All Change! (26/5/18)


They do say, “It’s not what you know, but who you know!”
When it comes to many things French, that’s very true in my case. I can order coffee. I can buy bread. Even purchase a train ticket! And once I actually managed to buy a bleed valve for 1995 Renault 19 using nothing but french (and a little miming!). In fact on that occasion, the chap at the  spares counter was so impressed with my french that he gave me it for nothing. Although this was probably due to him collapsing with uncontrollable laughter at my ‘tentatives de français’.
Anyway, following a recent post on Facebook on a cycle touring group, I was telling its worldwide members about this trip and any advice on the route etc would be much appreciated. The response was very positive and my phone very quickly filled with many enthusiastic messages with advice and guidance on where and where not to go, what and what not to eat, plus ideas on little detours to make to see various landmarks/ mountain ranges/ national parks etc etc etc. Then, after a day or two, a message came through questioning my sanity. The chap in question, whose name eludes me now was of German origin and went on to say (read it with a german accent, it comes across better!).

Why, oh Why, are you cycling to London from the south? Have you not heard of the Mistral? You must be one crazy man to even think on doing this! You will have headwinds for week! And vertical hairs! Last year, I cycled through the Rhone Valley  to Avignon from Munchen and I saw 2 men crawling northways on bikes! They had their legs like fur-trunks! Everyday, 50km winds to the head!  You must not do this! It will break your soul and your legs! Your bike will be in the Rhone and you will be on the train!  Travel south! Buy sails and a mast!

Well, I wasn’t expecting this! It certainly made me think and cast a bit of a shadow of doubt over all the research and planning I’d so far done! What if he was right? I immediately googled it. He was right. Although it’s only bad at certain times of the year. Well, the climate these days isn’t exactly reliable (it was in the 20s here in Devon earlier this week – 7 days before that, we had a frost!) so do I chance it and keep my english fingers crossed that La Mistral isn’t at home for those days I’m pedalling through. Wikipedia does say it’s at its worse betwixt winter and spring. Sod that! I’m not going to chance it. I’ll go t’other way and listen to my fellow german cyclist.

So, all accommodation dates have been changed and the routes finalised this very afternoon. Kick off starts at 6am on 18th September at Marble Arch in London. All being well, on the afternoon of 28th September, I’ll be dipping my sweaty toes in France’s Mediterranean Sea!

I had a nice little training ride this week. It was cut short due to the traditional Devon rain but I managed 33 quickish miles on a touring bike fully loaded with what I’ll be taking. The ride was up in North Devon on the Tarka Trail. It’s made up mainly of a reclaimed railway line that came under Dr Beeching’s axe in the 1960s. A crying shame for rail travel and a real lack of foresight I guess but, it has been transformed into the most beautiful cycle route. It forms part of the NCN Routes 3 and 27 coast to coast from Ilfracombe to Plymouth. The C2C in Devon is very possible and can easily be tackled in a leisurely 3 days. However, some have crossed the county in much less time.  Those that feel a little more adventurous can continue south on the ferry to Roscoff and pick up La Vélodyssée – The Atlantic Cycling route that will take you down as far as France’s border with Spain. It’s on the list for me that one is!

Published by stevepullan170571

My name is Steve Pullan and I'm lucky enough to live in a fabulous part of the country in Devon. The moors and open countryside are on the doorstep and that lends itself to some fantastic cycling (if you don't mind the west country rain and the hills!). I've always been keen on cycling but since moving to Tavistock, my enthusiasm has hit an all-time high. In 2014, I decided to make use of it and take on the Land's End to John O'Groats challenge. I rode solo and unsupported and did intend to keep costs down by going armed with a tent and sleeping bag but due to an appalling winter and being unsure of what spring had in mind, I opted for the B&B option. The ride covered a little over 917 puncture-free miles and involved quite a few climbs both in the far north-east of Scotland and also Devon and Cornwall (I've had been reliably informed that Devon and Cornwall is by far the worst part of it and I have to say, I agree). The whole trip was completed in a leisurely 13 days with about 81 hours spent in the saddle. Each day I posted a blog on this site just to share this great experience. I also raised over £2000 for Cancer Research too. Following on from the LeJoG, the experience has given me the bug and desire to explore more on two wheels and in Aug 2015, I set off for a 6 day jaunt across the channel in France. Once off the ferry in Roscoff, I pedalled 400 odd miles to my parents' house south of Cognac in the south-west. The France2015 blog details that ride. No doubt there'll be other jaunts in Europe to come! Update: September 2018 - A solo ride from London to the Mediterranean in aid of the Brain Tumour Charity. - This ride came to a bit of a premature end after 260 miles with a knee injury. However, it is now rescheduled for 29th April 2019. Details of everything are on the blog pages. Thanks for reading.

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