Biking in a Winter Wonderland

On Sunday, having finally cleaned my bike enough to
work, and fixed a puncture, I wanted to get out for a
ride. We’ve had tons of snow all over the UK in the
last week, which is rare for us. In Exeter, it’s mostly
disappeared, but I hoped that if I went to higher ground
I’d still be able to see lots of deep-lying snow.

The Back Garden

I chose to go to Woodbury Common. It’ a small area of
common a few miles outside Exeter, bordered by Budliegh
Salterton, Exmouth and Exeter. Sadly, preparing to set
off, I couldn’t find my winter gloves. So, rather
stupidly, I set off in a pair of jogging gloves.

It was a lovely ride, but sadly there wasn’t much snow
still on the ground. Apparently I’d chosen to go the
wrong way, seems there’s still lots of snow towards
Dartmoor. But cycling towards Woodbury Common you could
see the land rising up into low-lying cloud and
disappearing. It looked quite impressive.

Woodbury Fort

It wasn’t raining, although it did later, and it was a
delightful ride on quiet roads. It’s amazing that in an
area where I grew up, there are still little roads that
I’ve never noticed, never been down, and have no idea
where they go. There were some beautiful hills, and
some great place names like Colaton Raliegh and
Yettington.

A Wet & Rainy Yettington in Devon

When I’m researching our Chain Gang tours in France
and Italy, I follow just about every road, track and
path, and it’s very strange to think I know the back
roads of Tuscany and the Dordogne better than I know
Devon.

Sadly, on the way back from Exmouth it started raining,
and the jogging gloves, well I might as well have made
gloves out of toilet paper for all the use they were. I
was just losing heart, realising I was still at least 40
minutes from home. It was Sunday, so there are no cafes
open out in the sticks, but right on cue, out came the
sun. Woodbury Common looks over the Exe Estuary towards
Starcross, Dawlish and the Haldon Hills. The gleam off
the estuary was so bright I could hardly see, and it
really puts a spring into your pedalling.

The Sun Fighting Hard

Anyway, the only reason I’m writing about it is because
it was such a lovely ride. I got very cold, but I’m
going to go back to Yettington and Colaton Raliegh when
the sun’s shining. Treat my local area as seriously I
treat the Loire Valley, Umbria, etc.

Obviously I found my proper gloves, within about 10
seconds of getting home, but that was inevitable wasn’t
it?

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