Tour of Britain 2016 – Sidmouth

I went to the start of the Tour of Britain yesterday in Sidmouth – the weather wasn’t great so it was a bit of a challenge keeping the camera and the lens rain free so I am afraid the pictures are that great!. Here are a few photos of some of the riders.

Bradley Wiggins

mark-cavendishMark Cavendish

wout-poelsSky’s Wout Poels – the eventual Stage winner

vivianiSky’s Elia Viviani

ian-stannardSky’s Ian Stannard

nicholas-rocheSky’s Nicholas Roche

danny-van-poppelSky’s Danny van Poppel

ben-swiftSky’s Ben Swift

andre-greipelLotto’s Andre Greipel

alec-dowsettMovistar’s Alec Dowsett

All these riders are World Tour superstars, some are Tour de France Stage winners and Olympic medalists etc – great to see them racing in Britain.


The race commences – Green Jersey, King of the Mountains and the Yellow Jersey lead out the Peloton in Sidmouth High Street

Exeter Wheeler’s Hill Climb

A group of us from the Devon and Exeter Squash and Racketball Club entered the Exeter Wheeler’s Hill climb charity event  yesterday afternoon up Stoke Hill in Exeter. We were having a bit of fun and raising money for the Exeter Royal Academy for Deaf Education.

Hill climb1
We went off in teams of three – here is the team I was in with Mandy and Caroline getting our ‘race’ numbers pinned on at race HQ in Stoke Canon.

Hill Climb 2
At the start with an official timekeeper! He is one of my colleagues from work – Ken Evans

Hill Climb 3
And we are off

Hill climb 4
Here are Paddy and Elliot – a penguin and a flamingo

Hill climb 8
For which they won a box of wheeler cup cakes each!

Hill climb 5
Here’s Karen 3/4s of the way up – even got time for a wave!

Hill climb 6
Brian on the up

Hill climb 7
And Squirm – wondering why?

Hill climb 11-2
Good to see the Exeter Wheelers customised the course with the famous Jens Voigt expression 

Garden snailThinking about my fancy dress options next year…….

A good afternoon out – thanks Wheelers

If you want to see how the individual hill climb event went in the morning  see here. The winner was about 6 and half minutes quicker than me …… having said that the Flamingo did very well.

Thanks to Karen Bealey for the photos which I feature in

A hard Dartmoor cycle ride and we saw a pro!

We went for a bike ride on Dartmoor yesterday – starting near Haytor and then weaving through the lanes to the Moretonhamstead – Postbridge road. Started in the dry but the rain wasn’t far behind. Our first bike ride on Dartmoor for ages, we had forgotten how hilly it was …..

Amazingly we were overtaken on a hill by a chap on a bike going 3-4x as fast as us – very impressive – he said hello but I was too puffed to reply. I wonder who that was? – a pro or a former pro I would say …. – just checked Strava – Jonathan Teirnan Locke did part of the same route yesterday too – makes sense! Good luck JTL for next season?Route
Here is our route – the hills on Dartmoor before the Warren House Inn are brutal!

Kitty JayPassed Kitty Kay’s grave near Hound Tor – as ever flowers on the grave.

Warren House InnDrove up to the Warren House Inn after it was thankfully all over!

FireThe fire of course was still burning

Beertrix OtterEnjoyed the Otter Brewery beer mat – nice National Trust link!

We will be back onto Dartmoor soon with some better weather and stronger legs….

Lanhydrock’s new cycle trails and hub

I used to go to meetings at Lanhydrock all the time when our Region in the National Trust was just ‘Devon and Cornwall’ – now we are the ‘South West’ this is the first time I have been to Lany for a couple of years!

Fortunately amongst the meetings we found time to have a look at the new Lanhydrock cycling hub. We didn’t get a chance to look at the trails – that will have to be a summer or spring trip now.

Lanhy3The hub consists of some new buildings aligned each side of the old carriage drive – making them look a bit like historic lodges! On the right is the cycle hire and toilets and on the left is a cafe. Much of the development was funded by 1SW – see here for more details (who also funded our trails at Plym Bridge)

Lanhy2A well stocked cycle hire shop

Lanhy4A fresh new cafe

Lanhy5A children’s play area

Lanhy6A map of the cycle trails …… yet to be explored

Lanhy7Routes for everyone and every ability

Setting up my bike on a turbo

Yesterday morning I managed to set up my bike to work on a ‘turbo’ – a bit of kit which enables you to cycle without actually going anywhere……. I also managed to set up the cycling computer to calculate the distance I hadn’t been along with the speed I hadn’t been going at. Things don’t get much more satisfying than that to be honest.

TurboMy bike on the turbo – a way of training on a bike if it is raining or very windy on the roads!

Exmouth beach

On our last Saturday before returning to work I went for a 3 mile run followed by a 12 mile bike ride down to Exmouth, the cycle track was really busy with families out for an afternoon walk so it was a very measured cycle ride! It was also very windy which meant that coming back was pretty hard work.

If you haven’t ridden on the Exeter to Exmouth cycle track I really recommend it – it is an amazing piece of engineering and investment and we are very lucky to have it – it really opens up the countryside for everyone – how about that for a new year’s resolution?

Beach1A pit stop just below Orcombe Point where we had a chat with some friends from the Exmouth Gig Rowing Club

Beach2The cycle trail and the promenade were full of people but the beach wasn’t

A bike ride up to Mamhead

Was out on my bike yesterday with Jon and Will. We did around 40 miles including the climb from Starcross up to Mamhead – it is a climb that keeps going!

Screen Shot 2014-12-31 at 23.48.13

Here is our route along with the gradient profile – in effect we left from Exton, cycled to Starcross, went up Mamhead,  went for an excellent hot chocolate and fruit flapjack at the cafe on the A380,  dropped back down to Starcross,  along into Dawlish and then went directly back to Exton – exactly 40 miles.

IMG_2978Will and Jon at the swing bridge over the canal

Castelli1Interesting that we were all wearing Castelli cycling clothing – it has become very popular in recent years – perhaps because it is very good at keeping you warm and dry! I also really like the scorpion logo.

A cycle ride to Starcross

We went off on the new cycle track yesterday down to Starcross. Lots and lots of people were out on their bikes too – indeed later on the  in the day I saw dozens of people dressed as Santas and Elves cycling back to Exeter!

IMG_2951Also the first outing for  my new bike – the Genesis Equilibrium

I’m standing outside the steam tower for Brunel’s Atmospheric Railway – this was a bold innovative project which aimed to have trains running between Exeter and Newton Abbot and eventually onto Plymouth. It was launched in 1847 and was fully operationally by 1848 – however success was short lived – the atmospheric technology failed to deliver as expected and the system had to be reverted to conventional trains. It is a long and complex tail – a classic of entreprenurial genius, failure and success. For the full story see here.

IMG_2947A plaque commemorating the project

IMG_2955Originally there were other steam towers along the route but now this is the only one that survives

The new Powderham cycle bridge is open

The section of cycle track from the Turf Locks to Powderham is now officially open. We took a ride down there yesterday from Exton to have look and try it out. It’s brilliant and means it is safe to cycle from Exeter down to Starcross and on to Dawlish Warren on cycle trails or quiet roads all the way.

Bridge1It’s a pretty substantial bridge which crosses the main line railway

Bridge2Much safer than playing chicken on the railway line

Bridge3The gradient up and over and then down is perfect for cycling

Bridge5The work has only just finished and all the mud will vegetate over this coming spring

Bridge4There are also some viewing points along the trail where you get spectacular views over the Estuary – here we are looking back to the Turf Locks

Cycling across the water

Following on from the success of our bike ride last week out to the Turf Locks to view the new cycle trail we thought we would try and cycle an Exe estuary circuit today. So Caroline and I along with her parents Valery and Clive headed for Exmouth to hire a couple of bikes and get ready for the expedition.

Bikelands have always been very helpful in the past and today was no exception.

Exmouth cycle 7Clive’s bike complete with advertising hoarding

Exmouth cycle 6Valery’s bike complete with red plastic flowers (!?)

Exmouth cycle 1From Exmouth – it is a ferry ride across to Starcross £5.50 each with a bike – not something to do everyday but great for a special treat! Note today is the last day for the ferry – it doesn’t run again now until spring 2015…….

Exmouth cycle 2Great sunshine views back to Exmouth

Exmouth cycle 3And into Starcross – note there is a bit of bike lifting and carrying over bridges etc before the cycling begins

Exmouth cycle 4Here is the amazing new bridge over the railway between Powderham and Turf Locks!

The new section is now nearly nearly finished – I reckon 3/4 plus is now tarmaced – two weeks? Either way you can cycle slowly along the old walking route.

Exmouth cycle 5Onwards to Exeter Quay for lunch at Canal View Cafe

Cycle ride 31-Oct-14And here’s the map / route – 22 mile round trip