Tour de Von

Posted on July 5, 2012 by admin

In North Devon, Croyde on 5 July, 2012

I’d spent a fair amount of time loitering around the river Torridge already, so it seemed apt to go visit where the Biosphere magic started, the Outstandingly Beautiful areas along the Devon coast. So I went to a place called Croyde. Sitting there, on an Outstandingly Beautiful sand dune (with a lot more foliage on it than my mental image of Saharan sand dunes) eating a cheese sandwich and watching 40 people freeze their appendages off in the Bristol Channel. And then I remembered that I’d been to Devon another time, many moons ago – to go surfing.

Matt mentioned that Devon’s economy is based around 4 sectors: farming, fishing, forestry, and tourism. I reckon surfing counts as a sector of its own; these surf towns are a completely different kettle of fish to the rest of Devon – like the New South Wales coastline, but in wetsuits. The average length of a male haircut is approximately 2 inches longer than the national average, and it appears to be acceptable for grown men to dress like 14 year old kids. Surf shops outnumber any other industry 2 to 1. It’s incredible.

Aside from jealously watching the surfing lifestyle, a coastal visit gave me an opportunity to work in some mileage. All this pottering around finding people to talk to is a nice way to slowly get my cycling legs back. It seems every year I end up cycling around at the same time as the Tour de France. Which is mildly emasculating, considering that over the last 3 days I’ve laboriously sweated over 76 miles and they cream through 124 miles in just under 5 hours. While they’ve got the adrenaline of competition and the risk of crashing into another disproportionately leg-heavy cycling beast, all I’ve got is the niggling fear that – hurtling along small one-way country streets cocooned by enormous hedgerows on a rusty 80s touring bike lovingly nurtured from the brink of death for the last 5 years – my steed might give way. I took the Bergeot to a bike shop once to get a new pedal, and their response was less than encouraging: “I wouldn’t buy a new pedal, I’d buy a new bike mate. If that was a horse I’d take it out back and have it shot”.

Last night in Devon. I’m going to miss having my own kitchen, bathroom and TV where I can watch South Park, the most even handed and uniformly racist show on the planet.

Tomorrow, off to see the Giants colonising the Dyfi valley.

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