DaExeterRide20090510

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Joint Axe Valley Pedallers and CTC Exeter Ride to Lyme Regis

Ride Report: Sunday 10th May 2009, Kirby James

Bluebells

In 2007 I went on my first trip with CTC Torbay to Brittany. As I didn’t know any of the Torbay crowd I latched onto the first group of cyclists I met. After a little while I discovered that they were in fact the Axe Valley Pedallers (AVP) who were on a mission to sell onions to the Bretons.

More bluebells

Before I could escape I was interrogated on the ins-and-outs of cycling in Exeter and it was suggested that we might have a joint ride sometime. After just two years we agreed a date when we could all meet up – AVP would be hosting us for a ‘bluebell ride’ from Seaton to Lyme Regis.

One of the Exeter group cycled from Exeter to the top of East Hill (well done Roy) to meet seven others – who had taken the easy option of driving there. We descended easily through Southleigh and skirted Colyton to arrive at the tram station in Seaton on the dot of 10. We wondered whether there would be anyone there. In fact in the car park there were six more cyclists from Exeter – but an amazing twenty seven from the Axe Valley. We were welcomed by Alistair Cope who had been making the ride arrangements.

Forty one cyclists at the start


Bluebells again

After a photo the large group snaked out of Seaton to head north to Musbury. AVP are exceedingly well organised and stopped the traffic so we could safely cross the busy A3052 coast road and at each junction an AVP cyclist indicated the direction to take.

Assembling for the return

After Musbury the climbing began – on the adjacent wooded slopes there were tons of bluebells – and many of us were surprised to see an open north-facing slope covered with them as well. We skirted Woodhouse Hill and then descended through Uplyme to re-group in the centre of Lyme.

Here we were given an unexpected two hours to have coffee, lunch and to explore the town and sea front (I think this was a miscalculation resulting from a recent AVP trip to France). The wind had dropped and the sun came out so after stripping down to shorts and donning hats and sun cream we explored what Lyme has to offer. Most people ate sandwiches but I did notice that a number of the group patronised an expensive looking restaurant.

Climbing above Shapwick Grange Farm
Climbing above Shapwick Grange Farm

At 1:30 we rendezvoused for the return trip. On the way back we passed under the concrete viaduct which carried the Axminter-Lyme rail link, then passed through Rousden to begin the 500 foot descent to Seaton. The gradient on much of the descent is perfect – no need to pedal or brake. All the way back we were again expertly marshalled.

In no time at all we were back at the old bridge over the Axe for a final rendezvous. CTC Exeter are very grateful to the Axe Valley Pedallers and especially to Alistair Cope for a brilliantly organised ride – with perfect weather and excellent company. One small problem though - no attempt appeared to be made to sell fossils or Dorset apple cake to the good people of Lyme. Maybe AVP are losing the plot?

Climbing above Shapwick Grange Farm
Break for sheep

After all this excitement the remaining Exeter crowd sought out a café on the front to prepare for the long climb back up to east Hill.

Fortunately on one of the steepest parts we met a flock of sheep – so we were provided with an excuse to dismount and have a rest.
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CTC Exeter Sunday Rides Coffee Pots Bike Bus Devon News