05 August 2013
Taunton to Saunton, a cracker of a ride.
Matt @ LCE recently took to the saddle with two like minded friends to try and cycle the nice part of the journey from London down to a weekend stay in North Devon. We met in Taunton, and wives and kids departed via petrol means after a hearty breakfast.
From there followed a fantastic journey under clear blue skies through the stunning Exmoor landscape.
The two-wheeled steeds of choice were a pimped-up Wilier Mortirolo, trusty Specialized Roubais, and stealth bomber Kuota.
The ride started on the A358 towards Staplegrove and through Pen Elm Hill. Our progress was slightly encumbered by a rear wheel puncture less than a mile in. John tries out the new compress air canister, as it transpires better for freezing warts off fingers than blowing up tyres, We revert to frantic manual pumping, and were on the road again.
Past Bishops Lydeard and getting hillier into Exmoor when we hit Withiel Hill - a punishing 1500ft climb which took its toll in the mid morning sunshine, but followed by combinations of long flats and fast descents into Exford. Disaster strikes again, a chain comes off, link broken. Due to some serious weight-saving strategy no one has a chain tool, and we're stranded in the middle of Exmoor. Thanks to a kindly gentleman in a Fiat Panda, the White Horse in Exford and some outward bounders who did have a chain tool, we were on the road again..
Beautiful views and some amazing hills through Simonsbath and then out of Exmoor towards Combe Martin and we are hit with the stunning views of north Devon coast line coupled with some seriously steep and windy roads. Important tip: Need to be in the drops to get tighter on the levers but don't wait for the decent until making the move down the bar, you drop like a stone. The hills continue to burn all the way through to Ilfracombe and finally onto Braunton for a well deserved pint or 3 in the Black George.
Slowly up East Hill towards final destination hillsidegallery.co.uk, lovely house and greeted by happy families.
Joy. 6 hours, 65 miles, best ride ever!!