we left our bikes with Tim so he could do a free Safety Check and gear adjustment. This is a free service to Club members. My Galaxy which had been serviced by Toby from Pedals and Paddles was not surprisingly given a clean bill of health. Steve’s front derailleur was falling apart and was replaced. Good to get that sorted before we start LeJog on Friday. Thanks Tim.

14 riders set out from Bridport this evening. It had been a lovely day. Warm, blue skies, light winds and sun. Although it was chillier in the evening it was still great riding weather. Most people were on road bikes so it was quite a challenge to keep up on my heavy Galaxy. Continue reading

Steep hills, flat hills and half hills

LeJog pedalling buddy Steve

LeJog pedalling buddy Steve

Steve my LeJog buddy has been away. I was away and we’ve both been ill. So we haven’t ridden together for a month.

Today we met at 9am for a foray into East Devon on our touring bikes loaded up with the kit needed for LeJog. The weather was overcast, 10mph of westerly wind and a temp of 9 degrees. We set off from Bridport and ascended a half hill at Symondsbury – 150 feet about 13%. Onwards along the Marshwood Vale and up Mutton Street to Marshwood. Mutton Street is a steep hill with a maximum grade of 17% and about a mile long. Following this was another steep hill in the middle of nowhere, around Thorncombe of 300 feet with a maximum grade of 14%.
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Old Bat In A Boat

Photo of author in a sea kayak.

The Bat in her boat. (Photo courtesy of Mark Rainsley)

An Isle of Portland Canoe Club trip that I was committed to organising was scheduled for today. As it happened, unusually, the forecast was promising. The Met Office was giving a red line indicating strong winds for Selsey Bill to Lyme Regis but we decided that Force 5 -6 was probably hamming it up a bit and we were good to go.

9 paddlers met at Swanage ready to launch at 10:00 when we expected to have tidal assistance all the way to Kimmeridge. The sky was blue and the sun was shining making for a sparkly start to the journey. This is a committing trip with no opportunities to land until Chapmans Pool 12km away.
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2 hours – 2 hills – 27 miles

Eggardon Hill

Eggardon Hill in the sunshine.

A busy weekend so I just managed to squeeze a couple of hours on the bike today. It was irresistible as the weather was great. Blue skies and sunshine. There was still a chilly south easterly breeze but the sunshine was enough to tempt my legs out and I wore shorts for the first time in 7 months. I even left the overshoes off. It’s much nicer riding unencumbered by layers of clothes.

The bike is loaded up ready for LeJog so I can get used to cycling with the extra weight. I was only out for 2 hours and rode 27 miles with 2,200’ of ascent. I rode a bit harder as it was so short and this showed in the average watts I generated. This figure is usually between 100 and 115 but today it was 121. How does ridewithgps know I was working hard? I didn’t have my HR monitor on.

Away from the main roads West Dorset is quiet out of the peak summer season. The sunshine had brought the cyclists out – all blokes though.

The Ride with GPS track is here.

Countdown…7 days!

Picture of author's green Dawes Galaxy touring bike leant against the sign for Forde Abbey.

Galaxy in full touring trim at Forde Abbey

Today the weather was bright and sunny but with 25mph of westerly wind. I decided against my original idea for a long ride. Although it is tempting to ride as many miles as possible with one week to go before I start riding from Lands End, I suppose it’s more important to be rested and uninjured. Realistically I am unlikely to gain much more fitness now.

The weather forecast looked as if the wind would drop a bit in the afternoon so I waited until 15:30 before going out but it was still very windy. I did a few other LeJog related jobs. I am still tweaking the route and every time I go through a section I get a bit more familiar with it. I adjusted the straps on my helmet so it is a snug fit now that (hopefully) I will not be needing a beanie. I brought out my new Ortileb back roller panniers and packed them up with the things on my packing list and put them on the bike. I am keeping things as light as possible and the panniers weigh 6kg. A grab bag of Walkers Cheese and Onion crisps only weighs 50g so I can take plenty of them! I also use a front box for stuff I might need easy access to.
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