"I never knew some of those hills existed and will be using this as a great training ride" said Shaun. Adrian added "We really enjoyed the group ride. It's good to join up with people and follow a trail because it pushes us, the kids, to stretch that little bit further, without giving up and turning back." These were participants on one of three community group rides on the National Cycle Network that I helped to organize earlier this year for PL21 Transition Town and Sustrans.
There are 10,000 miles of roads in Devon. This is enough to cycle from Lands End to John O' Groats ten times. We cycled 24 miles in our morning's rides.
There are big hills in Devon that test top cyclists like Chris Froome and Lizzie Armitstead. Our riders aged between 11 and 81 were tested too and climbed hills totaling 800m with steepest at 20%.
Mostly Devon has quiet little lanes, ideal for happy cycling. This was entirely true on our events.
The Dartmoor Way is a challenging route 95 miles long that Shaun cycled twice after his ride. Our group rides were on the southern fringes and all three were fully booked before the starts. As luck would have it, one was cancelled because of heavy rain but the weather was ideal on the other two. The organizers pledged to cycle at an easy pace with a back up car just in case anyone's legs gave out and I think that this was one of the attractions
This is one of Dartmoor's ancient farms.
We stop to look over Dartmoor's rolling landscape
The lady in this image seems to have a sheep on her back as she set off on this long downhill. There are plenty of sheep on Dartmoor and I wondered if this one had hitched a lift?
There is an ice cream van in the background. It is another 7 miles before we can have a pasty.
We make it. There are smiles at South Brent on our route back to Ivybridge
This is what I think cycling is all about. It is being out in the fresh air in wild places. There is no reason to hurry. Two of the best things are food on route whether it is a pasty or a cream tea and a pint of cider when I get home. I hope to help organize more rides like this next year