I’ve got a lot to do this week. We sold our house and the moving operation starts this Friday. So a need to get over to see my parents before I start editing some of the contents of my shed into organised piles of Definitely Keep, Definitely Chuck, Probably Recycle and Why did I think I needed to keep that again? will need doing, deciding what pots and plants to take from the garden as well as all the usual utility and service changing calls.
I could have driven over in about 15 minutes of course, they’re only about 15km away but the sun was out and my day was otherwise free of commitment so the chance to get the bike out, possibly for the last time around the lanes of my youth, was too good to turn down. Having cleared my intentions with Mrs B, who then laughed at my appearance in my bib tights before offering some fresh out of the oven fruitcake to take over with me, I was free.
Getting over to Honiton involved heading mostly North East into the wind again, it still being from the unnatural direction of the frozen north and carrying cold air that did a good job of making you think you might have underestimated the amount of clothing required. As I headed down one of my usual routes through the potholed lane towards Talaton I was glad of the chance to sprint the sharp rise to the bridge over the railway to really get some warmth going in the muscles. I started to enjoy the sunshine and notice all the busy rural and natural life going on instead of just feeling like cocooning myself against the chill then.
I went through Feniton, still following along next to the railway, over the river Otter and turned onto a lane from Fenny Bridges that heads out parallel to to the main A30 dual carriageway road, through the pretty estate-owned village, all cob and thatched cottages, of Gittisham. It was all a bit tough going this way, a climb to start off with and that bloody wind but a fast descent into the village soon followed. As I was going down this, enjoying the free speed, it struck me that it seemed steeper – and better – going down it than when I’m plodding up it and I think perhaps it was the first time I’d done the route this way round. Probably the last time too.
As I turned left towards the Honiton road I was aghast to see a van parked, filling the road hedge to hedge, behind barriers and a road closed sign. No way through it seemed and I was doing a mental re-routing. All ways, including where I had just descended from (hence no stop to take pictures in the village) involved a hefty climb and of course the real and horrible possibility of a 5km backtrack, a cyclist no-no.
I saw a workman there and nodded to him.
‘Proper closed mate or can I come through somewhere?’ (Already practising to fit in when I move to Cornwall)
‘No worries, hang on I’ll move a few barriers out of the way for you.’
Phew. I could head on my planned way into the town of Honiton.
There now follows a bit of tea and cake for about two hours, with me arriving at the folks house and being told off for ‘exerting myself’. Cake was good though, and I needed the tea.
It was meant to be easier going home again because of the lack of wind in the face. My theory was if it was tough getting there, it must be like a plush mechanically-assisted ride home. Of course, the rolling terrain has only ups and downs, nothing flat really where you can just settle into a gear and spin along nicely, not until you climb to the plateau ceilings of the area anyway. So the wind assistance was mostly absent, the muscles seemed to take an age to get going again after my break and the sunlight was fading away in the now later afternoon. I had to up the pace a bit, I didn’t have any lights with me today.
I headed back to Feniton again, this time though the little villages of Weston and Buckerell on the other side of the A30, but headed out in a loop from there through Payhembury. At one stage I had stopped for a slurp and looked up because I had heard the call of a Buzzard. When I looked there were six of them up there, doing their circling upwards on what must have been thin pickings left of the warm air currents. Stops were not wanted after this though, the colder air as the sun dropped ever more and the light starting to fade away kept me going, although a look at my bike computer and a quick calculation about light and time did make me take a slightly longer way round in the network of lanes than I could have done.
I was approaching the 50km mark, there is a strange part of a cyclist’s psyche which doesn’t let you do a ride of 44.7km when you could do a 50.3km. More annoying was getting in to my home village and finding I’d have to do a little loop around the cricket ground road just to get it to click over that arbitrary number. So a picture of my route today has a couple of main loops in it, plus a little tiny one at the end which gave me the magic 51.2km overall.
I don’t have anything much really in the way of pictures today, although apparently blue skied above the atmosphere was hazy at any distance. I had a scheduled time to aim for to get the first bit done and was then trying to beat the light on the way home, so apologies for the lack of quality in illustration this time. I enjoyed my ride though, very little traffic on the lanes with all the “I’m busy, must get there as soon as I can,” being taken away onto the A30, bypassing all of this lovely hedge-rowed lane, twisty, sunny and life filled stuff and leaving it for us more patient – and puffing – pootlers.
Meanwhile, hopefully by next week, I’ll have a new area to explore, hopefully not get too lost in and there will be some more write ups of some meanderings then. See you then. I’m off to the shed.
PS> I added a Facebook page widget. I’m not that familiar with the Facebook thing, typically I expect all the cool kids have gone elsewhere by the time I get round to doing it but that about sums me up. Anyway, I think you can do the ‘Likes’ thing and comments stuff on it if you feel like it.