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.