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Tuesday 18th September 2007: “Deflating Somerset”

I have always been a fan of Somerset, I even wrote a dissertation about a small part of it for my degree, but after riding through it by bike I am no longer a fan of its road network.

Shortly after leaving Bristol in the morning the ride became marred by mechanical problems. Not only was the chain behaving badly that day, I suffered three punctures in quick succession and realised after the second one that the roads had shredded my rear tyre. By now I was getting very low on inner tubes (and very fast at fixing punctures having bought tyre jacks earlier that day) so I set my sights on reaching Taunton and buying a stronger rear tyre. I had to walk the last mile to the bike shop as the third and final puncture of the day occurred on the outskirts of the town. Needless to say, all of this was quite demoralising.

Once the tyre had been fixed the ride into Devon was quite pleasant but gradually became more challenging as I started to encounter its notorious hills. I passed a couple of interesting villages on the way including one called “Dog Village”, which may make childish readers like myself giggle.

When I reached Exeter in the evening I felt pretty good; my legs were no longer as sore as they had been earlier in the week and the bike was working well. So I set myself the ambitious target of reaching Land’s End by the following evening, knowing that some cyclists have managed this feat in the past. Little did I know what the hills and wind of Devon had in store for me the following day…

Ride Statistics

Started: 10:00 hours
Finished: 20:30 hours
Distance: 87.57 miles
Cycling time: 7 hours 42 minutes
Top speed: 31.0 mph
Average speed: 11.3 mph
Odometer: 800.8 miles

Bristol City Centre
One of the stranger sights of Somerset
A sign to Dog Village
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Copyright © John Collins