Well we were lucky again this Saturday with another clear sunny day (If anything it was a little too warm at times!). There was a good turn out at B&Q with 4 rides to choose from. For the ’14’, John Ambrose had come up with a great route that we hadn’t ridden before and 17 of us departed from B&Q to follow his route to Exeter for lunch!
We took the usual route to Ashburton (via Ivybridge and South Brent) by which time our numbers had swollen to 20! From here we followed the A38 cycle path, crossing over the A38 and loosely following the A38 via Chudleigh Knighton and then Chudleigh. Here we met with our first long climb of the day – up over the top of Haldon Hill. The temperature had risen by now and the lanes were storing the heat up. Once at the top there was a welcomed regroup and the inevitable downhill which took us though Clapham (no not that Clapham!) and on towards Countess Weir where we jumped onto the cycle path and followed the River Exe and canal up to our destination – lunch on the Exeter quayside.
The cafe that John had chosen for us was a brilliant choice. The Exeter Cycles Cafe is, unsurprisingly, a cycling themed cafe with a good selection of foods and drink, an adjoining bike shop and a large, sunny seating area. In other words, a YOGi heaven! It almost made us forget that we still had another 44 miles to ride up over the moors and back to Plymouth.
It was an easy route back to Plymouth from Exeter. We just needed to get onto the B3212 and then stay on it all of the way to Yelverton. “Easy” as far as navigation is concerned but not easy-going due to the many hills – one of which is marked on the map as “Six Mile Hill”!!
Shortly after leaving the cafe we were split into two groups by the many sets of traffic lights. Every one of them slowed the second group (my group) down! There was some suspicion that we’d left Kim behind but, with the group now split, it was possible that he was up ahead. A while later it was confirmed that we had indeed left him behind in Exeter. We waited and a short while later he appeared and explained that he’d been the casualty of an exploding water bottle! He’d filled it with Cola and the lid had “blown off” together with the contents.
The day had warmed up even more and, by the time we reached Moretonhampstead, we needed to stop in the Co-op to take on more fluids. I personally was feeling the heat and risked severe “brain freeze” by downing a bottle of chilled Ribena. After a short rest we continued over the series of ups and downs that took us onto and over the moor to Princetown. A second cafe stop had been suggested but no one seemed to want to stop. I think it was the fear of not wanting to get back on our bikes if we did.
So all that was left was a tailwind assisted descent back to Plymouth. When I got home I actually felt better at 88.5 miles than I did at Moretonhampstead! It was almost tempting to find another 12 miles. Almost but not quite! My Garmin showed a B&Q to B&Q distance of 84.5 miles and approximately 8850 feet of climbing.
Thanks to John for a great route and for leading and to all who attended for your company and some good group riding. I’ll be very happy for a summer of rides like today’s. See you all next week!
Here are some photos of the day: