Johnny’s Cycle Challenge Diary

Here is Johnny’s day by day diary of his trek between Bovey Tracey and Exeter everyday last week.

Day 1 – Monday 17th September

Misty, damp and drizzly morning, but warm and mild. Reminded me of my Dartmoor Hill running days! But for now, 2 wheels are better than 2 legs!

3 other cyclists also mad enough to be on their regular commute, all loaded with lights and fluorescent jackets!! Despite local reports of it ‘lashing down’ in Cornwall early this afternoon, (and presumably moving east?), I returned home in good time and in the sun!
Legs felt good today – 8 trips to go – how hard can it be?!?

Day 2 – Tuesday 18th September

A carpet of pine needles, sweet chestnut cases, fallen twigs, and early autumnal leaf litter was evidence of the stormy weather that passed last night. As for my ride – while a little breezy, it was clear and dry. Not another cyclist in sight (?!).

My brakes objected noisily as I carefully descended from the top of Haldon on a wet road. Normally I freewheel this section! A mountain biker with wheels fit for a tractor tried to take me on through the outskirts of Exeter. “I’m not having that,” I thought, and a couple of gears later my point had been made! (The competitive streak never dies!)

The trip home was windy but dry, despite threatening low cloud hanging over the moor. Legs felt it as I cycled against the wind for over an hour…

….2 days down, 3 to go…!

If you have not already, please look at the Shallowford Farm website which this is all about – especially the promotional video, which is as authentic as it is sincere.”

Day 3 – Weds 19th September

“Enjoyed a quick ride in this morning due to the helpful prevailing wind – only took me 58 minutes! I was loaded up with bacon, sausage and eggs, which may have helped energy levels!!

I anticipated the ride home to be against a strong wind. Actually, there was no wind at all, and apart from a mild threat of rain, I had a clear journey home. Legs still good, but tougher tests to come…

Over half way – 2 days to go! But have you seen tomorrow’s forecast? Ride home could be challenging?!

Thank you for messages of support, and donations etc. Please do share these posts with your friends, particularly if they are likely to be sympathetic to, and give to the cause!”

Day 4 – Thursday 20th September

“Best ride yet this morning! Having made a couple of mechanical adjustments last night, the bike was positively purring! I think it would have taken itself to Exeter!

I have been wondering all week if I would see any wildlife. Today did not disappoint, as 3 young fallow deer were caught unawares by me and scampered into the shelter of the forest. In the early morning light, I did not see them until I was within a couple of metres! Now I was purring for the rest of the journey!
Why does the sight of wildlife in its natural habitat thrill the imagination? Great ride! See photos below of ‘7th journey!’

Toughest ride this afternoon! High winds, proper rain, and legs beginning to say ‘No more!’

I was hoping to ask someone on top of Haldon Hill to take a photo with my camera. Strangely there was not a soul to be seen up there; not even a squirrel!

8 rides done. Last day tomorrow!”

Day 5 – Friday 21st September

This is the final post from my final day’s ride!!

What a difference a day makes! The final day brought clear blue skies, bright sunshine, and dry roads! Regular cycling commuters appeared on the road again in the more favourable conditions, like staff gathering for a feast of Friday cakes (see photo). Normality is resumed!

I thought I would really struggle today. At breakfast, I could feel lactic in my legs warning me of pain to come! But much to my surprise, it was a breeze (pardon the pun!!). I cycled home still ‘turning the big ring’ and happily would have done more! Clearly, the cakes helped!

10 out of 10 – it’s all done! Had it not been to raise money, I would not have ridden half of this week. From time to time I thought I was nuts, but not once did I regret what I was doing!

So – back to why I did this! Final request – please join me to raise £1000 (or more?) and donate to fund 10 youngsters from Providence House Youth Centre in Battersea, to come to Shallowford Farm in October. They will experience things they will never forget, and learn skills they never knew were in them!

And please share! Thank you.

Johnny 😁

See below Johnny’s final cycle from Exeter.

And… you can still give to Shallowford Farm Here.

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