Exmoor best laid plans

I think my favourite part of riding is exploring new trails. Especially if it is somewhere I’ve never ridden and I get lost a few times.

After finally recovering from my broken wrist I was absolutely chomping to ride, so I planned lots of them. Exmoor was the first. Wild van camp, ride some trails I borrowed from a friend’s Strava, and see what there was to see.

Saturday started raining but was due to brighten by 11 so I headed out at 9, thinking my first descent would be almost in the sunshine.. Well… it was wet, misty, wet, did I say wet.

That first descent was amazing though. After reaching the Dunkery Beacon is was a wild ride off the side of the mountain, over heathered scattered rolling hills, into a glade of forest valleys, all in the mist. It was fun.

After climbing back out into the little town of Horner, I was working my way through the 100s of bridleways to my next descent, and then my crank fell off. Bugger. I took a deep breath and reminded myself this happened before (another story, another time), it could be fixed. So I attached it again, it fell off 20 pedals later. It’s raining, I’m 10 miles away from where I started and only just at the start of my weekend of riding after a 6 week break. I will not be defeated.

I had reception, I had google, I searched, and to my disbelief there is a 24hr bike mechanic in Porlock. Porlock being 2 miles away, almost all down hill. I called, a very kind man name Matt said he would meet me at his workshop.

I freewheeled and walked and 40 minutes later I’m there telling my story, the sun comes out, my crank is put back into action, and I’m riding! I made a throw away comment the month before about 95% of humanity being arseholes, when in fact 95% of humanity is compassionate, helpful, and will rescue another in need.

I found a lot of bridges that day, I saw the sea, and I had a sketchy ride down a very steep, rooted, hidden forest track. All of it with a big grin on my face.

Day 2 was dry, no bike break downs, but no less smiles. The first descent off of Dunkery Beacon was a leg burning 2-3km non stop rocky open view bridleway. I couldn’t even make myself stop long enough for a picture, it was too much fun.

I retraced a few of my steps from day one, and rode the bridleway where I broke down the day before… yikes, it looked like a blue but rode like a teeth clenching black. My little voice was talking loud.

Beth you are on your own, slow down, look, adjust, live to ride another day.

There was some slogging through open fields that didn’t seem to drain water but resulted in a fun little swoop between valleys again. It’s hard to sometimes balance the effort to reward on tracks. It is worth another look next time.

You may notice in the beacon photo above it is scattered with yellow/orange roses. I don’t love my bike that much… Just as I reached the top I noticed a man walking away in the opposite direction. I can only guess this was a sweet set up to a proposal later on..

Exmoor was a fantastic weekend, and I am looking at 2 more routes to mix in. From Dunkery Beacon there are 3 amazing descents, now it’s how we link them together with the quaint villages (and cake stops) and knarly forests mixed in.

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