Down to the Downs

Finally I get to do a bit of touring on my bike this year. I’d planned a mini 3 day tour to Radnorshire in April but COVID killed that idea off sadly. Luckily though, Sally had booked a self-contained apartment in Babbacombe, Torquay in September for a long weekend with her mom and we were hoping that given lockdown was being eased and that its self-contained it would be ok. It appears it will be. Its booked for four days so I said I’ll cycle down and join them Sunday and Monday. So now the best bit. Route planning….

Torquay is quite a long way to drive to and a really long way on a bike. 320km long. I’ve booked two days off for the ride which means I’m looking at two 100 mile days consecutively or something else. Given my mileage has tailed off over the summer, due to working from home, I’m now inclined to try and enjoy it rather than take on the arduous challenge of 7-8 hrs each day. Lets not forget, Devon is bloody hilly and I’ve got to get over or around the Cotswolds and Mendips before then too! So my thinking now is I leave work on Thurs night, get in, say, 80km and then split the remaining distance over the next couple of days. 120km a day is much better than tackling 160+

Babbacombe is a long way from home

80km on Thurs night gets me to Gloucester. I need to tick the miles off quickly so it will have to be direct down through Broadway, Winchcombe, an unavoidable climb over Cleeve Hill and then a nice descent to Southam and then a spin through Cheltenham to the outskirts of Gloucester into a Premier Inn which are just simple and bike friendly. I don’t want any faff.

Friday is the big day. Straight up out of the door onto the Cotswold escarpment. It gets lumpy in and out of Nailsworth before I tackle the Mendips. I could come down Cheddar Gorge but I’ve decided to skip that in favour of a quieter more direct route out across the Somerset levels until I reach another Premier Inn on the outskirts of Taunton some 140km/90 miles later with a sack load of climbing in my legs too. Mixed grill + a few beers please.

If I can get an early start on Saturday, I have a lumpy 90km to tick off so I can meet up with Sally and her mom for lunch maybe. I’ll probably stay off the main roads early on but when I get out of Exeter I follow the traffic-free coastal path aside the River Exe before passing through Dawlish and Teignmouth mixing it with the traffic a bit but the views should make up for it and the kids will be back at school so hopefully a bit quieter too. Babbacombe Downs is where I finish. I think a beer should be waiting for me. Then I can chill and get a lift back!

Game on.

2 thoughts on “Down to the Downs

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