Tag Archives: A38

End to End Day Seventeen – wet, wet, wet, tired legs, A38, Lanhydrock, Goss Moor, Rame Cross PO, 1000 miles!  Lizard Point! Helston

Liskeard to Helston via Lizard Point – 80 miles
1019 miles completed – approx 40 to go!
Aim for today was to go down through Cornwall via Bodmin Parkway, Truro and Stithians to Lizard Point (the most Southerly point on mainland Britain) and then back to Helston.
My goodness – so difficult to get up (even with Geoff’s help) but this was our last early start and we had to do it. Our route between Liskeard and Truro was essentially 40 miles of flat (like gold dust in Cornwall) but to cycle safely on the A38 between Liskeard and Bodmin you must be on that road by about 6 15 am.
Very tired as we set off – I had to stop twice on the way up to Dobwalls (our access point for the A38)
Then there was the weather. “I feel it in my fingers, I feel it in my toes, Your love is all around me ……” yes, it could only be described as wet, wet, wet and it was the kind of rain that our clothes were not going to compete with.
After the 10 miles on the A38 we pulled off into the safety of Bodmin Parkway Station – Pete thought we should have our egg baps here in their lovely signal box cafe. This was great although the lady was a bit annoyed with us for making her floor so wet. At this stage we thought it was tempting just to get the train to Penzance but …

Up through the beautiful Lanhydrock Estate and then following cycle route 3 towards Llanivet – Cornish hedgerows full of wild montbretia . An easy ride to the (newish) Victoria Services where our route crossed the A30. Both of us had a mocha here hoping that the caffeine might inject a bit of pace I to our cycling. Pete chatted to a group of cyclists who were training for a London – Paris event (‘No, Pete, don’t even think about it’).
On across Goss Moor – now a cycle track but until 2008 part of the A30 –

And on down the excellent B3275 (empty and flat) to Truro. Here we, as usual, popped into the Duke Street Deli for a sandwich and a cup of tea and a good warm up.
After Truro, you do have to face some hills. Pete and I followed a route on quiet roads up through Carnon Down and Peranwell to Stithians and Rame Cross. At Rame Cross PO I was having a bit of an “I can’t go on” crisis when the lovely man who runs it came to my rescue by making me a cup of tea, giving me some chocolate bars and letting me use their loo – thank you so much!  Then down a long unmarked road to Gweek and
, finally, we were on The Lizard headland. Past RNAS Culdrose (last here for Christmas 1983 when I was expecting Vicky). Then wIth another 7 miles to go to get to Lizard Point Pete stopped us by a footpath sign so we could celebrate reaching 1000 miles on our trip!
Finally, in to the very beautiful Lizard Point – scenery to die for (also not raining now) and proper wooden shack cafes (bring your own wine). Wonderful! A kind person took our pic at The Most Southerly Point and then we celebrated with an ice cream overlooking the sea.
Now we headed back to Helston for the night (what a pretty town!). The heavens opened and we arrived like drowned rats outside “No.52” with its river running down the street. A very welcome shower, chance to dry our clothes, Pot Noodle for the last time and bed. Tomorrow Lands End and home.






1000 miles (!) just outside Helston


End to End Day Fifteen – ankles and knees, KT tape, cafe hunt, lots of support, canals v A roads

Portishead to Bickleigh – 76 miles

874 miles completed
Somehow managed to leave just after 6 am. Both feeling more tired today as we head from Portishead through Bridgwater, Taunton, Wellington and Tiverton to Bickleigh.
A new development with my ankle and both of Pete’s knees beginning to make themselves known. We thought we should reduce risks by taping my ankle with the KT tape (as seen on Le Tour – and an absolute essential item of kit). We

pulled into an innocent looking gateway and began the thing of looking up on line about where to stick the tape on my leg. Almost immediately the biggest lorry pulled up and half a dozen men came running out of our gateway to support its reversing operation. I was still on one leg with the blue tape dangling and Pete was, as usual, helpless with laughter at the situation.
Still the tape helped and we moved on eagerly anticipating a coffee at 20 miles but a series of excuses from the cafes on the A38 made this a difficult task: not open yet, not here today, no electricity today (!) and no access for bicycles. Finally pulled into a garden centre with a Costa – yeah!
Here we met another Peter, with whom we had a good chat about the merits or otherwise of exercise – he could do this with some authority with a background in the Marines – he is also one of the few people I have met who understands how fit you need to be to ride horses. His interest was Western riding, which I have never done but would love to try.
We continued along the A38 – not a bad road from Portishead to Taunton. No provision for cyclists – it’s an old narrow road – but the traffic is local because it runs along side the M5 and it is fairly flat.
Here we then met Dave, actually walking from John O Groats to Lands End! He, like us, had been soaked the day before but had had a harder time trying to get dry with his camping gear. We wished him well.
From the start of today Pete had been determined that we would have a lunch stop at Chow Hound – a snack wagon just before Taunton. It had not been easy throughout our trip to persuade Pete to go near an ATM but now this was his priority and armed with the cash we pulled into said lay by. In no time at all we were tucking into sausage, eggs and black pudding and enjoying a chat with Teresa and her customers and even with Paul, the “boss” who sent us his best wishes by phone.
Now for how to tackle Taunton. I had felt the bypass was very dangerous when we tried it previously so now we took to the Sustrans route and came in along the canal – much safer although fiddly.
Before we knew it we had been persuaded to stick with the cycle route for our onward journey and worked our way through a series of lanes, hills and pretty villages.
At Hillfarrance we met Terry who kindly took a pic of us together and asked us about our trip.
Then we had the pleasure of pulling into Turners Cycles where the kind proprietor pumped up our tyres and we were able to by some more hydro tablets.
Several significant hills later we joined the Grand Western Canal near its source at Holcum Rogus – and we cycled the whole 10 miles along its banks (thank heaven again for our endurance tyres) to Tiverton.
At Tiverton we pulled into a garage and washed the grit and mud off our bicycles and then completed the last four miles along the Exe on the A396  to Bickleigh and the Fishermans Cot. Meat and veg for supper and then they kindly organised us a breakfast for our bedroom so that we could leave early next morning.









Three day practice ride for JOGLE

(pics and lessons learned at end)

Following three wonderful days with the wedding party for Vicky and James’ amazing wedding, Pete and I set off for a three day 200 mile practice for our big End to End trip.  Susie and Charlie join us for Day 1.

Day 1:  Gloucester to Portishead  (should have been 40 miles but in fact 52 due to Pete’s Garmin having a mind of its own)  Mostly flat Sustrans Route 41 – we avoided the canal path part by taking to the A38 (felt fairly safe because of a cycle lane).  Susie and Charlie had set off earlier than us while we enjoyed breakfast with the bride and groom.  Inspite of our best efforts and the worst that the Garmin could do, it took us until lunch time to catch them, when we were rewarded with a lovely pub lunch at Littleton.

Pulled into Portishead around 5pm having been over the new Avon Bridge Cycle way and through the new build estate around Portishead Marina – 3,000 new homes – all different, beautifully landscaped and sought after as new homes.  Certainly a good example of how new build developments can actually improve a community.  When we arrived at Parsonage Court, Susie made us a perfect supper (risotto and salmon) and allowed us our first practice with washing and drying our clothes over night.  Charlie and Pete spent a happy evening looking at new bicycle specs with the aim of C and S moving up to road bikes fairly soon and then a lovely night’s sleep.

Day 2  Portishead to Bickleigh (71 miles)

With 70 plus miles planned for day 2 the aim was to leave at 6 am the next morning.  All went well until at 5.50 am when we attempted to get our bicycles out of the garage only to find that one of their cars, brought back late the previous evening, was parked too close to the door and so we had to wake Charlie to move the car – shame!  We set off enthusiastically along the B3124 to Clevedon (avoiding the hill on the A38) and had a bit of a pause 3 miles down the road when I realised I had left my glasses on Charlie and Susie’s wall.  Pete kindly went back (gave him a chance to stretch his legs) and then we set off in earnest.  We picked up the A38 at Churchill and stayed with it until Tiverton.  There were few cycle lanes and much of the traffic was fast.  However, the road was flat and the traffic was local since the road runs very close to the M5.  Our savoury snack food stops were at lay by snack waggons, the first at 20 miles (Snax R Us) and the second at 40 miles (The Chou Hound Snack Bar).  At this latter, we tucked into something called a Torpedo and were told enthusiastically about his specialities and how he only used the best ingredients.  We enjoyed  this stop and made a note to call again. At Tiverton we made a serious mistake.  The plan had been to go into Tiverton via Samford Peverell and Halberton and then down the flat A396 for four miles to Bickleigh.  The Garmin, however, suggested shaving a couple of miles off and that we should do these last four miles south of the River Exe.  At this stage we had only climbed 400 metres or so.  Once we had completed these four miles, the total climb was over 1000 metres – yes we had added a 600 metres climb!  We definitely won’t do this again.  Finally we arrived at the very picturesque Fisherman’s Cot overlooking the River Exe at Bickleigh Bridge.  They had kindly arranged for us to have a room with a hallway in which we were able to park our bicycles for the night.  We were exhausted but, as agreed, washed all the clothes we had been wearing, rolled it in a towel to take out the worst of the moisture, and hung it in the cupboard to dry over night – very effective.  We had initially booked a supper table for 7 pm but agreed we needed to eat at 6.  We ordered a main course and a drink, thought about the cost and agreed that on our long trip I would go for a main course and a half a lager – topped up with water.

In terms of my latex allergy issues, had tried wearing just my black vest tucked into my shorts to stop the elastic waist band touching my skin but then not very visible to traffic.  I had been using my knee bandages to protect my legs from my shorts but again too hot to keep them on today, so a bit of an issue.  Pete gave this some thought and wondered if I might be able to wear his old Serpentine tri suit – make of spandex and elastane.

Also had a think about moisturisers for face, bum and feet and decided to make some changes. Decided on REN emollient for my face (originally planned for my feet); Vaseline for my bum (less messy thank Sudocrem); and Sudocrem for my feet (originally planned for my bum!  My feet are an issue because I have to wrap them in cling film at night to keep them moisturised.)

Day 3  Bickleigh to Liskeard (75 miles) 

Although breakfast was at 7.30 am this meant we were not able to leave until 8.30 and this did seem a little late to us. With our planned route, the A3072 between Bickleigh and Crediton, closed for repair, we were forced to add another 10 miles and go down to Exeter (calling into the Bike Hut for more supplies) and then take the old A30, now an unclassified road along the northern edge of Dartmoor.  This route is very pretty with a lot of picturesque villages but very hilly.  We enjoyed our stops at the Woodleigh Coach House (Cheriton Bishop)  and the Taw River Inn (Sticklepath) and finally pulled into Okehampton and up onto the Granite Trail.  Four miles along we stopped at the cycle café.  Knowing we still had 36 miles to go, I felt I could not manage another 50 yards.    Took in a Mule bar gel; some gel blocks; a flap jack and a cup of tea and then climbed back on the bike.  Tried drafting with Pete to avoid the head wind and after a while felt a bit better.  In fact we were OK all the way then into Tavistock.  Here we were grateful to find the last pack of chocolate donuts (ate two each – thank you, Chris) at the Tavistock Spar and Post Office. Then on towards Gunnislake – and as we were making the final descent (13 miles from home) Pete’s spoke went.  This was down a steep hill so he was lucky not to be hurt.  Not knowing he had dropped back I waited the other side of the bridge.  Wasn’t able to call Pete because his battery had gone but a driver told me he was sorting his bike.  A kind cyclist (Geoff) stopped to help Pete and also lent him his phone.  We were then able to call Geoff who came to collect us.  We arrived home at about 9.30 pm. having completed 186 of the 199 miles planned – I was quite relieved to have our journey cut short.

Lessons learned:  Important to keep two phones working throughout the day; a late start from a B and B is not possible if we have 70 plus miles to complete; roads like the A38 are doable on a long trip but a mirror is essential.  It is sobering to think that even if we make no mistake at all over a 15 day period, we are dependant on thousands and thousands of cars being careful too; and, most importantly, NEVER TRUST A GARMIN!

Twin room at Fishermans Cot Tedburn St Mary - old A30 Rosebay Willow Herb Granite Trail Opposite Stoke Cannon PO IMG_2518 IMG_2517 IMG_2512 IMG_2510 IMG_2509 IMG_2503 IMG_2502 IMG_2501 IMG_2499 IMG_2495 IMG_2491 IMG_2490 IMG_2484 IMG_2478 IMG_2477 IMG_2475 IMG_2472 IMG_2469 IMG_2466 IMG_2462 IMG_2460 IMG_2450 IMG_2448 Cycle storage in room porch at Fishermans Cot Cycle parking in Exeter for Costa at WHSChoc donut Spar Tavistock  By the bridge at Fishermans Cot Continue reading Three day practice ride for JOGLE

We attempt a trip to Lands End – 80 miles in one day!

(pics and lessons learned at the bottom)

A 4.15 am alarm.  We will be meeting at 5.55 am at The Parade, Liskeard for our summer attempt to reach Land End in a day, together, and in time to share supper before driving home – we hope to be there by 5 pm.  The trip is 80 plus miles – quite a lot of it hilly, Geoff is our support for the day with the horse lorry.  So before we cycle to the start, Steve and Connie drop off the ingredients for supper (and their dog, Freya), and everyone has let us have their warm clothing to change into if/when we arrive at our destination.  I am using it as a practice for the End to End and so carry my clothing for the bigger trip to see if I can manage the weight.

The weather forecast is a head wind with rain, heavy at times, during the morning but clearing in the afternoon – how bad can it be in August?  Nevertheless, we are all taking this seriously and are wearing our waterproofs.

(My gear for the ride:  very thin waterproof jacket (Montane Featherlite Velo) over thin jersey; slightly warmer gilet; three quarter length shorts; shoes and over boots; two pairs of gloves – for warmth and extra cushioning).

Amazingly, we are all there ready to go on time and eight of us set off at 6 am. 80 miles is further than most of us have ever cycled in a day and for those of us who have done this distance before, this is the first time this year.

Our first ten miles is down the A38 – usually very dangerous with no room for lorries to pass – but early on a Sunday morning quite safe.  Nevertheless we take the precaution of cycling single file but in two’s so that drivers can pass two people at a time rather than attempt to pass a long line.  Accomplished this safely.  Persistent drizzle – waterproofs feel OK.  I am dry and not too hot.  Then up through the Lanhydrock Estate, beautiful at any time of the day and on to the new Cornwall Services on the A30.   Whatever you think of large service stations, it is wonderful to be able to pick up a cup of Costa Hot Chocolate before 8 am on a Sunday and to sit on  comfortable sofas to drink it.

We come out to heavier rain – all a bit cold now and keen to get going.  Next stop Truro at 40 miles from the start but a very pleasant route over Goss Moor (although I managed to fall off going through one of the gateway openings) and then down the old A30 now the B3275.  This is an empty road, almost completely flat (a rare treat in Cornwall) because it follows the route of the River Tresilian – always surprised that this is not used by more End to Enders who always find Cornwall hilly.  Now torrential rain – but still comfortable. A bit of a climb on the A390 into Truro and then we meet up with Geoff at the Duke Street Deli for a cup of tea and, in my case, a chocolate brownie – lovely.  The plan had been for Connie to leave the group at this stage but, despite the rain, she felt the ride was going well and said she was keen (?) to continue to the next formal stop at Marazion.

The next section was hillier – at least between Truro and Four Lanes – and the rain which had eased returned making this a bit of an endurance test.  Ann B took a tumble – cleat issues.  My little summer waterproof was still holding out,  as were the over boots but I did feel more tired in this section – tried some of my electrolyte/caffeine drink.   Amanda reminded us she did not normally do wet weather cycling and we all thought the weather could be a bit more cheerful.  A sandwich stop on the green at Praze en Peeble and then on along the B3280, a fast road in cycling terms, down into Marazion, with its wonderful view of St. Michael’s Mount.  I say “wonderful view” but although the rain had now eased the mist made St Michael’s Mount almost invisible.  Along the coast then to the beach café for another mug of tea and loo stop.  Geoff was there to offer Connie a lift if she wanted it but she seemed to be on a roll and thought she would now manage the last 13 miles.  The rest of us were all tired but keen to get to the end and resigned to the last bit being hilly.

On along the coast. to Penlee – where Steve and David kindly changed my inner tube after I picked up a shard of glass and a puncture  (noticeable again that I wasn’t able to do it!).  Then through Mousehill – very pretty harbour but a very steep hill out.  Personally, very pleased to manage this for the first time. A photo stop at Lamorna (and a slow puncture for Connie –  thank you, David and Steve,  for keeping her tyre going for the last seven miles) and then along the B3315  which joins the A30 just before Lands End.    Here we  re-grouped and crossed the line together.  Yes, we had made it – 5.30 pm – just half an hour later than we intended.  As we crossed that line, the sun came out (was it taking the Mick?)  and our photo in front of the famous signpost shows a background of sparkling sea.

My bicycle had performed well with a pannier (Arkel seat post rack and pannier) – no problems at all on the flat and I was able to adjust quickly to the extra weight for the up hill sections.

Geoff and Rose had supper ready for once we had changed, which was wonderful (thank you to Connie, Rose and Geoff) and then, having put their bicycles on the lorry, the two David’s accepted a lift back to Penzance to get the train home (thank you, Mike) and the rest of us went back with Geoff in the lorry .  A great expedition and a great achievement for all of us!

Lessons learned from this trip:

1. Summer cycling in the rain can be comfortable if you wear the right clothing; 2.  Narrow gateways should always be respected;  3. All cyclists should be confident in changing an inner tube (yes, Ann); 4. Cleats should be respected even when you think you think you are confident with them; 5.  If you are doing more miles than normal you need to think carefully about your nutrition  (I am still keen on the formula something sweet after 10 miles; something savoury every 20 miles) – and a mixture of electrolytes and caffeine helped me when I was flagging.  6.  Large groups riding on busy roads can make it easier for motorists by riding in pairs (single file) with gaps between each pair; 7. The Liskeard to Lands End ride requires four (rather than three) refreshment stops for riders of our ability.

Victoria ServicesIMG_2318Duke Street DeliIMG_2324Praze an PeebleIMG_2332IMG_2338IMG_2341IMG_2342IMG_2346IMG_2350Landsend 2015