Sunday, 29 December 2013

21,000 MILES

My bike completed 21,000 miles this evening. Fittingly the odometer clicked over as I pulled into my house drive after dark.
My wife bought the bike for me on 29 September 2007 as a birthday present. She had watched me riding around Dartmoor on my old mountain bike with stubby tyres, then saw me complete my first 100 mile challenge when I finished an hour behind everyone else. She detected my ambition to do more touring cycling and decided the mountain bike was no good.
For several days we went around various bike shops but it was when we met Phil Hoggard of Big Peaks at Ashburton that I knew that we had found the right bike. I have since found that Phil's knowledge and help is invaluable. He is the best bloke I have met.

In the time since my wife gave it to me, this bike has received more punishment than most bikes could cope with. It is a cyclocross made in USA and adopted for touring with heavy tyres. Of course it has seen lots of roads but the ruggedness stands with plenty of load carrying, off road cycling, river crossings, abnormal weather, etc. It has been completely reliable when needed. It is just as happy carrying a full load of shopping as with taking me for a fortnight with all my gear into the Scottish Highlands. Of course it needs servicing. Phil is amazed at how many brake pads I go through, yet the bike has had only two punctures in 21,000 miles and no spokes break at all. For the technically minded the tyres are Bontrager H2 and wheels Trek Race.

My first big ride was lejog and I went through Ireland, cycling 1,050 miles altogether. My bike has enabled me to discover lots of favourite places, many of which I have put into this blog.
Where next? The weather forecast is a bit wild for the next few days but during 2014 I hope to travel through southern France, Spain, go back to Scotland and revisit some of Wales

Saturday, 14 December 2013


My first ride in December took me around Bradford on Avon, Corsham, Melksham and along the tow path of the Kennet and Avon Canal, also NCN 4 of the National Cycle Network. Imagine my surprise at finding 150 Santa's coming the other way at Avoncliff Aqueduct.

A few days later, the evening was mild and I felt a bike ride coming on. The Dartmoor Way is close to my home. I wondered if I could find some Christmas lights if I took this route. The whole cycle route offers a 95 mile circular tour of Dartmoor and there are extra routes crossing the high moor in the centre. My short night journey took me across the valleys of Rivers Erme and Yealm, very interesting and slightly spooky at night. I passed the ancient church in Harford, cycled through some woodlands and passed several moorland farms. These are a few images from my journey:

This is the link for The Dartmoor Way. You can also follow me on Twitter.  Happy Christmas