John Burgess, Roger Saunders, Tony Peek and Steve Carpenter were the 4 cyclists from Honiton Spinners who attempted the Devon coast to coast route from Plymouth to Ilfracombe on Sunday 25th September. A massive thank you for Mark Griffin without whom the ride would not have happened. He was our minibus driver for the whole day. Collected by him at 7am with the bikes loaded with gear it was off to Plymouth. They were dropped off as near to the route start as possible, all they had to do was follow the route 27 signs with a backup GPS on the Garmin and a map. What could possibly go wrong! As they were about to set off a cry was heard from John Burgess. Oh no ‘ I’ve forgotten my helmet and gloves!! ‘ Hhhmmm drive back for the helmet or ride without. Without it was.
They started following the route 27 signs and within 3 miles had gone wrong. They ended up on a trail only fit for MTBs which they had to walk down steps carrying our bikes. Once back on the trail it was over to Yelverton for the 1st pit stop. From Yelverton they followed the route to Tavistock. What should have been easy turned into another drama until they found the signs out of Tavistock going in the right direction towards Peter Tavy. Now this is where they really went wrong. To be fair the signs were rubbish at this point, or should we say hidden? They were meant to have taken an off-road section but missed it and went up a long climb of 2 miles before deciding to return back down to Peter Tavy again delaying them. This time they turned into the pub car park -no not there. Try what looked like a private drive? Yes, another 30 yards and there was the route again. So we following this gravel path which got very rough with big stones before they were forced to get off and carry our bikes again for a short distance. Finally, they got to Griff at Mary Tavy for a pit stop with food, water and refreshments. From here it was more straightforward to Okehampton. However, this did take them up over Brentor and down into Lydford and more climbing before getting onto the Granite Way cycle route to Okehampton. Here they had an unplanned coffee and cake stop which was gratefully received by most. However, within a mile they hit a 16% climb on legs that really did not thank us for the coffee stop. From Okehampton they made their way to Hatherleigh where they met Mark once more. It was here that Steve decided to stop and get on the bus ending his day’s ride. Here they also made the decision that they would call it a day either at the Puffing Billy near Gt Torrington or a 5pm cut off. It was just a case of 9 miles until they joined the famous Tarka Trail, but this 9 mile ride seemed so hilly, they climbed and then climbed some more and even Tony had to walk. Finally joining the Tarka Trail only to find out to Roger’s horror that it was still a gradual climb of about 3% for probably 3 miles. But this did mean they finished on a slight descent to the Puffing Billy. The ride was 71 miles with 5000 ft of climbing and most of it was very scenic on dedicated cycle trails and would be worth revisiting again next year.