Introduction: Planning the tour - Southwest England in April - CycleBlaze

Introduction: Planning the tour

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This spring we decided to cycle southwest England. We've travelled in England several times without our bikes, including by train to Cornwall and Devon, and we wanted to explore the area more thoroughly by bicycle. The convenience of flying to London also appealed to us. For the last few years our cycling tours in France and Spain have required two or three flight segments to reach our destinations. Vancouver to London is just one overnight flight with Air Transat, which has a good arrangement for bicycles. We have Bike Fridays, which normally pack into suitcases for travel, requiring a couple of hours at each end of the flight to pack and unpack the two bikes. Air Transat provides large plastic bags to contain the bikes, and they charge a mere $30.00 each way—much less than other airlines' usual second suitcase charge. At the destination, you just roll the bikes out of the bags and you're on your way.

A typical view in Cornwall across pasture land and out to the Atlantic Ocean
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We chose to start cycling in Cornwall because of its coastal scenery and comfortable early spring temperatures. Then we planned to turn inland and ride to Bristol and onward to Oxford. In February, when we booked our flights and accommodation, communities in southwest England were being battered by torrential rainfall, high tides and flooding. There was a great deal of damage to seafront infrastructure in Cornwall and Devon and to inland areas like the Somerset levels. We hoped that the weather would settle down by the time we arrived there in early April, which tends to be one of the drier months of the year. Our pace would be leisurely and we would stay several nights in a number of places in order to visit various attractions and get a feel for the area.

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