To Tiverton: Twenty is plenty - The Seven Year Itch - CycleBlaze

June 2, 2024

To Tiverton: Twenty is plenty

Not many photos were taken today for some reason, so we can afford to squeeze in a few shots from last night.  We walked through the cathedral square on the way back from dinner and I decided to sit and watch the show for a few minutes while Rachael continued back to our room.  The cathedral was closed to visitors for the day, so I missed that.  Which is fine - I’ve seen a lot of cathedrals by now, but the show outside is always different.

Another photo of the Exeter cathedral. Maybe next time we’ll step inside and look around, but it’s fine like this too.
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A side door of the cathedral.
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I never could do handstands or cartwheels. I was always afraid I’d land on my head.
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Showing off his Batman moves.
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Supper on the green.
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On the Cathedral Close, this is a wing of the Devon and Exeter Institution, a library.
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 The weather looks phenomenal today - full sun, clear, comfortably warm, light winds, ideal.  We’re really getting lucky in the UK, thus far at least. We had our rain around Dartmoor, but it was broken up enough that we still got our rides and walks in.  Now though we’re at the front end of what looks like a two week spell of warm dry days - enough to see us halfway through our visit to Wales.

We’re going to miss this view. I wonder what it looked like here two centuries ago though - would the sky have been ashen and sooty, with those chimneys all billowing coal smoke?
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We passed through several villages today with caution signs requesting drivers to control their speed: “20 is Plenty”.  I should have thought to stop for a photo of one, because that’s our new mantra for the UK.  We’ve only got a twenty mile ride today up the Exe to Tiverton, but with this terrain twenty is plenty.  I forget now how many of these ridges we climbed over that drove us out of our saddles - two for sure, but I think three and maybe even four.  You don’t mind so much though on a twenty mile ride, but if we had another twenty packed on at the end there’d be a TA rebellion.

At the top of the first climb. We’re stopped here comparing the two different routes I’d mapped out for the day to see which one looks like it comes with the least painful climbs.
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Could be anywhere. We didn’t keep notes.
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I was impressed at the way Rachael blew right past the sign warning of the 16% climb ahead, but she soon came to her senses.
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Andrea BrownIt's so hard to convey in a photo just how steep a 16% incline is but you have my complete sympathy.
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2 weeks ago
Scott AndersonTo Andrea BrownThanks, Andrea. Well think of that on similar climbs to come. No doubt there will be many.
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2 weeks ago
The views from the top are sweeping though, when you come to enough of a break in the hedgerows to see through to them.
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Mostly the ride today is like this though, walled in on both sides for long stretches; and with no place to get off the road if there’s a reason to. Fortunately the road is pretty wide here.
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Keith AdamsWe encountered an oncoming hedge mower once. It had our FULL attention, lest we get overly familiar with the business end of the machine.
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2 weeks ago
Scott AndersonTo Keith AdamsThis is nothin! We’ve passed ones nearly this large on a road half as wide. Drivers are good about it though - if it’s really too narrow they’ll wait by the nearest widening of the road or stop until I can walk past.
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2 weeks ago

   

On the last two climbs before the final drop to town I was wondering why somehow these hills always steepen at the top and end up around 12-13%. When we came to the downhill though I quit complaining.
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Keith AdamsUnless it's *very* short, a 25% downslope would likely have me off and hoofing it- certainly on my Friday, which doesn't have disc brakes it did. I walked down Lamb Grade, which is "only" in the 12-15 percent range, but it's three miles long.
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2 weeks ago
Scott AndersonTo Keith AdamsThis pushes my comfort level too. Any steeper than this and I’ll get off and walk.
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2 weeks ago
Dropping toward Tiverton and the Exe.
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Video sound track: Song for Alex, by Yasmin Williams

We’re staying in Angel’s Guesthouse, and are happy to be let right in when we arrived at two.  We’d cleared an early check-in in advance, saying we might arrive around two.  When we left Exeter I was thinking it would be more like one, but the ride went slower than expected for the reasons cited above.

Angel’s is a bike friendly place, with a small sticker on the window documenting it.  Our bikes are shown into a room behind the garage, which was appreciated too.  Less appreciated was the discovery that the place is less knee friendly than bike friendly, and our room is on the third floor.  We’ll be here three nights, so I’m mentally calculating how many round trips that will be.  Three times in the evening for sure, three more for breakfasts, and probably another three or four just because.

For dinner we walk the short distance to Ponte Vecchio, an Italian place we liked well enough that we booked ourselves for a second meal here two nights from now.  We should have taken photos of her crab ravioli and my duck, but we’ll get a second chance.

Afterwards I decided to take the camera down to the river, just three blocks below us.  Fortunately I borrowed Rachael’s phone before leaving because I’d forgotten mine in the room, needed to call her when I got back because there’s only one key, and I want to avoid one of those optional round trips on the stairs.  Fortunate because it’s a pretty spot on the waterfront, and three shots in my camera died from a dead battery because I’d forgotten to recharge it.  And fortunate because her phone takes much better photos than mine does.

The Tiverton waterfront and the Exe River. Gulls sure like spots like this, don’t they?
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A wider look at Tiverton and its waterfront.
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Keith AdamsLooks like a fun chute for kayaking.
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2 weeks ago
Just a few blocks from our inn is this impressive building, a former church.
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Another look. I’ll have to go back and look for an informational plaque. There’s undoubtedly one there somewhere.
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Across the street from the unnamed church is the great house of George Slee, built around 1600.
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More information. One nice thing about traveling in the UK is the wealth of historical information like this available everywhere. Another nice thing is that we can read it.
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Attached to George’s great house is this attractive set of units, originally an almshouse he had built “as homes for six poor widows or maidens of the Town in the year 1613.”
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Today's ride: 20 miles (32 km)
Total: 1,859 miles (2,992 km)

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Eva WaltersAnother accommodation coincidence: We checked into the Angel Guesthouse in the pouring rain on Easter Sunday 2014 after a very wet ride, which included Al's tire flattening while going up a 16% grade out of Chumleigh. We were the Angel's first cyclists of the season (April 24) and very glad to get there!
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2 weeks ago
Scott AndersonTo Eva WaltersWhat a long and difficult day for you! I’m exhausted for you just thinking about it.

I’m surprised I’ve never read this journal before! I’m doing it now and see there was a third coincidence: we also ate at Platters back in Plymouth.
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2 weeks ago
Rachael AndersonTo Eva WaltersI’m sorry you had to learn the hard way how very hard bicycle touring is in Great Britain especially with your racing heartbeat episode! I think it’s harder than the climbs I’ve done in the Pyrenees and French Alps because they are so steep and they never have switch backs! This time we are going shorter distances and trying to avoid the harder parts of Great Britain.
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2 weeks ago