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Now retired but busy still living..

Monday, 24 August 2020

Walking instead of cycling......

 A short walk that Peter and I did the other week when he stayed with us was around the Burrator Reservoir....

Usually over our winters spent here I have used the circuit around the reservoir as a cycling time trial route... Each circuit is 4 miles in length so ten laps gives me a nice round 40 miles. Add to that the 3 miles warm up from the site to the reservoir and a slightly meandering 7 mile route back to the caravan site and that all adds up to a nice 50 mile morning ride with each lap racing against my own times...

This time though I was walking instead of cycling and I was really surprised at how much more I actually saw than when I have my head down on the bike.For instance I don't usually notice  things like the ruins of a Manor house.....a waterfall and some of the lovely views.....






Peter and I had a really enjoyable walk and it just goes to show that even when on a bike it might be a good idea to slow down sometimes and see a bit more of the area that you are cycling through..... 

It is easy to get caught up in training for the next sportive...time trial or hill climb and there is nothing wrong in that but it might just be an idea that once the event is over to go back and have a slower ride with time to stop and stare and take in a bit more of what the route has to offer.....

Changing the subject ..... I said in a previous post that I would keep you updated on the performance of the Kampa All Season Awning and Annexe.... Well last week we had a really un-seasonal storm...... Gale force winds in excess of 50 mph with torrential rain hit the site.

 My next door neighbour was up at 4am attempting to pack away a large gazebo which had been torn apart by the storm....... All his BBQ equipment was in it with bikes.... chairs etc. The structure ended up in the sites rubbish bins.

 Another caravanner on site was also up in the early hours  trying to dismantle his awning before it got ripped apart....  And our awning?? Well it survived the storm with hardly a murmur...... Just one peg had started to pop out but I was already aware that it was loose before the storm and had intended to replace it but had forgotten. The awning seemed to perform really well and had also proven to be pretty watertight as well. 

That was last week and tonight and tomorrow according to the forecast we are going to have it happen all over again.... Another storm is going to hit us and will be yet another test for the Kampa All Season awning. 

I will keep you updated on how it performs...........


Monday, 17 August 2020

Out on the moor.....

 Since my last post we have been quite busy compared to the quiet of lockdown...

 My daughter and her family were on holiday in Cornwall for a week and took the opportunity to visit us twice during their stay.... They experienced some of the steepest and narrowest lanes that Devon had to offer as they followed their car sat-nav from where they were staying to our site here in Devon.... My daughter is a very competent driver but she hated the hour long journey across to us and went back a different way ignoring the sat-nav this time. Their return journey was both quicker and stress free proving that there are times when it is better to ignore your sat -nav and use a map......

Although the weather wasn't perfect for their visits it was really good to see them again as apart from a flying visit to Bournemouth for a hospital appointment when I popped over to their house for a coffee ☕ and to pick up my Felt Bike we hadn't seen them since Christmas due to the pandemic...

This last week my mate Peter visited us..... He was originally going to cycle from Bournemouth to our site here near Yelverton but in the end he chose to let the train take the strain as it became obvious that he would have had insufficient time for the return trip and have a few nights here with us... 

 He has cycled to visit us on a number of occasions over the past five years during our travels visiting us in Suffolk... Lincolnshire.... Wiltshire and Somerset to name just a few places.... Last year he visited us when we were staying at the Cuckoo's Corner campsite near Hereford.....

It was great to see him again but as on this trip he didn't have his bike with him we had planned some walks out on the moor.... Peter and I have completed a lot of walking and backpacking trips over the past couple of decades including the Pennine Way. 

Our last backpacking trip together was actually here on Dartmoor when we did the so called Dartmoor Perambulation with other members of the Backpackers Club. During that trip we had a varied mix of weather which is quite normal for the Dartmoor area which I have said in previous posts seems to have it's own weather bubble...

This time the forecast for the week was for very hot weather and getting hotter as the week went on..... As it turned out that forecast was pretty accurate indeed the day we had chosen for our first walk 'Out on the Moor' turned out to be one of the hottest days of the year.... The walk was to include a visit to a remote waterfall and some standing stones, again in a remote area of the moor.... As it turned out we made it to the waterfall but due to the excessive heat making it very tough going we decided to cut the walk short and miss out the standing stones. The walk was taking us longer than we had expected and in the end our walking experience kicked in and making the decision to cut it short proved the right and sensible thing to do.....

I've posted an image below of Peter setting up his tent next to our caravan and some images from our walk 'Out on the moor'.











Wednesday, 5 August 2020

Fiona's first rides in Devon......



I mentioned in a previous post that I had now collected my Felt Bike (Fiona) from my daughter's in Dorset....

I had never ridden Fiona in Devon before because normally when we spend time in Devon it's usually over the winter season and I have Tiffany the Tifosi as my winter season ride. One of the main reasons of course is because Tiffany has mudguards (fenders) fitted and with slightly wider tyres etc is more suited to riding in the winter weather.

The pandemic changed a lot of our plans as it has done for a lot of people so it seemed a sensible idea that when I had to go back to Dorset for a medical appointment I picked up the Felt and brought it back down here to our pitch in Devon.
So currently I have two bikes down here.... The Tifosi I have fitted to the turbo so even when the weather is wet I can still manage to maintain my cycling fitness.

At the moment I am riding every other day either on the Tifosi  on the Turbo or on the Felt on the road....

Riding in Devon is totally different from riding in Dorset...... The lanes are narrower and the hills are generally steeper.... Also the weather around Dartmoor seems to have its own climate bubble... In one ride you can have Bright Sunshine.... Mist.. Wind and Rain all on a two hour ride.

The other day when I was riding along a hedge lined lane that was marked as being only seven feet wide I met a van followed by a lorry coming the other way.
 I had to dismount and literally bury myself into the hedge in order to allow them to pass. (The alternative would have been to have turned around and cycle two miles back down the lane). 
It was tight enough when the van slowly slipped past me but when the lorry went past there was literally only two inches to spare and that was with me forcing my back into the hedge as far as I could..... Luckily the hedge didn't have any brambles in it or it would have ripped some very expensive cycling kit to shreds......
 As I said a bit different from my rides in Dorset...

On another occasion I was cycling up a 13% hill on another narrow lane only to be met by a tractor coming down the hill. He filled the lane as did the van and lorry mentioned above. The tractor had some equipment on the back that seemed to consist of lots of spikes and blades.... This time I did turn around and cycle back down the hill...... 
Riding in Devon is certainly not straightforward and is very different from most other places that I have ridden in... 

When I cycled LEJOG some years ago it was agreed by all the team that the Devon section was the hardest of the whole trip.


At the top of this post are some classic 'bike lean' images taken on some of my recent rides on Fiona the Felt....











Even more in the locker...

 We now have even more meds in our top locker. The longer the treatment goes on the more meds I am taking .....  On Friday's and Saturda...