Wednesday, 31 October 2012


30 Cyclists were attracted to the small town of Ivybridge to take part in a family ride on the edge of Dartmoor for Sustrans.  I was the organiser and there were 5 other volunteers together with a representative from Sustrans.

There was a choice of three routes, 10.5, 15 and 22 miles.  The scenery was classic edge of Dartmoor.  We cycled on quiet roads along hidden river valleys, through ancient woods, passing old farms and on the longer routes we had good views of the high moors.  Both sexes were well represented with children of all ages.

One family who took part were on holiday and wanted someone else to do the organising.  Another were worried about traffic and supported Sustrans work for cycling on quiet roads.  Some of the children looked to be future athletes.

The ride was supported by Big Peaks of Ashburton who came with a repair van and tell me that they intend to stock Sustrans maps in their shop shortly

Saturday, 13 October 2012


Cram-Chaban is a commune in the Charente district of France.  It is 30km inland from La Rochelle in an area best known for its marshes, canals and picturesque houses.

It has a rustic air of gentle decay where many people have dogs and chickens.  As I cycled out of the village, my way was partly blocked by a farmer in a smart modern tractor talking to another wearing waist high waders that were held up by braces and clearly far too large for him.

The sun was warm and I wanted to know why he was wearing waders.  Much to my frustration, my question was unanswered partly because he was too busy with his discussion and partly due to my lack of speaking French.

The winding road took me through gentle countryside where most of the arable fields had been cropped.  However some maize and sunflower crops were still standing withered and dying, something else that puzzled me.

At my next village, I passed two tower windmills and came to the pharmacie where three people were talking and passing the time of day.  Two girls ambled slowly past me carrying bagettes under their arms.  On my way back I crossed a canal and a slow flowing river.  As I entered Chaban from the opposite direction, dogs barked and chickens ran around in small paddocks clucking.  Many houses had their shutters closed.  Tomatoes were still growing and autumn flowers were out.

As I went into our cottage, a mouse scuttled out and it did not seem out of place here.