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Bank Holiday eBike Travel Hell? - By Sarah in Exeter

Sunday, 1st May – the day before our very first Exeter Electric Bike Hire customers are due to hire two Juicy Classic Clicks!!


To celebrate, Nick and I thought we’d find a Devon pub within cycling distance and have a nice Sunday roast lunch out for a change. There are some lovely, quaint little villages surrounding Devon’s capital, Exeter, where we live; some we know well, others we are not so familiar with. We picked a pub known for its famous carvery, in the Exe Valley, described on the pub’s website as being 5 miles from Exeter, but being vaguely familiar with some of these villages, I had an inkling it could be further. We set off on my French Blue Classic Click and Nick ‘borrowed’ one of his new fleet bikes, a Classic Sport in Heath. Up until a week ago, Nick had been using his electrically converted Giant bike for commuting to work and riding up to town at the weekends. Using the excuse that he needed to ‘test drive’ the Classic Sport, we spent last weekend on a marketing drive, leaflet dropping to lots of local places that attract visitors. Needless to say, Nick felt the difference between the Juicy and his old converted Giant and now looks for any opportunity to hop aboard!!

 

NickB Sport 1

 

So, back to our Sunday lunch. We booked a table at The Ruffwell Inn for 1pm and set off just after 12pm with freshly charged batteries and Juicy bikes a-ready. The first two or three miles were on familiar territory – down past St David’s Station on roads busy with the usual Sunday traffic, then on past the University area and out on to the Crediton Road. After only a couple of minutes on the A377, we turned off right into the Exe Valley towards the villages of Upton Pine, Brampford Speke and on to Thorverton, where our lunchtime pub was located. These are Devon lanes at their best; single track, twisting, undulating and bordered with deep Devon hedges dense with wild flowers. Our Juicy bikes rapidly ate up the miles, climbing the steep hill up to Upton Pyne, an ancient Devon village some 3 miles west of Exeter.

There is a beautiful church here – St Mary’s – made of local volcanic stone with an impressive tower, and a cluster of ancient cob-walled thatched cottages and barns. We bypassed Brampford Speke today (but plan to do it another weekend maybe when the sun decides to come out) and cycled on towards Thorverton. A mile or so on from Upton Pyne you can’t help but notice and wonder at the beauty of the ‘fields of gold’ in the distance – bright yellow fields full of Rapeseed. Over the last few years, more and more of the UK’s green fields are turning to yellow fields due to an increase in farmers growing Rapeseed. Recent reports show it is now the fastest growing vegetable oil in the UK as consumers are turning to cheaper, healthier alternatives to olive oil. A point of interest – Rapeseed oil has the lowest saturated fat content of any edible oil (6%, compared with 14% in olive oil and 51% in butter), and is rich in Omegas , 6 and 9.

A field of rapeseed and two healthy looking bikes


Of course we had to stop for a photo opportunity – two solitary Juicy Bikes standing in a field of golden Rapeseed – just lovely!

 

Onwards to Thorverton

So, eventually we pass the traditional Devon village sign telling us we are in Thorverton. Thorverton is 8 miles west of Exeter, and is the quintessential Devon village. It has two pubs, two churches, a stream running through it, a Memorial Hall, a cricket pitch (a match was going on as we rode past – 3 times! (more of that later)) and of course the proverbial, white, cob-walled, thatched cottages.

thorverton village green

 

Thorverton - a wonderful experience by bike

This is where the beauty of the Classic Click’s design really comes to the fore – the ‘sit up and see the world’ style means literally that - it allows you a bird’s eye view of things you would never see on a conventional pedal bike and it couldn’t be put to better use than slowing right down as you cycle through a village like Thorverton and taking in everything around you. This is where I am in my element; I am naturally nosey and curious and also have a love of architecture, so being able to take in everything and absorb the village sights and sounds as I cycle is a wonderful experience.

 

Thorverton village cricket match

 

Pub or Cricket Match? Pub or Cricket Match? Mmmmm...

By this time it is now approaching 1.15pm, I am getting hungry and we seem to have been riding forever! Rather worryingly, we pass the Thorverton village signs at the other end indicating we are leaving the village and still no sign of The Ruffwell Inn! Pulling in, Nick checks the map on his phone. He deduces that we need to go back the way we have come – “shouldn’t be far” he says, “only eight minutes if we were walking”. We cycle back the way we’ve come, back towards Thorverton, back past the cricket match, and still no sign of the pub. Nick checks his phone again, at the same time I see someone coming out of a cottage ahead and ask them. As this pleasant chap is telling me “go back past the cricket field, keep going on that road (where we’ve just pulled in to check the map!) and it’s 100 yards on by the T-junction”, Nick is frantically waving at me showing that we’ve got to turn back the way we’ve just come!

 

Our grinding bellies spur us on and we pedal hard and fast, back past the cricket match (for the 3rd time!) and just a bit further on from where we first stopped to check the map, we find The Ruffwell Inn!

View of Ruffwell Inn, as it looks when very hungry.

 

Somewhere in the distance a warm welcome awaits.

After a scrummy roast dinner and some liquid refreshments, we set off on the homeward journey. Nick calculated that we had done approximately 11 miles from home to the pub (so much for the ‘5 miles from Exeter’ on the pub’s website!) but this did, of course, include us getting lost. Ironically, the friendly landlord did advise us that by going through the villages, we had ‘gone around the houses’. The pub is, in fact, on the main Exeter to Tiverton road and had we gone this way, we wouldn’t have had such a pleasant, scenic journey through idyllic Devon villages.
When we set off that morning, Nick had given himself a 14AH battery and for some reason provided me with a 10AH battery. When we got home, he approximated that we’d cycled 22 miles and as the lanes were really quite undulating in places (or steep, if you like!), I could feel my battery rapidly running dry the last couple of miles. So one lesson learnt today – if you’re not 100% sure of your destination, or plan to just ride where your Juicy bikes take you with maybe no set plan, ensure you are ‘well tooled-up’ battery wise to allow for inaccurate websites, undulating Devon lanes oh, and getting lost!

 

Juicy Bike Reply:

So glad you sent us this story of what sounds like quite an adventure for a first ride. Next time, pop your charger in the panniers and get some extra miles while tucking into the Sunday roast. (And swap batteries with Nick when he's not looking...)

 

Fancy the same trip? Take a look at Sarah and Nick's website and book some hire bikes from Exeter Electric Bike Hire.

 
 

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