Devon Coast-to-Coast Cycle Ride

When: 27-28 July 2002

Who: Julian Foad, Jay Foad, Mark Bailey

How far: 130 miles


This tiny selection of photos shows approximately none of the gruelling journey.  The starting point on the North coast was Ilfracombe, but the nearest station was Barnstaple so we began with a ten mile ride over a big hill to get there.  The sky was overcast but quite bright, and one or two breaks in the cloud were just appearing as we caught first sight of the sea (unlike the stormy look of the photo).

1IlfracombeApproach.JPG

The small beach at Ilfracombe was fairly packed with families expecting the hottest weekend of the year, but most of the coast was dramatic rock outcrops and lots of green slime, so the only other thing the people could do was to mill around the bucket-and-spade shops and get in the way of cyclists.

2IlfracombeSeaside.JPG

We could see a large mass of land across the sea, which must have been Wales, where the ferry was going.

3IlfracombeFerry.JPG

We had a quick look around and a bit of food and water, and moved out, following the actual coast-to-coast route at last.  Each massive descent into a coastal village had to be paid for with a long, slow climb so that we began to begrudge the all-too-rapid downhill bits.  Then we followed the Tarka Trail along a former railway track with a moderate but steady gradient, back into Barnstaple.  We stopped for another snack outside the station, and I announced that we were back where we'd come from, but Jay didn't recognise it and, after a brief investigation, found it to be the old station.  Of course, we'd been following the path of the old railway.

4BarnstapleFoodStop.JPG

There's a big gap in the middle ...

... and then we got to Plymouth.  The last train back to Reading had already left, so we stayed the night there.

5PlymouthHarbour.JPG

6PlymouthWhatsit.JPG

Off to the station in the morning, to arrive at work at mid-day, still in shorts and T-shirt.

7PlymouthSundial.JPG

The end.


JAF monogram Copyright: text © Julian Foad, 2002; photographs © Julian Foad, 2002.