Cycling Across Britain: Day 3

Distance: 44.9 miles, Average speed 7.3, Nearest town where I’m camped at  : Dousland and Walkhampton

I maintained speeds today that I’ve never been able to, which is kind of funny when you think of an over-packed folding bike racing by. I don’t like going more than 35 mph, so I slow down after that. Besides not feeling safe, I can’t brake very fast at that speed. I’ve gone this fast a few times, maybe for a few hundred yards.

Today, I maintained that speed for what had to be a mile. Then, it happened again, and a again, sometimes on gracefully turning roads, so I would tilt slowly from side to side. When I go this fast, I use my sat nav to make sure the road is straight. If there are curves coming up, I hit the brakes. In one case, I had to stay on the brakes for about a half mile because the road was single land farming road with a lot of turns, potholes, and a surface that looked like it hadn’t been dry for a long time.

Unfortunately, what goes down must come up, at least in cycling. The hills here, in the county of Cornwall, don’t have graceful or even sort of graceful inclines. Some of them are just plan brutal. I have a tough time pushing my bike up a few of them, no exaggeration. I eventually became tired of going down to sea level, again. I’m more tired and sore than I’ve been in years.

The upside is that hills make for great views. Part of the reason I didn’t reach my goal of 50 miles today was that there were just too many great views for a picture. I have a tough time skipping a good picture. As you’d guess, the other part is the time it takes me to push my bike up a hill. When I hit a rare piece of long and flat road, I do ok, speed-wise. Those kinds of roads are supposed to be coming up, hopefully in the next day or two.

I reached Plymouth about 15 miles ago. Soon after I arrived, I had to use another ferry. That makes 3 so far. I think there a low cost way to allow car traffic while still allowing ocean-going ships to pass. After the ferry, I was looking forward to getting to Dartmoor National Park, but I was a bit disappointed. For the first time, the route I’m taking was on a very busy road for about 5 miles. Then, when I entered the park, the road stayed busy, pity because there are some peaks and views that are fun to ponder.

Now for a couple of comments about some people I met. Once again, I’ve gotten very generous and helpful information whenever I ask for directions or information about a town. I wish I could spend more time talking with them. Two other people I enjoyed talking with were at the youth hostel, this morning. Two guys in their late teens were just finishing the end to end route the other way, from John O’Groat’s to Land’s End. The fun part was that they were riding a tandem bike.

I actually summarized a day in one page, according to MS Word. There is more to tell, but I’m pretty wiped out.

2 thoughts on “Cycling Across Britain: Day 3

  1. Hi Steven

    Sounds like a great day. Cornwall was one of my fav places in England. I’m really enjoying reading about your trip. I made your page an icon on the home screen of my new iPad. Si and I got it for each other as a birthday gift along with AppleTV. Having lots of fun with them. Take care – Beth

  2. Hi Beth,

    Wow, I don’t know that I’ve ever held a prominet place on an iPad before, cool!

    I can see why you liked Cornwall so much. It really is beautiful, even with the tough hills. What cities did you enjoy most? The town of Looe really impressed me. There were a lot of old, quaint houses built in the cliffs above a harbor, and some fun shops.

    I’m also glad you’re enjoying this blog. Writing in it does take away from important cycling time, but you know how much I like write, especially when I know someone’s actually reading it. Looking forward to exchanging some more notes here.


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