Wednesday, 26 September 2012


My waterproofs were severely tested last weekend ........ and failed.  My friend, Jaana, and myself had planned a trip that crossed the Somerset Levels (easy but very picturesque ride), through Bristol and over the Severn Bridge to as far as we could reach in Wales on Monday.

My luck ran out with the weather.  Having had a charmed existance on my bike rides this year despite the dreadful summer, time ran out on Sunday.  We met at Taunton on Saturday and the weather was glorious.  After 12 miles on a canal tow path, we cycled on little lanes through unspoilt villages across an area of wetlands that contains no less than 32 SSSI with hosts of wildlife.

Jaana and I just enjoyed an easy day cycling 46 miles to Weston where we stopped overnight.  The forecast for Sunday was 60mph gales and heavy rain, except strangely where it was light rain where we had just come from.  Reappraising our journey over breakfast , Wales was abandoned and we chose an alternative route back to Taunton.

The gales did not happen but there was plenty of rain.  My Gore-tex jacket that has served me so well has since been waterproofed and gloves disposed of as not fit for purpose. 

Sunday, 9 September 2012


Dagmar lives by Lake Konstanz in S.E. Germany.  The last time we cycled together was on the North Sea Cycle Route in 2010.  I had already cycled 3,000 miles and reached Wilhelmshaven in Germany.  Dagmar had set off 2 days previously on the same route starting in Hamburg. My maps in Germany were excellent but Dagmar saw me puzzling where to go and stopped.  We just seemed to fall in with one another.  We peddled together to the end of my journey at Harwich and then Dagmar took off cycling up the North Sea Coastline for her adventure.

At Harwich, I gave my mascot, Badger, to Dagmar.  This was the first Badger ever to go around the coastline of the North Sea but this Badger did it twice.

Two years later, Dagmar comes to visit me and brings her German made Birdy bike and Badger.  We plan to cycle around West Cornwall.  Dagmar asks if there are any hills.  I reply that it is not possible to cycle in South West England without finding some hills.  She asks if they are as high as the Alps where she lives and I reply that they are not.

I am now getting used to seeing baby bikes doing big journeys.  Last year Andy bought his Bike Friday here which is the American equivalent of a Birdy and then went off to Thailand with it.

West Cornwall is completely different to Lake Konstanz.  A dense sea mist on Tuesday prevented us from seeing the grand coastline from Penzance to Lands End and St Ives but Dagmar could still experience the little harbours and tin mines as we cycled by.  The following two days changed to warm welcoming sunshine.

We crossed over to the south coast stopping at Godolphin House on route.  This is one of Cornwall's oldest houses and had an open day as it has been converted by the National Trust into a holiday home.  We passed through Falmouth, crossed the estuary over to St Mawes and peddled alongside the coast to finish at St Austell.  This landscape is full with fine beaches, tiny villages and beautiful countryside.

At the end of our journey, Dagmar's satnav recorded that we had cycled 110 miles and climbed 2,575 metres.  I asked how this compared with the Alps.  Dagmar said the Cornish hills are much tougher to climb than the Alps. I believe this?  I will find out in 2013 as I have been invited for a return visit.