Saturday, 24 July 2010


It is now nearly 3 weeks since I came home from the North Sea Cycle Route and today I went out for one of my favourite rides. I started from home at Ivybridge , cycled over Dartmoor to Okehampton, through mid Devon to Bideford, along the Taw/Torridge estuary to Barnstaple. It is 75 miles. I came home on the train in the same day. It is a long day.

This is a view of Dartmoor, typical where I cycle.

There are many hazzards like this ford, fun with a mountain bike

Dartmoor has many stone crosses erected by monks who used them as direction signs in the Middle Ages.

Devon is notorious for its hills. Cyclists doing the End to Ender reckon Devon is the hardest on the whole journey for hills.

Okehampton Railway Station was closed many years ago but has been restored and reopened. Old trains use it. There is a nearby railway yard full of old railway carriages waiting for something to happen. If you would like to buy an old railway carriage, it would worth checking this out.

I cycle alongside the River Torridge. This was home to Tarka the Otter and where Henry Williamson used to live. If you have read the book, you will recognise this stretch of river.

Barnstaple Station has hourly trains to Exeter and has itself just been restored to the old Southern Railway colours. It is a nice touch. It is right beside the cycle route and the station building has a cafe and cycle hire shop as well as the ticket office.
Sustrans has signposted this route (NCR 27) and it is one of two 100 mile routes in Devon. This one is a mixture of challenging and easy, a bit like the North Sea Cycle Route in miniature. The other is NCR 2 from Plymouth to Lyme Regis and beyond. I cycled from Weymouth to home last year and this route is definately a challenge.

Sunday, 11 July 2010


I want to go back to the Shetlands. It must be one of the most windswept yet romantic places on this planet. I want to stay with Mr and Mrs Sutherland in Gruting again. They are warm hearted Shetland folk who love their islands and have a warm but practical understanding of wildlife. Next time, I would like to go with my wife. The bike will be left at home

Hey, Mary. I love your comments and thank you for them. The two people who said I should do the route again intended that I just carry on, none stop so to speak. Has that been done before? Now Ireland, I was thinking just the same thing. It has to be something different though. Did you know that someone gave themselves a challenge to hitchhike around Ireland in one month carrying a fridge? A local radio station found out and the Irish were on the lookout for him to give him a lift.
Here are some facts from my journey;
a) Distance: 3,762 miles (6,019km)
b) Time: 72 days, including 4.5 rest days
c) Nos of ferries: 22
d) Most distance in one day: 87 miles (139km), twice
e) Most hill climbing in one day: 3,600ft (1,100m), approx (Hauge - Kvinesdal, Norway)
f) Type of cycle tracks: varied. 1. Much riding on quiet country roads, 2. Many dedicated cycle paths, suitable for families, except Britain, 3. Some gravel tracks in forests and along the coast in all countries, 4. Some challenging mountain bike trails in Norway.
g) Bike breakdowns: None
h) Punctures: None
i) Tyre replacements: 1
j) Type of bike: Trek Model X1
I have undertaken this as a charity challenge. If you would like to find out if I have met this challenge, there is a separate website at Please have a look. If you like it and have not already donated, may I ask you to make a donation.

Wednesday, 7 July 2010


I am now back in England having cycled with Dagmar for the last eight days. My adventure has continued but the story is not over. I have twice been asked to cycle the Route a second time as nobody has done that before.
I booked my ticket with Stena Line Ferries to Harwich and Stena laid on a special treat for Dagma and myself. We were given a complimentary three course dinner in their luxury restaurant. Thank you very much Stena Line. This was a very nice gesture from this company. It is not often large companies make welcome gestures like this. The meal was delicious too

We ended our dyke riding and I cycled as close to the water's edge as possible. I have ridden 100's of miles along dykes and I have come to like these man made features which nature has responded to so magnificently. The last part of the journey was through sand dunes and for a moment I thought that I was back in Denmark. I love taking photos while on my bike in the setting sun.
Sylvia met us at Harwich and we went back to the start to celebrate with some champagne. Badger joined in. Badger has never been on a ferry or been abroad before. He has learned lots of things. He has seen ostriches and windmills. He is a minor celebrity in Norway. He can cope with the cold, rain, wind and the sun.

And..........................Badger travels again! I might not be going a second time around but Badger is. He has joined Dagma and is doing the adventure all over again. We both had to ask him. He will be going to live beside Lake Constance when his journey is over. Unless, of course, but then a third time may be too much.

As for my adventure, my story is not over so please keep watching.

Saturday, 3 July 2010


Holland is my last country on this challenge and is fun too. Everyone is so friendly. There have been lots of dykes to cycle along as well viewing the countryside and villages. Sheep graze the dykes and love to sit on the road. We have to navigate around extensive sheep poo at times. We are still cycling along the Wadden Sea and birds are still here in large numbers. Today we cycled the Zirder Zee, 20 miles of road in the sea! Here is Dagmar pedalling away

I have seen windmills throughout Denmark, Germany and Holland. Badger has heard of them and thought they were dangerous. He is much happier now to have seen them

There is a rumour here that The North Sea has put in a takeover bid for the English Channel. Apparantly this may have something to do with making the Cycle Route longer. This must be resisted.
My bike lost a bolt yesterday. Do you like my improvised repair? It has lasted 72 miles so far.

I have seen so many people cycling on my trip. At times, bikes outnumber cars. Kids cycle to school in Norway and Sweden. People go to the beach in Germany on them. In Holland they go shopping with them. In Denmark, they just go for tours. They are strange looking bikes and I have never seen them in Britain.
Mostly they have 3 gears. This seems to be the uses: 1 - Wind behind you, 2 - no wind, 3 - headwind. Supermarkets have rows of bike racks by their entrances. I cannot find any bike racks at Tesco in Ivybridge but Tesco in Inverness has three. The bike below is very old but the new bikes look the same. Some have very comfy saddles and others have upright bars to rest on while you are cycling

Tomorrow starts a big push to reach Hook of Holland. The weather forecast is good. My crank bearing still works. Despite the fact the journey was supposed to be 3,629 miles, I have now done 3,654 miles so far and am still going.

Thursday, 1 July 2010


The temperature has gradually been rising over the last few days so that it is now very hot. I am still carrying my wet and cold weather clothing from the first part of my journey. It is cooler to be cycling than resting. Dagmar and I are both cycling to Hook of Holland together and to overcome the heat, we have taken to cafe stops. Here is Dagmar in between cafe stops.

I have not appreciated cafe stops previously in the way I do now. We have joined in conversations with others, people watched and simply chilled out. I was fascinated by this statue outside one cafe and had long discussions with some Dutch at another.

This is Greetseil, one of my last places in Germany which was picture post card perfect. It sits in harmony with a dyke.

This lighthouse has not yet reached maturity and almost joins my set of toytown pictures.

Dagmar says she is worried about not meeting people and asked if I ever had low points. I have had no low points and based on my experience she will meet lots of interesting people. In Scotland, she will meet End To Enders (Lands End to John O Groats). In Norway and Sweden she will meet the crazy ones cycling strange journeys. They will be the ones with monster rigs and going not just on my route but to North Cape, Poland, Iceland and longer. She must stop and exchange experiences and plans. There will be Kiwis, Aussies, Europians of all countries, Norwegians who are curious as well as being manic cyclists and others. Her partner, Stefan is joining her in Sweden. Like me, she has her laptop and what modern cyclist doesn't?
My crank still makes its unnerving noise but it has been doing so since Norway. I have made no plans to change it............