Sunday, 29 September 2013

GAB 2013 Day 2 (again): Sunday September 22nd - Dawlish to Plymouth (nearly)

Kate repaired, the Unpluckable Console glued-and-screwed, GAB 2013 tries again!

A night was spent at Sandays B&B in Dawlish Warren, a good breakfast was had and a laiden Kate was on the road again...

The roads of Dawlish, Torquay, Paignton and on to Brixham alternated between slow city-centre stop-go riding and sections of steep, twisty, up and down tree-lined country lanes with little opportunity on any of the 'downs' to risk picking up any speed to avoid grovelling up the next incline...

Eventually it was time to hang a right out of Torbay and climb... The road became quieter and the view opened up.
 View over the top of Brixham to Torbay ("The English Riviera"), Dawlish, 
and on to the coast from Day 1.

The increasingly pleasant ride on to find the Dartmouth ferry continued... Leafy lanes... Rolling country - more the thing for Kate, before steeper and steeper down to the tiny ferry to cross the River Dart (£1.70 when they finished scratching their heads about what I was on their tariff sheet and how much to charge me).
Approaching Dartmouth

My map was showing a B-road heading to the left of this shot but the signing on the narrow streets of Dartmouth and the narrow, tourist-filled lanes pushed me to the A-road bypass to the north of the town - and a long drag to gain the high ground...

Picking up another A-road consisting of up-down-twisty lanes through narrow villages with single width lanes there was little opportunity for speed before arriving at Slapton Sands - the first 'flat' section of the day and the first good 20mph section! No sooner was I cruising along than I arrived at a carpark with a number of colourful trailers and people standing around. Never one to pass a cafe I headed in to find that it wasn't a cafe but an open day for the nature reserve. Fortunately further along the car park there was indeed a van selling hot drinks and food (well he did hotdogs). Then the fog came in.

The ride from Torcross (The Slapton Sands one) to Kingsbridge and on to Brixton(!) was rolling but misty. The South Hams villages looked ok but none seemed worth a stop. Miles happened. The hotdog wore off and I was getting tired. I hadn't really decided whether to cross Plymouth this evening or leave it until morning, but with it beginning to look like a 4pm arrival in the city I decided to stick with my original plan and took the left turn down steep and narrow single track lanes towards Wembury. The 'neighbourhood watch' spotted me and friendlily offered directions towards "Ah, that be Basil's place" which, unfortunately it wasn't but it was in the right direction...

Having prepared the bike computer with the GPS coordinates of the Camping & Caravan Club sites along my route I headed onwards and down and down for the marked spot to find... nothing but somebody's garden... Bah. I hate it when a campsite isn't there.

I tried my mobile phone and was amazed to find a data signal. Checking the site directions it was only a 1/4 mile away... I rolled into The Pilgrim's Rest site. Checking in I mentioned to the owners that my GPS had been wrong and they told me that was where they used to live!

Tent pitched, shower taken (and 20p meter for hot water only found on the way out), retired down to the pub for a great value but possibly over presented* carvery at the strangely appropriate The Odd Wheel pub.

*Roast beef, yorkshire pud, new potatoes & veg - but presented on a big white plate as a tower with the potatoes supporting the beef and crowned with the yorkshire pud - looking like a castle keep... Hmmm, ok... It tasted great and was washed down with a pint of Cornish Nob. I couldn't resist the name.

Specs: 60 miles, 1707m/5600ft of climb, 8.9mph average speed.

GAB 2013 Day 2: April 22nd - Dawlish

Packed up, breakfast had, tea drunk, rolling before 8am.... Good stuff.

Kate's 'other' handlebar coming off over a bump on the descent into Dawlish - not so good.

 The Other "Unpluckable Console" is Plucked

The carbon bracket that makes up Kate's right handlebar pivot parted company from the inside of the wheel arch in exactly the same was as the left hand one did on her first long trip to the Nederlands. This is very clearly not a roadsite repair - or even a day-at-the-campsite-following-a-visit-to-B&Q repair. So a phone call to Carol for recovery and a very careful limp down into Dawlish to await rescue by an easy-to-find landmark, that being The Railway Station. Fortunately Carol was visiting her mum before heading home to Derby so was only 45minutes away by van rather than 4 hours.

Whilst I was waiting I toured the delights of Dawlish, which looked like they may be quite nice once they've finished building them. Most everywhere seemed to be tape, cones and builders. I pulled up to a coffee shop and wandered in, ordering a coffee. "Do you have anything to go with that?" I asked, expecting the usual offering of overpriced cakes but no, "No' came the answer. This seemed somewhat strange...

So having drunk the coffee I noticed the cafe next door had opened and that it did indeed offer food so I retired there to await my rescue.

Specs: 9.6 miles, 351ft of climb, 8.3mph average speed.

GAB 2013 Day 1: April 21st - Weymouth to Dawlish

After an afternoon of touristy stuff with Carol and a night at the rather nice Pink House B&B I headed south riding a fully laiden Kate. Winding through the streets of Weymouth was a little tedious but eventually I'd worked my rather lumpy way out to the causeway to the Isle Of Portland. Working out which of the viciously upwards roads to take lead to the top of the island and The Verne prison... From here on it was a rather glorious ride along smaller and smaller roads down the west side of Portland and out to the lighthouse at Portland Bill... Where there was No Tea to be had.
The Bill of Portland

The Eastern side of the island was was similarly pleasant before the vicious down, the causeway and picking up the lumpy road west... This was generally not much worse than 'rolling' heading out to Abbotsbury where the promised 'evil' hill didn't appear and I assumed one of the climbs I'd already done was it... Then I found it.
View back along Chesil Beach from high on Abbotsbury Hill.

Bridport and onwards... And the turn 'down' to the beach at Lyme Regis. Which was a 1-in-5 UPWARDS... Cheats! Ok, then there was a long downhill too, but not really fair!
Kate enjoys an ice cream with 'the famous cobb' in the background

I zipped past several of the resort towns and was planning to ride into Exmouth and pick up the cycle route along the river into Exeter in order to visit the recommend 'Route 2' cafe at Topsham but time was getting on and I was feeling the call of the evening campsite. So I kept to the A-road into Exeter, crossed the Exe and followed it downstream to Starcross (home of the Brunell Atmospheric Railway) and a night at the excellent Hunter's Lodge campsite

Specs: 82 miles, 6387ft of climb, 10.6mph average speed.