Thursday, 26 July 2012


I have added photos to the Blog. Not so many, and hopefully on the right dates.
For those with a stronger constitution here is a link to the bulk of the photos, remember we were away for nearly a month and Ann had the camera!!

Thursday, 19 July 2012

Trip Home

We had arranged a van hire as this seemed to be the best way to get home. I requested a van, to carry a tandem and bags. The saloon arrived at 9.30am. I had already split the tandem so decided to try it in the saloon which luckily had split folding seats. The tandem, our luggage, Ann, myself and driver all fitted in and off to Barnstaple to do the paperwork. Enterprise, the hire co., then said we could have the van outside that had just been returned, but as we had everything in the car we said we will stick with that. They then got a call to say a car had not been delivered, so they offered to waive the one way fee, £100, if we took the van, they also knocked off a few other charges so we paid £40.70 for the one way hire, and diesel. The train fare would have been £241.
We stopped off at Bridgwater to drop the wheel off for rebuilding, SJS took it immediately, rebuilt it while we were having lunch in town, and then we were ready to carry on.

All in all a great trip, coastal paths, canal paths, old rail lines across country and almost crossing two countries. Mainly staying off the beaten track and always quiet.
Apart from the problem with the spokes, some noticed 'spokes' were not mentioned after we received the spares from SJS, and true to form, having 36 spares, we did not have another breakage. No punctures this trip and we did have a few rougher sections, and in many areas fresh path clearance was evident with brambles etc on the path but no problems. We probably carried about 80lbs in weight, including camping gear etc. This should be well within the carrying capacity of the bike, but I would like to cut the weight a bit. The mix of camping and hotels worked well, but we did miss the warmer weather we hoped for. Another time I think we would go north to south.

The route was well signed most of the way, although not always with the Velodessee sign. As long as you were aware what route the area or department were using for their section of the whole route that was fine. For example the Devon section use national Route 7, which is very well signed and with very clear alternatives. But at no point in Devon did we see a sign referring to La Velodessee. It would have been good to have at least something at the start or end. At Ilfracombe the final sign sent us into a car park at the harbour's edge, yes we could 'wet the wheel', but a sign or board showing the start/finish of the route would have been nice. A problem with good signage is that it easy to rely on it totally until it vanishes, then you have to find out where you are and where to go.

I will hopefully put on some photos and provide a link to them.
Thanks for the comments, now where next??

Tuesday, 17 July 2012

Day 27

End of the road.
Just to prove we were both there.
Mileage 28 miles .   44 km Total  miles  914  ( 1462 km) Bideford to Ilfracombe We continued along the Tarka Trail, along one estuary and into another. After seeing no one yesterday we saw a number of groups of cyclists, all going south. We also saw a couple of enormous groups of children on bikes. We stopped in Barnstaple to sort out accomadation for tonight and van hire for tomorrow. We are supposed to have a couple of utility bills to prove we live at our house. They would not accept copies on my I-touch, they must be paper copies. I eventually sorted it put at the library.   Back on the Tarka Trail for a few more miles. We had lunch on Braunton, then came today's hills. A couple of really big ones on very narrow lanes with Devon's hedges -ie. mainly stone banks. But after that we were on an old rail track that took us right into Ilfracombe.  Right down through town to the harbour, dipped a tyre and that's it. No sign to say the end/start or any mention of La Velodessee.  Ann celebrated with a Devon cream tea. We then took the tandem apart in readiness for the trip home.  Our last meal was at Gazpacho, Spanish tapas, it was very good.

Monday, 16 July 2012

Day 26

Did I say it was wet?
Mileage 32 miles .   52 km Total  miles  886   ( 1388 km) Okehampton to Bideford Our wettest day yet. We put our waterproofs on in Okehampton and took them off in Bideford. Route was predictably up and down, with the added pleasure of heavy rain and wind.  The first half was on lanes followed by The Tarka Trail. No views and hardly a soul about. We stopped for lunch under a shelter in a village, and a very kind man came out and gave us 2 large cups of tea. Wonderful.

Sunday, 15 July 2012

Day 25

Breakfast. 6.50 Plymouth
Mileage 43miles.   69 km Total  miles  854.  ( 1336 km) Plymouth to Okehampton Good nights sleep on ferry, off at the crack of dawn, route signed from ferry terminal entrance. We are following Route 27. No Velodyssee signs though. Weather has improved and although there is a cool wind, it is clear. The views are amazing as we climb, yes ascend, our legs had forgotten that bit. There are a few up and downs, but we finished to day with a good run along the Granite Way, a path on an old rail line that takes you over a couple of high bridges with amazing views. This route took us right into Okehampton.

Day 24

Mileage 45 miles.   72 km Total  miles   811  ( 1297km) Poullaouen to Roscoff
Lunch stop.
Pouring down when we woke up, but stopped by the time we set off. The path to Morlaix was an old railway track. It was much better than yesterday's start. Gradients were fine and we were soon on the highest point in Brittany. We reached Morlaix for lunch, the sun was shining, but still cool. We were then guided onto roads along to Roscoff. Although the signage was good, we failed to see any Velodessee signs.  A good meal and relax for a few hours in Roscoff before we got on the ferry.