Devon

What's it like for riding? Considering relocation to there (possibly Exeter, Exmouth)

It's just a hill. Get over it.

Comments

  • rjsterry
    rjsterry Posts: 27,604
    Hilly 😀
    1985 Mercian King of Mercia - work in progress (Hah! Who am I kidding?)
    Pinnacle Monzonite

    Part of the anti-growth coalition
  • rjsterry
    rjsterry Posts: 27,604
    Paging @briantrumpet
    1985 Mercian King of Mercia - work in progress (Hah! Who am I kidding?)
    Pinnacle Monzonite

    Part of the anti-growth coalition
  • pangolin
    pangolin Posts: 6,309
    Follow katherinebikes on Instagram, she writes for BR a bit and lives / rides around there.
    - Genesis Croix de Fer
    - Dolan Tuono
  • First.Aspect
    First.Aspect Posts: 14,616
    I know the Dartmoor, South Hams and Plymouth area fairly well.

    So hilly, yes and busy, depending on where you live and the time of year. But it has more miles of roads than Scotland so normally not hard to find cycle friendly routes. Tourists follow the sat nav. You will also need mudguards.

    I put Dartmoor and surrounds right at the top of places to cycle in the UK, if you have the right cassette fitted.

    https://climbfinder.com/en/climbs/haytor-vale-bovey-tracey
    https://climbfinder.com/en/climbs/widecombe-widecombe-in-the-moor
    https://climbfinder.com/en/climbs/dartmeet
    https://climbfinder.com/en/climbs/cossick-cross-doccombe

    Etcetera.
  • briantrumpet
    briantrumpet Posts: 17,839
    It's fantastic, as long as you don't mind hills. From Exeter you've got easy access to Dartmoor or the east and south coasts, and the north coast for longer rides. There are a few 'avoid' avoid roads (e.g Hatherleigh-Okehampton), but there's nearly always an alternative. Quite a lot of the lanes get dirty in the winter, but with 8000 miles of roads in Devon, you're spoilt for choice, if you like exploring.
  • briantrumpet
    briantrumpet Posts: 17,839
    PS - and yes, if you like doing lots of flat riding, don't live here.
  • First.Aspect
    First.Aspect Posts: 14,616
    edited March 2023

    PS - and yes, if you like doing lots of flat riding, don't live here.

    It's got some. There's about a mile between Bovey and Heathfield.
  • molteni_man
    molteni_man Posts: 442
    Used to live in Exeter when younger and made numerous trips down until very recently to see my Mum when she was still alive.
    Exeter is a pretty pleasant place to live overall. There’s a good city centre and great easy access to the country side straight from the city.
    Re the cycling there’s a fantastic network of country lanes emanating from Exeter. We lived in Pinhoe just North of the city and as a young lad I rode the lanes for many many miles. Yes it can be hilly particularly if you head to the coast, but generally pretty quiet on the lanes.
    I moved away to go to Uni in Southampton at age 18 and didn’t want to go back as it was a bit of a backwater back then. Much more cosmopolitan now though.
    There’s great access to other places such as Dartmoor, North Devon and its great beaches and surf is just over an hour away now and there are beautiful beaches nearby at places such as Branscombe. Dawlish Warren is nearer and sandy.
    Would definitely recommend going down for a few days and staying somewhere like Topsham just outside Exeter and exploring. You’re right on the Exe Estuary trail which is a fantastic meander alongside the Estuary- you share with pedestrians but it’s a lovely route just to pedal on slowly.

    https://www.sustrans.org.uk/find-a-route-on-the-national-cycle-network/exe-estuary-trail

    A search on Komoot will give you multiple rides out in the area. Search on best rides in Devon or similar.
    Hoping to get back down to Devon soon ourselves!
    Good luck!
  • briantrumpet
    briantrumpet Posts: 17,839
    The only caveat I'd mention is that it's not so great culturally - there is stuff going on, but it's not as diverse as, say, Bristol, and there are fewer venues to choose from.
  • First.Aspect
    First.Aspect Posts: 14,616
    Bristol is 2 hours away. London 3 by train. It's not quite "night out in the west end" territory but nor is it St Kilda.
  • pangolin
    pangolin Posts: 6,309

    Bristol is 2 hours away. London 3 by train. It's not quite "night out in the west end" territory but nor is it St Kilda.

    Bristol is only 1
    - Genesis Croix de Fer
    - Dolan Tuono
  • rick_chasey
    rick_chasey Posts: 72,530
    edited March 2023
    Worth using a compact round there. Can get quite steep
  • Pross
    Pross Posts: 40,441
    From my limited experience of riding around South Hams the hills tend to be short and sharp rather than prolonged climbing although there are a few longer climbs around Dartmoor. I've also ridden a bit in North Devon which is similar but possibly some even sharper climbs. The narrow B (and A!) roads get busy in summer but there's still lots of quiet lanes. I'd happily live there having spent around 15 years with access to a static caravan on the beach in South Hams and spending most of my holidays down there in that period (caravan is now in Pembrokeshire).
  • DeVlaeminck
    DeVlaeminck Posts: 8,731
    Whenever I've taken a bike down there I've not thought it was that great for cycling. Admittedly this has been in school holiday periods but the roads either seem too busy or small lanes with poor visibility. I like the area but I wouldn't put it near the top of places to cycle.
    [Castle Donington Ladies FC - going up in '22]
  • surrey_commuter
    surrey_commuter Posts: 18,866
    I had friends who used to live in Exmouth and it took a big hit economically when the teaching training college closed.
  • secretsam
    secretsam Posts: 5,098
    pangolin said:

    Follow katherinebikes on Instagram, she writes for BR a bit and lives / rides around there.

    Is that Katherine Moore?

    It's just a hill. Get over it.
  • secretsam
    secretsam Posts: 5,098

    PS - and yes, if you like doing lots of flat riding, don't live here.

    I'm from Bristol, and currently ride in the Chilterns

    It's just a hill. Get over it.
  • briantrumpet
    briantrumpet Posts: 17,839

    Worth using a compact round there. Can get quite steep


    Absolutely.

    It's terrible training for the Alps - it's constantly changing, and very few long steady hills, and you never really get in a rhythm.

    On the minus side, there aren't any great local club TT courses, if that's your thing, and the Open ones are on rolling DC roads, and not my cup of tea.

    Exeter's getting bigger & main roads busier, so group riding is less easy until you get a little way out of Exeter these days. Plenty of clubs to choose from, with a range of types of group, depending on whether you want to train to race, or just be more social.
  • briantrumpet
    briantrumpet Posts: 17,839

    I had friends who used to live in Exmouth and it took a big hit economically when the teaching training college closed.


    Yeah, not my cup of tea, too big and sprawling, though I'm sure there are nice bits. The seafront is nearly always reasonably busy, and heaving in nice weather.

    The community college is still one of the biggest in Europe, with about 2800 students over a split site.

    Exeter is expanding massively, especially around Pinhoe and Cranbrook, and Topsham is quickly becoming part of 'Greater Exeter', losing the green space either side of the M5. The plus side is that Exeter and area will become more prosperous overall. My guess is that the population will roughly double from the time I arrived to the time I pop my clogs.
  • pangolin
    pangolin Posts: 6,309
    secretsam said:

    pangolin said:

    Follow katherinebikes on Instagram, she writes for BR a bit and lives / rides around there.

    Is that Katherine Moore?
    Yep
    - Genesis Croix de Fer
    - Dolan Tuono
  • First.Aspect
    First.Aspect Posts: 14,616

    Whenever I've taken a bike down there I've not thought it was that great for cycling. Admittedly this has been in school holiday periods but the roads either seem too busy or small lanes with poor visibility. I like the area but I wouldn't put it near the top of places to cycle.

    The examples I think of are getting to the middle of dartmoor via the "main" Road, or the one that runs the other side of the valley that no one uses.

    Honestly I prefer the quieter roads up here, but the wind, buzzy road surfaces and cold might outweigh that overall.
  • First.Aspect
    First.Aspect Posts: 14,616
    Pross said:

    From my limited experience of riding around South Hams the hills tend to be short and sharp rather than prolonged climbing although there are a few longer climbs around Dartmoor. I've also ridden a bit in North Devon which is similar but possibly some even sharper climbs. The narrow B (and A!) roads get busy in summer but there's still lots of quiet lanes. I'd happily live there having spent around 15 years with access to a static caravan on the beach in South Hams and spending most of my holidays down there in that period (caravan is now in Pembrokeshire).

    Depends that you mean by short and sharp.

    If it is 10+% for 1-2km that's long and sharp for me.

    There are loads of 100-200m elevation climbs like that around the area. I actually think a ride with a few of those chucked in is very good training for the alps.

    Haytor lets you get into a rhythm. That's 370m elevation change which you would struggle to exceed even in the Lakes. There are others.
  • briantrumpet
    briantrumpet Posts: 17,839

    Whenever I've taken a bike down there I've not thought it was that great for cycling. Admittedly this has been in school holiday periods but the roads either seem too busy or small lanes with poor visibility. I like the area but I wouldn't put it near the top of places to cycle.


    I guess it's alike anywhere, there are bits (especially in holiday season) which aren't so great, and yes, the many of the lanes can be gnarly, but great swathes of mid-Devon are wonderful all year round (not busy), and the nice thing about living here is that nearly all of it is lovely to ride when the tourists aren't here.

    Torbay ain't great, I'll admit, but it's not too bad just to hack through it by the coast road. The North Devon Link Road has taken a lot of pressure off the A377, so that's a nice route to get up to Barnstaple, and the Winkleigh road is glorious for getting to Bideford.

    Like anywhere, some local knowledge makes the choosing of good cycling roads much easier. Equally, there are some minor roads I've tried and said "never again!".



  • Pross
    Pross Posts: 40,441

    Pross said:

    From my limited experience of riding around South Hams the hills tend to be short and sharp rather than prolonged climbing although there are a few longer climbs around Dartmoor. I've also ridden a bit in North Devon which is similar but possibly some even sharper climbs. The narrow B (and A!) roads get busy in summer but there's still lots of quiet lanes. I'd happily live there having spent around 15 years with access to a static caravan on the beach in South Hams and spending most of my holidays down there in that period (caravan is now in Pembrokeshire).

    Depends that you mean by short and sharp.

    If it is 10+% for 1-2km that's long and sharp for me.

    There are loads of 100-200m elevation climbs like that around the area. I actually think a ride with a few of those chucked in is very good training for the alps.

    Haytor lets you get into a rhythm. That's 370m elevation change which you would struggle to exceed even in the Lakes. There are others.
    Up to a mile I was thinking. Certainly not easy riding, the elevation on the ToB stage into Dartmouth back in 2012 was pretty big and smashed the peloton to bits. I guess in my area I think of long climbs being 2-3 miles like The Tumble / Rhigos / Bwlch etc.. I actually find the constant up and down tougher (or did when I was a cyclist!).
  • Pross
    Pross Posts: 40,441
    If I was moving somewhere in England or Wales purely based on good cycling I think it would be mid Wales. The area up around the Elan Valley or Llanidloes is superb and massively under-rated, loads of options for gravel and MTB but a bit of a pain for day-to-day life as there's nothing there.
  • briantrumpet
    briantrumpet Posts: 17,839
    Pross said:

    Pross said:

    From my limited experience of riding around South Hams the hills tend to be short and sharp rather than prolonged climbing although there are a few longer climbs around Dartmoor. I've also ridden a bit in North Devon which is similar but possibly some even sharper climbs. The narrow B (and A!) roads get busy in summer but there's still lots of quiet lanes. I'd happily live there having spent around 15 years with access to a static caravan on the beach in South Hams and spending most of my holidays down there in that period (caravan is now in Pembrokeshire).

    Depends that you mean by short and sharp.

    If it is 10+% for 1-2km that's long and sharp for me.

    There are loads of 100-200m elevation climbs like that around the area. I actually think a ride with a few of those chucked in is very good training for the alps.

    Haytor lets you get into a rhythm. That's 370m elevation change which you would struggle to exceed even in the Lakes. There are others.
    Up to a mile I was thinking. Certainly not easy riding, the elevation on the ToB stage into Dartmouth back in 2012 was pretty big and smashed the peloton to bits. I guess in my area I think of long climbs being 2-3 miles like The Tumble / Rhigos / Bwlch etc.. I actually find the constant up and down tougher (or did when I was a cyclist!).

    That's a fair summary.

    It's brilliant for general fitness, and fairly brutal on the legs if you try to smash out good times. But, re Alps, it's rubbish for working out how to maintain a decent cadence for an hour or more of climbing, which is more like a 25-mile flat time trial into the wind. Devon's the harder terrain to master, I'd suggest, though at least the brutality is broken up by the frequent descents.