Recently, a small miracle happened - in that our son was in school, we had no students with us at the academy, and the sun was actually shining.
On account of this, Julia and I ventured to the Gin Palace capital of South Devon, Dartmouth. It is really a very gorgeous place. A picturesque little town on the South Hams coast which makes a nice stopping off point on a longer ride from Cycle Systems Academy. Think bright blue sea views of the estuary from every vantage point. Yachts and a couple of ferry crossing points. And those deep green hills on every side.
You can expect a decent 4 hrs+ for a scenic and testing loop down to Dartmouth and back, through South Devon. This is deceptive countryside - in the sense that Dartmoor has obvious elevation, but Dartmouth’s path is windier. it’s not a question of a one way climb to reach it, but more a series of very steeply inclined ups and downs. Such is the infamy and the glory of the South Hams lane system for the road cyclist.
You'll also certainly want to keep off the main roads and then get used to riding in among our high hedgerows. The lanes were mostly only tarmacked in the 1950s and you may wonder how well they achieved this too. Gravel, mud and well, muck is common. Choose your tyres wisely.
The highlights of Dartmouth for me are eating the excellent Rockfish fish and chips overlooking the harbour (who says Southerners can't make good chips?) and a cheeky coffee at 'Woodroast', the sister cafe to the excellent 'Curator Cafe' In my home town of Totnes.
The cafes are run by an Italian family who have a passion for all things two wheeled, motorbikes and classic racing cycles abound, even vintage bikes for sale in perfect restored condition. Nice old cycling prints, jerseys and even vintage magazines can be found to peruse and buy.
The coffee is top standard, made by trained baristas with good, locally roasted beans. Of course good cake is also on the menu, and the locals are very chatty. We got told about 'Sugary Cove' a lovely little place just up from the town centre, perfect for swimming or just chilling out. And without a child in tow, indeed chill out we did.
We look forward to seeing you down here soon for some wrenching, riding, and of course, coffee drinking.
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