A silver lining . . .
This short clip was taken after climbing up onto Exmoor out of Barnstaple. It was nearly noon on Day 3 and I was only 15 miles in to a total of the 120 miles target for the day. However, I still had time to pause, catch my breath and take in this view.
My departure from Barnstaple was delayed as I had to wait for the shops to open and source a new seat post bolt and buy my own pump as the others had to go ahead and I wouldn’t have access to Luke’s pump today. I also needed a new tyre. I’d got through 3 in the first two days and I was still running the third on my front wheel! Luke and I had inserted a thick piece of rubber on the inside of the tyre to stop the tube coming out but this was only a temporary fix.
The bike shop recommended was ‘Gordon’s’. This was on the edge of the shopping precinct next to the car park in Barnstaple. It had bikes piled everywhere, inside and outside. You couldn’t get into ‘the shop’ as it was completely full of old bikes piled up one on top of the other. No racks just an enormous heap.
I asked Gordon if he had a seat post bolt and showed him the broken one. He tutted and went into ‘the shop’ and rummaged through a heap of bits just inside the door. He emerged a couple of minutes later with a bolt that fitted but was too short. He said that was all he but I was welcome to it. Thanks Gordon. He said I’d have to try elsewhere for something ‘so specialised’!
I tried the Bike Shed next. Again they struggled a bit to find a bolt but came up with the goods. They also had the perfect pump, a Topeak Road Morph which had an in-line pressure gauge. This pump was superb and became the pump of choice for everyone and served the whole team very well during the rest of the trip.
I did get to Bampton and fitted two Continental tyres. These were a much more traditional tyre and were brilliant - they took me all the way to John o' Groats with absolutely no further problems.
A lot of today's ride took me along canal paths which was brilliant but the NCN signage let me down badly in the area under the M5 and wasted a lot of time getting back on track.
I never did catch up with the others. And I didn't make it all the way to Whitchurch. It was very dark by the time I got to Glastonbury but I pressed on up to the Tor and then down what felt like a rabbit hole onto a minor road and through to Wells.
By the time I got to Wells I had to stop! It was late and I didn't have the lights to be able to stay on the NCN. Trish and Carol came to pick me up (bless them) and take me to Swallet Farm on the understanding that I would get up early and be taken back to Wells to complete the stage.
The crew at Swallet Farm were absolutely marvellous. They made us so welcome and comfortable and offered to do our laundry. And there was wheat free toast for me at breakfast and a £20 donation to the cause. Thanks guys.