Devon and Cornwall.

Discussion in 'UK and Europe' started by GearóId Ó Laoi/, Oct 31, 2003.

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  1. I recently did a tour of these counties with my wife. We had wonderful weather and a marvellous
    holiday. The people were very nice and the food and accommodation excellent, though accommodation
    is expensive in England. We started in Plymouth, went down to South Hams area, through Salcombe,
    above it, to Kingsbridge, up through Dartmoor to Tavistock, to North Coast, along bike trails, to
    Padstow, then along more bike trails, to Land's end, back to Plymouth via St.Mawes, Penzance and
    other places.

    A word of warning to anyone who's thinking of this.

    The terrain is FIERCE. The hardest I've ever come across in more than 40 tours. In Devon you have
    multiple severe gradients all day, 15% or more is common, and we had to walk three hills which were
    unridable to the ordinary man. 30% was marked on 2. You should get a minimum gear of 22x28 for this
    terrain in my opinion and it would be easier if you had front panniers to stop your front wheel
    coming up.

    Another thing, odd missing or confusing signs means you must also have the detailed ordnance
    survey maps.
     
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  2. Mark Burch

    Mark Burch Guest

    > A word of warning to anyone who's thinking of this.
    >
    > The terrain is FIERCE. The hardest I've ever come across in more than 40 tours. In Devon you have
    > multiple severe gradients all day, 15% or more is common, and we had to walk three hills which
    > were unridable to the
    ordinary
    > man. 30% was marked on 2. You should get a minimum gear of 22x28 for this terrain in my
    > opinion and
    it
    > would be easier if you had front panniers to stop your front wheel coming up.

    It's great if you live here in Cornwall. Tours out of county are a doddle.

    Mark Burch
     
  3. Garry Broad

    Garry Broad Guest

    On Sat, 25 Oct 2003 08:34:00 +0100, "Gearóid Ó Laoi/Garry Lee" <[email protected]> wrote:

    >I recently did a tour of these counties with my wife. We had wonderful weather and a marvellous
    >holiday. The people were very nice and the food and accommodation excellent, though accommodation
    >is expensive in England. We started in Plymouth, went down to South Hams area, through Salcombe,
    >above it, to Kingsbridge, up through Dartmoor to Tavistock, to North Coast, along bike trails, to
    >Padstow, then along more bike trails, to Land's end, back to Plymouth via St.Mawes, Penzance and
    >other places.
    >
    >A word of warning to anyone who's thinking of this.
    >
    >The terrain is FIERCE. The hardest I've ever come across in more than 40 tours. In Devon you have
    >multiple severe gradients all day, 15% or more is common, and we had to walk three hills which were
    >unridable to the ordinary man. 30% was marked on 2. You should get a minimum gear of 22x28 for this
    >terrain in my opinion and it would be easier if you had front panniers to stop your front wheel
    >coming up.
    >
    >Another thing, odd missing or confusing signs means you must also have the detailed ordnance
    >survey maps.

    Glad you had a good time, nice part of the world down there, and I hope you had a few beers too.

    Garryb
     
  4. Tony R

    Tony R Guest

    "Gearóid Ó Laoi/Garry Lee" <[email protected]> wrote in message
    news:[email protected]...
    > I recently did a tour of these counties with my wife. We had wonderful weather and a marvellous
    > holiday. The people were very nice and the food
    and
    > accommodation excellent, though accommodation is expensive in England. We started in Plymouth,
    > went down to South Hams area, through Salcombe, above it, to Kingsbridge, up through Dartmoor to
    > Tavistock, to North
    Coast,
    > along bike trails, to Padstow, then along more bike trails, to Land's end, back to Plymouth via
    > St.Mawes, Penzance and other places.
    >
    > A word of warning to anyone who's thinking of this.
    >
    > The terrain is FIERCE. The hardest I've ever come across in more than 40 tours. In Devon you have
    > multiple severe gradients all day, 15% or more is common, and we had to walk three hills which
    > were unridable to the
    ordinary
    > man. 30% was marked on 2. You should get a minimum gear of 22x28 for this terrain in my
    > opinion and
    it
    > would be easier if you had front panniers to stop your front wheel coming up.

    I was down that way this summer and agree entirely. My route across Cornwall seemed worse than the
    one across Devon though. It was the relentless procesion of short but steep climbs that I found so
    draining. I took a wrong turn at one point and a few metres down a steep valley side saw a sign
    telling me I was heading towards a place called Herodsfoot; foolishly I continued. Also the
    pasties were divine with the result that I can't touch the crap we get fobbed off with hereabouts
    anymore. tony R.
     
  5. Vernon Levy

    Vernon Levy Guest

    > A word of warning to anyone who's thinking of this.
    >
    > The terrain is FIERCE. The hardest I've ever come across in more than 40 tours. In Devon you have
    > multiple severe gradients all day, 15% or more is common, and we had to walk three hills which
    > were unridable to the
    ordinary
    > man. 30% was marked on 2.

    I spent a fortnight in Dorset and Cornwall on the annual family holiday and I took my bike with me
    to get some cycling in to limber up for the C2C that I intended to do later. Dorset was rolling
    hills and Cornwall was bloody vicious in comparison making me much fitter than I needed to be and I
    polished of the C2C in a couple of days though Crawleyside bank at Stanhope was a reminder of the
    pain I'd suffered in Cornwall.

    Vernon resting on his laurels in Leeds
     
  6. I did have a few beers and they were excellente. The St.Austell I found particularly good.
     
  7. Nick Kew

    Nick Kew Guest

    In article <[email protected]>, one of infinite monkeys at the keyboard of "Gearóid Ó
    Laoi/Garry Lee" <[email protected]> wrote:
    > I recently did a tour of these counties with my wife. We had wonderful weather and a marvellous
    > holiday. The people were very nice and the food and accommodation excellent, though accommodation
    > is expensive in England.

    We have a mix: there are tourist traps and real bargains. Glad to hear your tour went well.

    > A word of warning to anyone who's thinking of this.
    >
    > The terrain is FIERCE.

    Hehe! ISTR the south coast of Ireland being "interesting", too. And the most challenging rides of
    all are those with *sustained* steep terrain, which are necessarily limited in England by the
    absence of higher roads. I know many Alpine roads manage to keep the gradients more gentle, but in
    the Black Forest and in central Italy I've encountered hills where a steep gradient is sustained
    over longer distances.

    > The hardest I've ever come across in more than 40 tours. In Devon you have multiple severe
    > gradients all day, 15% or more is common, and we had to walk three hills which were
    > unridable to the ordinary man. 30% was marked on 2.

    Hey, are you trying to make my regular everyday journeys seem like hard work? I bet my supermarket
    shopping is heavier than your camping gear:) It's only three steep hills (two down, one up) from
    here to my nearest town - Tavistock (and a river to ford if I take the scenic route to the western
    end of town).

    > You should get a minimum gear of 22x28 for this terrain in my opinion and it would be easier if
    > you had front panniers to stop your front wheel coming up.

    Gears are an individual thing. I first toured the area (with touring gear) on 30/24 bottom gear,
    IIRC. The steepest hills have the redeeming feature of being relatively short, while the longer ones
    (eg heart of Dartmoor) are less steep. I do sometimes get off for the uphills when off-road, but the
    only stretch of road I usually get off for is actually a downhill.

    > Another thing, odd missing or confusing signs means you must also have the detailed ordnance
    > survey maps.

    And that from an Irishman:) Where were the signs problematic?

    --
    Axis of Evil: Whose economy needs ever more wars? Arms Exports $bn: USA 14.2, UK 5.1, vs France 1.5,
    Germany 0.8 (The Economist, July 2002)
     
  8. Gearóid Ó Laoi/Garry Lee wrote:

    > I recently did a tour of these counties with my wife. We had wonderful weather and a marvellous
    > holiday. The people were very nice and the food and accommodation excellent, though accommodation
    > is expensive in England. We started in Plymouth, went down to South Hams area, through Salcombe,
    > above it, to Kingsbridge, up through Dartmoor to Tavistock, to North Coast, along bike trails, to
    > Padstow, then along more bike trails, to Land's end, back to Plymouth via St.Mawes, Penzance and
    > other places.

    Did you do the B-road descent from Princetown to Tavistock? That's good for 72mph according to
    someone in St Budeaux CC.
     
  9. > Hehe! ISTR the south coast of Ireland being "interesting", too.
    Not the same degree of steepness. I've toured all of the Irish Coast from Wexford to Malin Head,
    practically.

    > And the most challenging rides of all are those with *sustained* steep terrain, which are
    > necessarily limited in England by the absence of higher roads. I know many Alpine roads manage to
    > keep the gradients more gentle, but in the Black Forest and in central Italy I've encountered
    > hills where a steep gradient is sustained over longer distances.
    >
    I've not been in the Black Forest and I'm told it's fierce, but I have cycled the Dolomites and in
    particular the Pso di Giao near Cortina was ferocious. Two of my friends walked. Mind you it was 33C
    at the time.

    > > The hardest I've ever come across in more than 40 tours. In Devon you have multiple severe
    > > gradients all day, 15% or more
    is
    > > common, and we had to walk three hills which were unridable to the
    ordinary
    > > man. 30% was marked on 2.
    > town - Tavistock (and a river to ford if I take the scenic route to the western end of town).
    Very hilly around Tavistock. Had my lunch there in a caff in the market. Very good and nice town.

    > > Another thing, odd missing or confusing signs means you must also have
    the
    > > detailed ordnance survey maps.
    >
    > And that from an Irishman:) Where were the signs problematic?

    Well I freely admit that you have a lot more signs than we have BUT

    1. on cycle route 3 into Redruth from west came to a T junction, no sign at all (I spot everything).
    Guessed right and left. Nothing. Had to do a lot of enquiring.

    2. On cycle route into Redruth from east, a junction with three routes for cycle route 3 indicated.

    3. On South coast somewhere to east of St.Mawes, a junction with three indicated routes.

    Various routes indicated should have some indication of where each is going.

    4. On Bodmin Moor a junction with no indication at all. Guessed correctly.

    The Cycle routes are really excellent but you MUST have the maps as well.

    I've cycled a bit in Germany on their Radwegs (cycle routes) and they have similar occasional
    defects. Britain is prettier than Germany, but some German towns are stunners.
     
  10. Nick Kew

    Nick Kew Guest

    In article <[email protected]>, one of infinite monkeys
    at the keyboard of Zog The Undeniable <[email protected]> wrote:

    > Did you do the B-road descent from Princetown to Tavistock? That's good for 72mph according to
    > someone in St Budeaux CC.

    I expect your friend has an optimistic speedo coupled with an optimistic imagination. And if he's
    old enough to have cycled it in pre-modern- traffic-level[1] times, he should be old enough to
    know better:)

    72Km/h - yes, that's realistic if you trust the good sense of the sheep.

    My guess would be that the spot he has in mind is the steep descent to the Walkham river - which is
    followed by a steep (though shorter) uphill. It's also a rather busy point with a pub, several
    paths, and a level of activity that makes it hairy even at the legal limit of (IIRC) 40MPH

    [1] especially of the ovine kind

    --
    Axis of Evil: Whose economy needs ever more wars? Arms Exports $bn: USA 14.2, UK 5.1, vs France 1.5,
    Germany 0.8 (The Economist, July 2002)
     
  11. Not sure but it was a steep road into Tavistock. Very steep
     
  12. Nick Kew wrote:

    > I expect your friend has an optimistic speedo coupled with an optimistic imagination. And if he's
    > old enough to have cycled it in pre-modern- traffic-level[1] times, he should be old enough to
    > know better:)

    The Merrivale-Tavistock bit just after the cattle grid (hence no sheep) is wide, well surfaced and
    with gentle bends. It's not unusually steep but it gets one chevron on the OS map. I've done 56mph
    down there [1] and I calibrated the computer carefully with a "rollout" before doing
    it. Unfortunately I caught a Land Rover and had the brakes on for the second half of the descent,
    but I was still accelerating up to that point. I would have gone round again for another go,
    but it's a fearsome climb with only a 21T sprocket and it would have sapped too much energy
    for a good flying start on the descent.

    I once got 54mph out of the mountain bike (on knobblies, no less) down Forder Valley in Plymouth,
    which is a 1 in 7. There are traffic lights at the bottom, which gives ample opportunity to test
    your brakes and/or tyres if they happen to be red.

    Yes, I am insane ;-)

    [1] with tri-bars and a Unidisc cover (not made anymore AFAIK) on the rear wheel to cut the
    drag a bit
     
  13. I and a friend once did 45 mph on a long descent in County Cork on early heavy MTBs with knobblies.
    This is about a 7% gradient but we had a galeforce wind at our backs. There were sheep running
    across the road and my mate said (he is mad and English, facts not connected by the way!) "if I hit
    one, I'm going through him"
     
  14. Peter B

    Peter B Guest

    "Gearóid Ó Laoi/Garry Lee" <[email protected]> wrote in message
    news:[email protected]...
    > I and a friend once did 45 mph on a long descent in County Cork on early heavy MTBs with
    > knobblies.

    We can hit 42mph dropping into Hayfield (Peak District) freewheeling on fat knobblied mtbs . IME
    it's not just the gradient that counts but also the duration of it to allow time to wind up.

    Pete
     
  15. I certainly is the distance as well.

    I've come across three exceptionally fast stretches in my time, long smooth and straight. I've hit
    51 on two but chickened out going faster as it scares the hell out of me.

    1. West of Pamplona there's a drop down from a pass on the main road, which is superb. With guts,
    you could do 55 I think. I did 51 with panniers (they slow you down, experts say)

    2.A long descent from the South into Trentino in Italy. Goes through a tunnel. I did 50. A friend
    did 56. I could have gone faster but had a nervous light friend in front of me and couldn't
    overtake him.

    3. A short straight very steep descent somewhere north of Barcelona towards the Pyrenees. Can't
    remember where but did 51 not holding back. (with panniers).
     
  16. Ian

    Ian Guest

    Gearóid Ó Laoi/Garry Lee must be edykated coz e writed:

    > I certainly is the distance as well.
    >
    > I've come across three exceptionally fast stretches in my time, long smooth and straight. I've hit
    > 51 on two but chickened out going faster as it scares the hell out of me.
    >
    > 1. West of Pamplona there's a drop down from a pass on the main road, which is superb. With guts,
    > you could do 55 I think. I did 51 with panniers (they slow you down, experts say)
    >
    > 2.A long descent from the South into Trentino in Italy. Goes through a tunnel. I did 50. A friend
    > did 56. I could have gone faster but had a nervous light friend in front of me and couldn't
    > overtake him.
    >
    > 3. A short straight very steep descent somewhere north of Barcelona towards the Pyrenees. Can't
    > remember where but did 51 not holding back. (with panniers).
    >
    >
    On a recumbent I regularly do 45mph on a hill in town, in the nice empty buss lane of course, 60mph
    is easy enough on other hills, faired makes 70 possible, speed is just the norm on the dark side.

    --
    Ian

    http://www.catrike.co.uk
     
  17. Peter B

    Peter B Guest

    "Ian" <[email protected]> wrote in message news:BBC28CC2.154D6%[email protected]...
    > On a recumbent I regularly do 45mph on a hill in town, in the nice empty buss lane of course,
    > 60mph is easy enough on other hills, faired makes 70 possible, speed is just the norm on the
    > dark side.

    That must be quite a buzz. One day........

    Pete
     
  18. You should have tried the Exmoor Gold .. fabulous

    I think that Sainsbury's and Waitrose do it in bottles....

    BTW: if anyone wants to buy a house in Tavistock to make weekend cycling on Dartmoor easier, let me
    know.... I've a house for sale.

    I trained for 9 weeks in Devon this summer before 'doing Ventoux'. the hills here helped!

    "Gearóid Ó Laoi/Garry Lee" <[email protected]> wrote in message
    news:[email protected]...
    > I did have a few beers and they were excellente. The St.Austell I found particularly good.
     
  19. Those high speeds would only be possible on a recumbent.
     
  20. Mseries

    Mseries Guest

    Peter B wrote:
    > "Gearóid Ó Laoi/Garry Lee" <[email protected]> wrote in message
    > news:[email protected]...
    >> I and a friend once did 45 mph on a long descent in County Cork on early heavy MTBs with
    >> knobblies.
    >
    > We can hit 42mph dropping into Hayfield (Peak District) freewheeling on fat knobblied mtbs . IME
    > it's not just the gradient that counts but also the duration of it to allow time to wind up.
    >
    > Pete

    Of course, it you want to get a high top speed you have to try. I have attained my highest speeds by
    pedalling the big gears for as long as I can from as soon as I can to give me time to get to the
    maximum before having to brake for a corner. 49 mph on the Derbyshire side of Holme Moss, 56mph on
    the Luz St Savour side of the Col du Tourmalet. Both times needed fast pedalling start and tight
    aero tuck, chin or neck on the handlebars once the gears became too low.

    --
    The Reply & From email addresses are checked rarely.
     
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