Tarka Trail bike ride

Activity number four was to be a bike ride, split into two teams and five of us went for a bike ride from Fremington on the Tarka Trail. We rented bikes from http://www.biketrail.co.uk/Biketrail_Home.htm where found the bikes to be reasonably priced and well maintained, i.e. everything was tight tyyes hard, gears changed and brakes worked. We got ourselves helmets and headed down the Tarka Trail.

According to the sustrans website : “The Tarka Trail is one of the country’s longest continuous traffic-free walking and cycling paths, and forms part of the Devon Coast to Coast Cycle Route.”. it is a great place for a bike ride as it is fla because it follows for the section we were on the route of and disused railway track that hugged the estuary edge along the Devon coast.

After 30 minutes we stopped for a coffee at a shack at the entrance to a £5 beach car park.It was not an ideal spot as the wind was blowing and with the dry weather dust was being blow about, however the hot chocolate I had was nice. Back on the trail we actually hit a very slight incline as we got towards what would have been Bideford station where we could have stopped for lunch at a pub but it was a bit early, soe we cycled on by, our aim was to get to the Puffing Billy pub a place we had stopped at the previous occasion that we used the Tarka Trail.

The trail does have some slight inclines and descents especially when it crosses land which is does a few times when the river meanders and the railway takes the more direct route. The trail often crosses the river on a bridge at those points and they are usually populated by fishermen, who had caught a few crabs but we did not see any evidence of fish. Eventually we arrived at Puffing Billy bit after using he facilities we found out that the new owners only had soft drinks, sausage rolls and pasties to offer. We then had a dilemma do we carry on to the next place or turn back to the pub we had passed earlier.

We opted for the pub as they was a sure bet and the other two options, carry on or cycle up steep hill, all had risks. Risks that the two girls would not like cycling up hill and then after having cycled up hill (or not) the place not serving food as it was getting towards 14:00. It did not take long t get back to the pub as we were all hungry and it seemed that there was a very slight incline in our favour. The food at the pub was of good quality and generous portions, if it was not salad/sandwich then it was deep fried but done very well. I had a cheese and pickle sandwich which was essentially the same as the ploughmans that Mr T had but the cheese was between the bread I got all the same trimmings. Two of us had scampi and chips which looked very nice too. All in all a very nce lunch and the half of bitter went down a treat.

On the way back we stopped off at Bideford beach for an ice cream and a slightly alternate route along the sea front and then rejoined the trail again. We were soon back at the cycle rental place in Fremington at about 16:30 in plenty of time for the 17:00 deadline when the establishment shuts up shop. We had cycled about 24 miles and spent best part of a leisurely day doing it.

We had a salad/buffet evening meal prepared by H&C and foraged by N&A, followed by an exciting episode of Bake Off.

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